I had a wonderfully memorable birthday in October 2003. I was invited to the Niland Conference Centre’s Friends Day, where I was given a very warm welcome.
My great aunt was Agnes Niland, better known as Sister Mary Rose, but it was only last year that I became aware of this fact, and of the existence of the Niland Conference Centre. This was a very exciting discovery for me. Sister Eleanora Murphy was a mine of information and I was so excited to visit Rosary Priory and the Niland Conference Centre. How proud and privileged I felt to be associated with such a wonderful woman.
Walking into the Niland Conference Centre that day, I felt as though history was coming alive and talking to me!The stained glass brought back so many happy memories of my very young childhood in South Africa. This is a vibrant modern centre meeting the needs of today’s society. There is a pioneering feel, driven by committed, intelligent, enthusiastic women. I was made SO welcome-probably the closest I will ever get to celebrity status!
I wasn’t brought up a Catholic – I wasn’t brought up in any specific religion. However, from the age of 13 I went on my own spiritual quest, becoming a Catholic when I was 22. I had my instruction from the Head Teacher of Loreto College in St Albans and I loved those six months. Our sessions fed my soul and I had a sense of coming home and at the end I was told that I would have made a wonderful nun! I don’t know about that – I have a fiercely stubborn streak.
However, discovering my association with The Niland Conference Centre has been like a wheel turning full circle in my life. I am touched to the core and feel an intense connection and am grateful, amazed and amused at the way the Holy Spirit works.Suzy Brophy