Pictured here are the Poor Clare nuns of Blantyre. These are the original five nuns who travelled from Cork, Ireland on an overnight trip and settled at Thornhill, Blantyre. From left to right they are Sister Terese, Sister Jarlath, Mother Columba, Sister Paschal and Sister Veronica. Pictured here in 1956, a few years after they arrived in Blantyre.
During the lifetime of St. Clare the Order spread rapidly and today there are over 20,000 Poor Clares covents in 75 countries.
This Community was founded from Cork in 1952 when Mother Columba (Abbess), and Sisters Veronica, Thérèse, Paschal and Jarlath came to Blantyre. They were welcomed into the Diocese by Bishop Douglas, the first Bishop of Motherwell. Mgr. Ashe and the Priests of St. Joseph’s Parish, Blantyre, made the sisters very welcome and one of them came to celebrate Mass at 7 o’clock every morning in their new nearby home, Thornhill, Blantyre which had been acquired from the Kelly family of footballing Celtic fame.
Gradually some new sisters joined the Community and in 1973 they moved to a new purpose built Monastery attached to St. Bride’s Church in Bothwell where they were made most welcome by Frs. Houlihan and Allison and many of the Parishioners.
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Yes Archie, they like/liked their privacy.
After school and Saturdays, I delivered groceries from Norris on Stonefield Road.
Now and again I delivered 5 loaves to the nuns. It was strange for me the first time. I entered a door in a short lobby. There was a button bell on the wall to ring. Soon a voice asked why I was there and replied that I was delivering bread. The end of the lobby looked like a barrel and it started turning. It was a half barrel into which I placed the bread and it turned away from me. The voice started a prayer and I waited until it was finished and off I went.
The next time, I entered, turned the barrel, put the bread in and turned it back. On my way out I rang the bell and exited. You see, I am not of that religious persuasion!
That was over 60 years ago but it is still a quite vivid memory.