11th Sept 2017 - Fishguard Mercy Associates Summer Outing


We met in the Holy Name Church car park at 12.15 after having joined with the Sisters of St. Teresa’s Convent for Holy Mass.  Four cars set off in convoy for Ffald-y-Brenin (The King’s Fold – as in ‘sheep’s fold) Christian Retreat Centre.  The lanes leading down Cwm Gwaun (Valley of the River Gwaun) are very narrow with only passing places if you should meet another car.  But we are all used to that in Pembrokeshire.

Arriving at the entrance to the Retreat Centre we had a very steep and winding lane to arrive at the top – but when we got there well - What a view – we parked up on top of the hill and left our cars to survey the wonderful scenery.  The beauty of God’s Creation was all around us, embracing us at the same time as the bracing wind was embracing us! So, we started by singing together the appropriate refrain of a well-known hymn .........  “Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee; How great Thou art, How great Thou art.......”  followed by the Lord’s prayer.


Before Ffald-y-Brenin was a retreat centre it had been a farm.  Each one of the stone buildings had been sympathetically converted for the purposes of: – a dwelling house for the guardians/ministers of the centre, craft workshops and garden sheds, meeting rooms, simple accommodation rooms, chapel, bookshop, etc.  Each building was beautiful in itself and with views down into the valley far below and across to the neighbouring hills. We then decided that our picnic would be inside the meeting room which had been provided for us.

After a considerable wander round the grounds we arrived at an avenue of arched trees leading, we supposed, to the Cross on the top of the hill.   “Yes, it does lead there” said our 91 year old member Joan (red body-warmer) who had already done the walk out to the Cross!  At the base of the Cross on the ground were lying several cigarette and other packets.  Sister Teresa stopped us from picking them up as she felt people had prayed there to take control of their addictions and the Lord had answered their prayers.

At 3pm we had agreed to meet for our Evening Prayers back at the meeting room.  We commenced with the hymn “For the fruits of His Creation, thanks be to God...” accompanied on her flute by Faith – our newest member. 

Introduction.  We used the words of Pope Francis’s prayer for the Earth – “All powerful God, You are present in the whole Universe and in the smallest of your creatures...”  (See Evening Prayer leaflet attached.) 

Followed by a Reading from Matthew Chapter 6...”This why I tell you not to be worried about the food and drink you need..............” (Leaflet). Jill then read a piece that Catherine wrote in rhyme to a Religious Superior she was instructing: “Don’t let crosses vex or tease – try to meet all with peace and ease; “ (Leaflet)

               Lorraine and Brenda bravely did the dishes

Catherine conceived of the world and all life on it, as the creation of a generous, merciful and provident God. She regarded human beings – not as the ‘owners’ of this Earth, and its resources – but as “strangers and pilgrims” travelling in it, “every day preparing to enter our own country” a “blissful eternity in the Presence of God.”

Pope Francis – “A Christian who doesn’t safeguard creation, who doesn’t make it flourish, is a Christian who isn’t concerned with God’s work, that work born of God’s love for us.” (Leaflet). We prayed together the words of the hymn – “For the beauty of the Earth......” (Leaflet)

We then prayed for all our sick friends and for the Faithful departed....and also for the intercession of Our Blessed Lady concluding with the ‘Hail Mary’ .(Leaflet). Our last hymn (accompanied by Faith on her flute again) – “Be still for the Presence of the Lord....” 

As we had just lost our dear past parish priest of Holy Name Church – Father Harding Rees – our Blessing was taken from one of his blessings – “May the Lord Jesus Christ bless us, and those we love and those who love us.” – Amen.

        Faith, Jill, Carolyne, Brenda, Carole, Sr Sarah,
             Phil, Joan, Lorraine, Vivienne, Suzanne

                 Faith, Carolyne, Jill, Phil, Joan, Lorraine

Article kindly provided by Carole Alabaster

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