On 8 September the Most Rev. Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, celebrated a special Farewell Mass for Mother Eugenia Pantalleresco at St Thomas More Church, Manor House, who has worked for 33 years of service in north London.
Before the Mass, the Archbishop blessed the new Our Lady of Lourdes grotto in the parish garden. Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir sang during the Mass and there was a reception afterwards.
During his homily Archbishop Nichols reflected on the readings, pointing out that Mary was fruitful because she had a listening heart to the word of the Lord, born out of a life of prayer. "If we wish to be fruitful we must practice" ... "When the practice of prayer becomes a habit it will be fruitful," he said.
Archbishop Nichols mentioned that he'd seen violinist Nigel Kennedy play at the Last Night of the Proms the night before. "He could play like that just because he had practiced so much. He went on to praise and thank Mother Eugenia for her many years fruitful ministry in the parish - born out of a life of prayer.
During the presentation after Mass, Parish Priest Fr Clive Lee thanked Mother Eugenia, and said that her community in Malta, from where she is originally from, were looking forward to her arrival. She will be getting involved in their terrific work with children and young people. Fr Clive added that many parishioners hoped to visited her in Malta.
Mother Eugenia took her first vows as an Ursuline Sister of St Angela Merici, in Malta in 1958. After working in several projects for children there, she came to London in 1979 where she founded an international student hostel in Portland Rise and established the Ursuline community in Manor House. She went on to set up the Day Nursery for pre-school children and a branch of the International Association of Mary Help of Christians at Manor House - which are both thriving. Mother Eugenia and her community have also been involved in many parish activities and are an indispensible part of St Thomas More's.