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M. Ángel Marco shares her experience in Swansea last summer

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Stay in Swansea

Winnie and M. Ángel.

Last July I had the chance to spend three weeks in the United Kingdom. Learning English, always in progress, was at the origin of the journey, but the most important wish was the meeting with the sisters and to know their daily social setting.

By some days I stayed at Stamford Hill, where I had been welcomed five years ago for the same period of time, three weeks. It turned out in fact a reunion; I came again to feel myself at home and with a place at the table, I was welcomed with my limitation of communication.

Santa Ursula´s Convent is in the heart of a Jew orthodox area, easy to recognise in the street by the clothes they were. The Shabbat is very remarkable, with all the family walking and celebrating the rest as the tradition asks for. Just in the same area, the parish of San Ignacio, where the community of the Ursulines of Jesus works and celebrates, it takes in the most diverse nationalities and it is a good example of communication and universality.

Winnie and Ethelreda­ bay’s view

The intense rains of the beginning of July had caused road damages, so the journey to Swansea, in Wales, by car, became an adventure. That meant no difficulty to expert drivers such as Eileen and Winnie. When all the traffic signs began to be written in English and Wesh, a doubt startled me: “Here they speak English, don´t they?” The spontaneous laugh of my partners was enough to calm me down. .

The fortnight at Stella Maris was really a time to rest, to live the consciousness and to enjoy the simplicity of the daily life. I couldn´t be better received by the sisters, each of them offered me the best of themselves. And I thank them from the bottom of my heart, because I needed their patience and good will, to be spoken slowly and to be helped with my lack of vocabulary. The invaluable help of Sister Martina, who gave me an hour of class a day, encouraged me to speak.

Singleton Park

Swansea is a pretty city, inside an immense bay with a long beach and beautiful gardens. There was always something to discover in the long walks. The contemplation and the silence calm the spirit.
It was possible to visit all the communities of Swansea, some of them more than one hundred years old, as St. Mary´s Convent, I was also shown different places of mission where the Ursulines have left their trace in the city. How many roots we have in the bay!

The goodbye of the sisters was affectionate; I have them in my heart and I know I am in theirs.
The way back to London by myself by train made me feel an adult. It was interesting to ask for directions in the street and to understand the instructions.

Just before my journey back to Madrid, it was the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. All together in the community room, including Hazel, we enjoyed the majesty of the celebration, which went around of the history and success of the host country, and the humour of Mister Bean wasn´t absent (with him you can laugh with all your strength without speaking English).

On the way home, the nostalgia overcame me. I had the best of the possible summer by side of my British sisters and I hope I will meet them soon again. I have experienced once more how love can break down any physical or linguistic barrier. Thank you very much sisters.

MªAngel Marco
Madrid, 1 -10- 2012