My name is Sister Frances Hayes. I am a Dominican Sister aged 75. I joined the Newcastle Dominicans in 1952 and received the Dominican habit in July of that year, made my Temporary Profession in 1953 and my Final Profession in 1956. After completing my teacher’s training in 1956 I taught in Rosary Priory Junior School for one year. I was sent to South Africa in 1957 and spent 19 very happy years teaching in various schools there. I returned to England in 1977 and taught in Rosary Priory Prep School and St. Joseph’s Storrington until I retired from teaching in 1992. Since then I have worked as Secretary/Librarian for St. Cecilia’s Guild for the Blind for ten years and for the past six years I have been a volunteer at Homeless Action in Barnet, a Day Centre for Homeless people in North Finchley. During this time I lived in our Convents in Oxford, Burnt Oak and Edgware. I moved to Rosary Priory in May 2008. My present work is spending one day a week at the Niland Conference Centre and helping our elderly and sick Sisters. I thank God that he has given me the health and strength to do his work in various ministries.
How did I come to be a Dominican Sister?
From an early age I wanted to join a Religious Order. Every Sunday afternoon I went with my Mother to St. Mary’s Dominican Church in Cork to attend devotions, which included Compline, I was very inspired by the Dominican brethren. I also visited St. Albert’s Convent, Sunday’s Well, Cork, where I met a number of Dominican Sisters who impressed me by their lives.
What gives me joy and hope?
My greatest joy is to be able to attend Mass every morning and to be present at the Divine Office and the other spiritual exercises of the Community. It also gives me great joy to be of service to my Sisters especially our elderly and sick Sisters when I accompany them to hospital appointments and assist them in other ways whenever I can, also helping people I meet outside the Convent. Contact with my family and friends, reading a good book, seeing a good movie and listening to music give me joy.
Although there is a lack of Vocations and our numbers are decreasing at present there is still great energy and enthusiasm in the Congregation and this gives me hope and also that we have a number of younger Sisters in South Africa.