A Personal Message from Sr Catherine (a.k.a. Digitalnun)

Photo by Ravi Sharma on Unsplash

Dear Friends, 

I’d like to share with you my latest news. Please read the two sections Tidying my Sock Drawer and How You Can Help. The others, though important to me, may be of no interest. It is rather a long post from someone who has always prided herself on writing briefly and simply, but I suspect God is smiling at my prolixity. I’m writing this on the day we sing O Oriens: the light that is coming to us with its hope of redemption. It is worth meditating on that.

Tidying My Sock Drawer

On Saturday, 18 December, I was admitted to Hereford Hospital with a chest infection. One of the consultants kindly came to see me and said that nothing more could be done for me medically and that I was now close to death. The only question was whether I should be discharged to a hospice or home to the monastery. It is a mark of Quietnun’s generosity of spirit that she unhesitatingly said, ‘Come home.’ Fr Andrew Berry, a monk of Belmont, came on Sunday, straight after a busy morning saying Mass, and gave me the Last Sacraments and Apostolic Pardon. They confirmed my opinion that Catholicism can be a hard religion to live by but is a beautiful religion in which to die. The rituals and prayer with which we surround death, especially the monastic ones, the Church’s clear-eyed acceptance of sin and failure and her confidence in her mission to channel God’s love and mercy to her children, are very moving, but perhaps one only begins to appreciate them when one is dying oneself. I like, too, the combination of infinite trust in God and the lack of presumption. No zipping into heaven for me but, I hope, the final purification of purgatory. In the meantime, I shall be tidying my sock drawer – monastic-speak for preparing to die. Off and on, that is. I’m very good at procrastination.

How You Can Help

As you will realise, this situation puts extra strain on the community; so here is how you can help us.

First, your prayers are what we most need. We know we can call on a number of friends for practical help, but the following may not have occurred to you.

  • Please don’t ask for personal updates. One of our oblates, whom we’ve dubbed our Director of Communications, will post occasional updates on Twitter, on the community’s Facebook page, and hopefully on the blog.
  • Please use our dedicated 24/7 prayerline for prayer requests. I know it is easier and more immediate to tweet or DM me, but it can be difficult at times. I would especially ask you not to telephone requests which can go on longer than I have breath to respond!
  • Please bear in mind that it is not only our human resources that are limited, our broadband is too. DMs put great strain on the system, especially when they contain attachments or links that have to be checked for viruses. Our email address is available on our community web sites, and all, including the blog, have contact forms. 
  • Quietnun is not a natural digital and she has more than enough to cope with, so she will not be able to respond to individual requests. One of our oblates has stepped into the breach and is currently managing the FB prayer intentions (rather beautifully, if I may say so). We will work out a more permanent solution in due course. All our recordings of the Rule are available on Anchor, which you can access in a number of ways.
  • Finally, no eulogies, please. ‘Nuff sed.

 A Few Thank Yous and an Apology

The God in whom I believe is much bigger, and so much more fun, than we often allow him to be. I thank him for letting me be a Benedictine, which has been the supreme joy of my life, for the friendships he has inspired and the graces he has poured out on me despite my stubbornness and lack of co-operation. I ought to thank him for the difficulties, too, but I don’t ‘do’ piety. Brutal honesty is more my line. I know he understands.

Then a few more thank yous. I’m not giving names because I respect your privacy, but I hope you will recognize yourself in what I write:

  • My family, especially my ‘little sister’, my community of profession and the one to which I belong now, our oblates and associates, know my shadow side better than any. They’ve put up with me for years. I’m sorry I’m unlikely to be around when both my nieces marry next year but they know how much I desire their happiness and that of their husbands-to-be. Quietnun will face many challenges when I die, but I know she will tackle them with her customary honesty and courage. She may not have any silicon in her, but she certainly has steel!
  • My friends, both online and off, you have enriched my life in ways too numerous to count. One in particular, whose friendship goes way back, has been unfailingly supportive and generous. Without his help, I doubt whether we would have been able to do the things we have.
  • My priest friends deserve special mention. If I single out the bishop who first welcomed us into his diocese, our confessors, Honorary Chaplain, a certain hermit-priest and an abbot, it is because I have learned a lot from them, and their belief in our purpose has sustained us through some dark times.
  • The priests and people of East Hendred, East Ilsley, Wantage, Abingdon and Didcot welcomed us, helped us, and became good friends. They still are.
  • Our trustees have been unstinting in their support and guidance. Their job is a difficult one at times, with constantly changing legislation and the need to ensure that the monastery can incorporate it in a sensible way.
  • Finally, I must mention all those, seen and unseen, who have been involved in my medical and nursing care. I have grown fond of you all as well as appreciating what you’ve done for me to keep me alive much longer than expected with all my ‘life-limiting’ diseases. I thank in advance the Palliative Care Team — though I do hope I won’t be calling on you just yet.

I’m sorry for the times I have hurt or offended people. I think I can honestly claim never to have done so intentionally and hope you will forgive me. Forgiveness and reconciliation achieve much more than division, condemnation or insults, and what our world needs now is surely a more lively sense of our common humanity and a readiness to change.

The Situation Now

I’ve come home with a package of anticipatory medicines which I hope will be a help when my end comes. I may last longer than expected. Who knows? Although I’ve known my condition was deteriorating, the diagnosis came as a shock and I am still digesting it.

My delight in poetry, music and the natural world is undiminished. My mind may be slower than it once was but I still enjoy engaging with ideas and arguments. I love the daily monastic round which is the weft and warp of my life. Our garden continues to be a source of joy and I remain quite soppy about dogs, P.B.G.V.s and Bassets Fauve de Bretagne. No surprises there! When I spoke to my sister on the ‘phone to give her my news, she gladdened my heart by laughing through her tears, so I hope my ability to see the funny side of life will continue. And if you don’t like my humour, tough. If I feel well enough, I may be online occasionally but there are many practical problems absorbing the community’s time and energy just now. So I suppose I’d better start tidying that sock drawer. Or maybe I’ll just go and talk to the dog.

Thank you for reading this. May God bless you all,

Sr Catherine


155 thoughts on “A Personal Message from Sr Catherine (a.k.a. Digitalnun)”

    • Dear Mother Prioress,
      I have been unable to find a way to write to you other than to do so as a comment to Deborah (thank you Deborah!)
      Thank you for helping me to return to the fullness of our Catholic faith.
      Both our prioress and myself did so on Easter of last year. We are still part of our conservative ecumenical community. To some that might seem a contradiction in terminology. But as Benedictines we do not find that to be challenging and for reasons I won’t explore here.
      My grandson, born long before I stumbled clumsily into St Benedict and became a difficult case, attended Holy Hour with me New Years Eve at St Peter Catholic Curch. He is an Orthodox Anglican. You might be aware, they are quite conservative and will not go along with the radical changes taking place in the C of E.
      This was the first time he had experienced the overwhelming beauty of the presence of the Holy Eucharist at Benediction. He has autism and is not able to kneel through an entire rosary and the Divine Praises without difficult to manage sensory discomfort. But he was able for Eucharistic Adoration. The visual appearance of the Holy Eucharist in the monstrance, the smell of incense, the clouds of smoke, and the bells at some point, overwhelmed him! He was completely taken by the meaning and exquisite beauty of this prayer and ritual form of adoration. To my understanding it was no small gift of this holy season.
      This and so much more was possible as your writing has been a profound inspiration.
      The reasons I departed from Roman Catholicism had everything to do with the abuse of clergy and my own childhood. When this went to court, I was misled and believed wrongly that I was excommunicated. I weakened under the strain, an outcast in my parish.
      The straightforward “spunk” and stubborn faith of your writing helped me to find again, the truth and fullness of faith that I was never meant to live without practicing. I am grateful to the Anglican priests and a couple of Sisters of St Margaret who were profoundly kind and spiritually wise several years ago. It has been a very long journey home. I’m very thankful for God’s mercy and forgiveness. Thank you for touching this sinner’s heart with reminders of God’s abundant grace for ordinary souls facing extraordinary circumstances some of the time. I could have said a simple, “Thank you.” But I thought my rambling of detail might impart something more personal. It might make my thanks more meaningful in ways that my tears and words would if I could speak them to you in person.
      Very respectfully,
      Sr. Deana Marie Burnham, OSB
      Christ Mission Benedictines

  1. Dear Sr Catherine

    My prayers are with you every day. You have enriched my faith life with your blogs, thank you so much.

    May Our Lord keep you in his loving care.


  2. My honour, love, joy and all I have learned from you as a mere Anglican priest has been insurmountable. Travel well. The next part of your journey will be to experience freedom, joy and spiritual energy in new ways. My prayers are with you.

  3. Thank you Sister Catherine for your wise words over the last few years. Thank you for personal words of encouragement when I needed them most.
    God Bless You. I will pray for you abd Quietnun as I do every day.

  4. Dear Sr Catherine, much love and Special prayers comming to you from one Benedictine to another!God Bless you Sister and may his Holy Angel’s confort you and bring you peacexx❣

  5. God bless you Dear Sister and Quietnun also.The tears are rolling down my face as I type this. When I prayed that God would bring you home soon, I was not meaning in this way…though I understood that it might be after praying as you were admitted to hospital.
    I promise to pray and lift you up into His infinite Mercy, and although I cannot accompany you in person, will try to be there especially in the hours of night when sleep seems to evade both of us at times. I have so valued your ministry on line, and your friendship. God bless you for your generosity in responding to His call to you and the fruit it has bourne for us all. Selfishly, I trust you will continue procrastinating (!) but The Lord in His infinite love wants you to dance with joy with Him in Heaven! May you be utterly filled with His Holy Spirit, and carried in His Love.
    Sally x

  6. With love blessings and prayers as you complete your life on earth. Thank you for sustaining us with your thought provoking online ministry.
    May your journey into the arms of God be blessed with peace and joy and may any pain be short. We love you from whatever far-flung outposts we hail from.
    God is with you and your community.

  7. Dear Sister Catherine, I came across this blog only 3 years or so ago and I have loved it. It has been and is a joy and is read I’m sure by a wide range of people, Catholics, Anglican, other denominations and indeed those following other faith tradition (or even none). It has been welcoming and thought provoking and often funny.

    God bless you. And thank you.

  8. Your words have always given me strength, to see you portray such strength to persevere through the very worst of times with happiness and clarity of mind. Thank you dearest Sister. May your journey onwards be as sparkly and influential as your online presence! With love always x

  9. Thank you Sister Catherine. It was 8 years ago on Sunday when I was received in the Church from the Church of Scotland. The community prayed for me that day. You all have been in my daily prayers all these years and will continue.

    You have done so much for me that only God knows. Thank you!

    May the Lord richly Bless you on this final journey

  10. Dear Sister Catherine,

    I have no adequate words, but having been a reader of your blog for some years I would like to make sure of thanking you for the firm wisdom and kindness that have always illuminated your writing. Your articles are always both a challenge and an encouragement, and what you have written here is no exception.

    I will pray for you. May our God of Love, whom you have helped me to love better, receive you into His kingdom.


  11. Dear Sr Catherine, I would like to thank you for your digital ministry; both the content but also the fact that it is digital. As someone who has moved from Herefordshire to serve God in Wales, it has always been lovely to connect with your posts from Herefordshire. Your article is beautiful and my heart sang as I read it, even as I am so sad at the news. You and your community are and will be, in my prayers. I wish you a gentle journey into God’s presence and thank you for the things I have learned or remembered because you wrote them.

  12. Oh sugar! I wouldn’t dream of a stronger exploitive on here.
    Sister, you will never know what solace you have brought to me and I guess many others. Thank you for being you and normal and human and down to earth with no hint of pieosity, just the God who loves us.
    I will pray that you and the community continue to smile despite what you all face. With a big Welsh and Benedictine (it’s the Ampleforth influence from 60 years ago) cwtch xxx

  13. God bless you. May he show you the same kindness as you take your final journey as you showed me all those years ago at school.
    I am sad I will not be hearing your wise and comforting words for very much longer.
    I will never forget you.

  14. May you know how much we appreciate you You have been a joy and inspiration to me and I’m sure many others here on Twitter. Peaceful journey as you go into our Lord’s loving embrace. Say a prayer for me to Him. We love you and we thank you. God bless you and all who know and love you.

  15. Dear Sr Catherine,
    Thank you for being in my life, which you have so enriched. May you know God’s love on your onward journey and be amazed at the joy of your safe arrival. You have been and are in my prayers. Mary x

  16. Dear Sister Catherine,
    God be with you. We will miss you so much. May the Holy Mother and the angels guard and guide you on your way. May your end be quiet and painless.
    With love and gratitude.

  17. I may not have communicated much over the years but I assure you, on the clearview mat on my study desk, there is a photograph of three Benedictine nuns to whom I give a daily nod. My prayers are silent for language is a barrier to things of the spirit. I need say no more my dear Dame Catherine.

  18. Thank you Sr Catherine for our continuing generosity in sharing so much with the readers of your blog. Your wonderful sense of humour remains undiminished. Be assured of prayers from New Zealand. Alison Flett.

  19. Sr Catherine, may a smooth journey from the physical to the spirit life, in God’s loving embrace, happen as He decides.
    Warm blessings to you, and for all I and others have learnt from you in the last few years.
    Pax, Catherine.

  20. Thank you for your prayers. Since I found you on Twitter, you have been a solace and a strength in my daily life. I hope my prayers can carry you a little, too. God bless you and keep you.

  21. Love, prayers and thanks.

    With you in spirit however long or short the time left to you on this side.
    And prayers for your sisters, too – and the holy menagerie. They, too, will miss you

    God speed…..!

  22. Dear Sr Catherine,
    Thank you from my heart for being in my life, which you have enriched particularly with all your writings here. May you know God’s love on your onward journey and be amazed at the joy of your safe arrival. I am praying for you, and for Sr Lucy. Love and God bless, Mary x

  23. May the angels lead you to paradise, Sister Catherine – but all in God’s time, when you are happy with the state of your sock drawer.
    I am grateful for your twitter presence, and will visit the blog often to hear your gentle voice and learn the Rule.
    Thank you,
    God bless

  24. I’m weeping as I read this. You have been an inspiration ever since I found you online. So much wisdom, sense and good humour and most of all joy.
    I shall be joining with the hundreds of your digital friends to pray of course but I really don’t know how I shall manage without my Digital Nun fix. Praise be that your insights are online to continue to guide us all.

  25. I was moved inexpressibly by the courage and trust in God in this message. Having only recently come to “know” you through Twitter I can only say that in that short time your calm presence has been a wonderful gift. May God bless and keep you and your community and may we all remember that in Advent we prepare for both the first and second coming. And may we all merrily meet in heaven. God bless you.

  26. Dear Sister Catherine,
    You have been such a spiritual inspiration to me and all your followers over the years. You have brought me nearer to our good Lord. You have given me serenity, the ability to forgive and to love my neighbours as our Saviour taught us. You have enriched my life forever.
    We have known that tidying the sock drawer has been closer than any of us would have wished for you, but worry not how you leave it.
    I just pray that when it is time for you join our Lord, the journey is quick and peaceful for you.
    We will never forget you and your work in spreading the Lord’s message of peace and love to the world. Your reward will be in Heaven and you will surely be fast tracked through Purgatory.
    God bless and care for you, for Touri, for Quietnun and all the other Sisters. Peace and love be with you now and always.
    Lots of love and thanks,
    Tim Leech aka Bernard of Menthon

  27. Thanks for all your service to this community. Your daily prayers for your “followers” have had an inestimable value, only eternity will reveal.
    May the God of all grace grant you peace and joy, knowing you have touched many lives with your joyful spirit and example of faithfulness.

  28. May God be with you always, dear Sister Catherine, and receive you into his loving arms when your time comes . Thank you for sharing your thoughts, giving advice , and making me feel so welcome on your posts.God bless you. Warmest regards from Berlin x

  29. I Have never met you but I love you. T’is joy to behold having read some of your posts. Have a Wonderful Full journey and Thank you. God Rocks and so do you! Prayers for you all and little dose of your spirit inspiring me as I hold off death as long as I possibly can! ❤️

  30. Dame Catherine

    You gentle support over the past few years has been a blessing and inspiration. I can only offer my prayers that the community has asked for and hope that I can approach my own end with at least an ounce of the grace and fortitude you have shown us. I ask for God’s blessing and mercy as you wait to meet him.

  31. You have been and are and will continue to be a blessing to us all. Thank you for being you and God bless you – as I know he will – on your continuing journey.

  32. God bless you. We never met and, but for the occasional digital line, did not speak to each other but I thank you for all you have done. As an adult convert to Catholicism, I appreciate your unfailing loyalty to the church which was never given at the expense of those it sometimes hurt nor came draped in divisive politics. Like many here I learned much from your erudition and now hopefully will learn from your gradual withdrawal as you begin to enter the great mystery. Peace and joy be with you on your journey and may God comfort and bless the community and all those who knew you beyond being ‘Digitalnun’.

  33. May God bless you and keep you, dear Sister Catherine, and may He welcome you home. I am honoured to have known you, however briefly, and will continue to pray for you.

  34. Dear Catherine,

    May you know underneath and roundabout the everlasting arms of love. May you know the peace which passes all understanding, and may the Saviour gather you safely in his arms when the time comes.

    Thank you , dear and special friend, for the privilege of prayers, support and fellowship over the last ten years, as well as all the thoughtful and uplifting posts.

    We shall meet in heaven, together with our respective canines, and what a joyous reunion that will be! (We rely on you putting in a good word for us, meantime 🙂 )

    As ever, I will continue to pray and light candles for you, Sister Lucy and the Community.

    God bless you now and always.


  35. Thank you for all your prayers, not least for our own family. It is so good to think of the warp and weft of your daily prayers in the monastery and I can only think that this continues in some way forever. I pray for God’s rich blessing on you Sr. Catherine, now and always.

  36. Dear Sister Catherine,
    I just wanted to let you know that, a few years after your kind email response, I still read your words.
    Your post on the death of my uncle, Rabbi Sacks, and the responses of your Facebook following, moved me so much that I shared them with his daughter.
    I hope that you too have the peace of knowing you have brought people closer to God, and strengthened the weary with words.
    My prayers are with you and the rest of the community,
    Jessica (in Israel).

  37. Dear Sr Catherine,
    You have been very kind to me in this past year since we met on Twitter. Thank you so much for your prayers,counsel & wisdom. You are in mine and David‘s prayers & have been continually. May you know His comfort and peace as you walk hand in hand with Him through the Shadowlands…or as you go and tidy that sock draw

  38. Big Sis, you’ve led the way to deeper faith in life and now lead the way we are to prepare for our own death as well. Thank you for being yourself and sharing your thoughts, beliefs and for clarifying much about our Christian faith. Some key points you’ve made over the years are written down on recipe cards and safely tucked into my recipe box, re-read from time to time and prayed with. We will pray for you with thanksgiving for your life and service and look forward to meeting you on the other side one day. With much love, J&H

  39. May God bless you Sister Catherine and welcome you with open arms when the time comes. Thank you for being you and for your wise words of support, guidance and joy, with love and prayers for the journey xx

  40. Dame Catherine, I wish you well as you journey now into the fullness of His light and love.

    Thank you for your wisdom, sincerity, and simplicity, which have helped me and comforted me. Also for your example, and where you lead, may we all follow with equal grace and faith.

    From a one time benedictine, to a leading one.


  41. I’m sorry to be losing you so soon after I found you here but I see I have years of your posts to catch up with so you’ll be keeping me company for some time yet! God bless.

  42. Sister Catherine. You have been a beacon of His presence here among us and I have no doubt He will call you Home with joy. Adding you to my own prayers.

  43. As always, you are an inspiration to me, and will continue to be. Thank you and God bless you. (I’d love to eulogise, you know, but promise not to – except in my heart.)

  44. From an anthem by Johannes Eccard
    Help thou thy servants, Gracious Lord, that we may ever be
    As once the faithful Simeon was, rejoicing but in thee.
    And when we must from earth departure take
    May gently fall asleep, and with Thee wake.
    With, love prayers and thanks from Gwen

  45. Dear Sr Catherine,
    Thinking of you. May your journey be smooth. Your words of wisdom have comforted and inspired me from afar through the Twittersphere. May God grant you rest and eternal peace.

  46. I could say so much about how you have enriched my life but will just say thank you from the bottom of my heart for the kindness you’ve shown over the years during some of my lowest points (losing Barney and my stroke particularly) . Your wicked sense of humour and being totally dog mad make you a unique nun. Lots of love and prayers from me (and snuggles, licks and tailwags from Winston!)

  47. Dear Sr Catherine,
    My absolute favourite blogger, peace to you & your community. You’ve been a source of profound comfort & solace these last 8 years. Thank you for the many occasions you have reached me & for your prayers. Be assured of mine.

  48. Thank you Sister Catherine
    I am privileged and blessed to have known you, however briefly
    May God be with you on your journey onwards and upwards

    Sue (the pharmacist)

  49. Sr Catherine, I stumbled across this while on Twitter; where have you been all my life ! Thank you for such a beautiful, honest and inspirational post . A priest once said in a homily, ‘it’s no accident you’re Catholic’ and I’ve never forgotten it. We are so lucky and you, who have been chosen as a Benedictine ,are among some of the luckiest of all .Thank you for touching my heart and soul tonight. I will add my prayers to the scores being said for you, and will now pay attention to this website.

  50. Thank you for your inspiration and your dedicated Benedictine life and service.
    I am so grateful for all your posts!
    Peace and joy and endless happiness!

  51. Thank you, dear Sister, for all you have shared with us on the blog. I will pray for you and Quietnun and all those who love you. May God continue to bless you to the end of this life and beyond.

  52. I am so sorry to hear this. I appreciate your frankness and honesty in all of your posts. Please know that you have touched my life for the positive. May the good Lord hold you in his loving hands on this journey. I’ll will be praying for you.
    Blessing from the United States

  53. Sr Catherine thank you for enriching my life & challenging me through your presence & sharings on twitter. Thank you for your service & generosity. Prayers for you, the community & your family & friends. God’s peace & blessings go with you.

  54. Dear Sr Catherine
    It’s so hard to find words to express my thanks for all you are and have shared – through your blog and Twitter, and your kindness and wisdom when I reached out to you personally in a dark and bewildering time. It’s been a delight to share your love of dogs and to know we are both alumnae of “that infidel place”.Go well, and may it be peacefully and without pain. With my love and prayer, and inexpressible gratitude. Antonia.

  55. Dear Dame Catherine,

    I’ve never posted much…if at all. I’ve been a silent witness to your laughter, love, wit and wisdom. I’ve grieved upon hearing of your struggles…I will rejoice with you when they come to an end…

    If you would…my daughter left this life 2 years ago…she had a very hard time the last few years of her life. Please ask around in purgatory and find Rebecca? Tell her mom misses her desperately.

    Prayers will go up daily for you by name…

    You are loved…and will be sorely missed.

    God Bless you,


  56. Oh, dear, Dame Catherine!

    My sock drawer is a mess!

    The prayers I say are scattershot more often than not, except, somehow, in Advent. My first prayer every morning for months has been a half-phrased ask of God to keep you well, or at ease if not well, and sometimes just “Lord, for Dame Catherine today.” Or, “My works, joys, and sufferings of this day to where you most need it Lord, and especially also for Dame Catherine.” I make similar murmurings for you off and on right through evening and when I waken in the night, which is often. I think many of us could say the same—we may have messy sock drawers, but we are as one wishing you … a quiet night and a perfect end, and, to scramble texts a bit more, that Our Lord will let His most faithful servant depart from this beautiful earth at a time of His choosing, in perfect peace. You have given all of us more than we could ever express.

    This evening I spent a longish time at the cemetery place where my mother, a brother, an aunt and uncle, and my daughter lie. They have left earth bodily, but they are *so alive*—to visit and spend time there during the change of seasons is the most consoling, and comforting thing—the birds, and deer, and foxes, and great owls and hawks and song birds in their seasons—today a great chevron of geese honking—you will be, as they are, here and not here, in a place of God’s choosing, but, one, I am sure, that echoes Elizabeth of the Trinity: a place of Light, Love, Life—there is great store for you in heaven, detour through Purgatory notwithstanding.

    There’s a crabapple tree aside my girl’s grave, and the last of the tiny apples are falling now. Each year for the many years she has been gone, I have done something some people at first “tut-tutted,” but now wait for: I string a few strands of battery-run rice lights (tiny) through the gnarly branches, and on Christmas Eve at dusk, turn them on. They don’t last long, maybe overnight, but I send light to heaven, my beacon to my sweetheart, who illuminates my life every day.

    I hope you don’t take it amiss when I say I wish I could garland you with light, you who have illuminated the lives of so many of us out here.

    God bless you and keep you, forever.

  57. Möge Gott Sie schützen und seine Engel Sie zum Paradies begleiten. Sie haben mein Leben reicher gemacht.

    Ich werde für Sie und für Ihre Kommunität beten.

  58. Even close to death you continue to an inspiration. You have taught me so many things, and yesterday, that Purgatory, of which I have been terrified, is not a punishment, but a purification. We will be diminished by your leaving, but may your arrival on the next shore be accompanied with shouts of “Lo, behold she arrives.”

  59. Your wit, wisdom and prayers have sustained me over the past years, and surely these digital cups of water mean you will not lose your reward. We’re all sad to hear your news and are praying for you – Please pray for us.

  60. Sister Catherine,
    I have been bracing for this post since I learned you were ill. And I should know better because no amount of bracing makes this any easier for anyone really. How can a lay person love a Benedictine Nun whom he has never met or spoken with and who lives on another continent across a vast ocean? Well, I am happy/sad to report that it can be done via the writings of a soul, who demonstrates intelligence, thoughtfulness, poise, humor, dignity, and love of our Savior. Be assured of my prayers for you, that Our Lord will embrace you with His love all through this passage, and that your joy in Heaven exceeds our wildest imagination. With sorrow, deepest respect, and love in Christ, Tim B.

  61. Thank you for your many gifts, Sr Catherine, which you have so generously shared with us over the years. May our loving and merciful Father bless you and keep you, today and always. Be at peace. Sent with love and prayers.

  62. Dear Sr Catherine,
    Such beautiful words as always, plenty to ponder and a rich source of grace with a healthy dose of humour! Bless you, have a safe and peaceful journey.
    Chris x

  63. May God grant you pardon and peace, Sister Catherine, and may Christ greet you with these words: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant Catherine: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”

  64. Dear Sister Catherine,

    I am so very sorry to learn your news. As we enter these last days of Advent, be assured that I am holding you in prayer.


    Chris O’Rourke

  65. Dear Sister Catherine. With all that’s been said already… in gratitude for your life and all the wise words we’ve imbibed, the tears of reality at recognition of Truth and the tears as we’ve smiled and laughed with you. May you go gently into our Lord’s arms.

  66. Dear Sister Catherine,

    We have never met, but our paths crossed over twenty years ago when you were the printer at Stanbrook, and you did a printing job for me. I still have some of the cards you printed, and one of them is before me as I write. I have very fond memories of our exchanges (by hand-written letter in those pre-email days), and your clear, humorous advice on what would work and what wouldn’t.

    I have followed your blog and twitter feed since, with equal delight and fondness, although I have been a silent participant. I will miss your sane and witty presence on the web.

    Rest assured that you will be in my prayers as you go forth upon your journey.

    With love and thanks,


  67. Such a sad post but I have to admit my sadness is entirely selfish because I my first visit on Facebook every morning is for one of your posts. I was born, brought up and educated as Catholic. However it wasn’t until I met you digitally that I began to actively ‘think’ about my religion. As a simple soul I have enjoyed reading all your thoughts but have to admit have not always understood the religious /theological reverence. But have Always appreciated the challenge. It was you who introduced me to doing a specific reading in Lent and Advent. This has deepened my faith and for that I thank you so much. This Advent I either missed you suggestion or there was not one. So I started the Confessions of St August one. As ever it has been a bit of a struggle. Am praying that you get to enjoy the Christmas liturgy. Sending prayers

  68. Katherine we were with you when you left Stanbrook -you made a “home” at East Hendred with Lucy and Theresa – so much fun we had those early days. Now many years later here we are to send love and Prayers. Martin too is home with palliative care – I am his nursemaid with other wonderful carers. God bless Catherine ’til we meet merrily in Heaven.

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