Tread Gently

Sister Laurentia Carroll OP

“Oxford is beautiful
Tread gently”

Tread gently
On its cobble stones that weave their way through
Lanes and pathways leading to  cobbled courtyards
Surrounded by the towering walls of ancient buildings from our past.

Tread gently,
In the shadows of the
“Jewel of England’s heart!”
Oxford, constructed from the golden limestone
Of its neighbour Headington-
Modelled on Medieval forms- no campus- but colleges of learning.

Tread gently
Through the ancient doorways
That leads to seats of learning
Founded in ancient times to inspire
Presidents and pastors, poets and prime ministers
Artists and authors, anylysts and scientists –
All who search for truth and meaning in their life.

Tread gently
On the hallowed ground
Where Tolkien, Lewis and Newman walked, prayed and pondered
On words and (as the Inklings) created tales of Hogwarts and Philosopher’s stones,
Of Alice in her wonderland and sermons in the Oratory

Tread gently,
Where angels fear to tread with Morse and Lewis and find the clues
In Oxford of the crimes created by the writer Colin Dexter of writer’s fame.

Tread gently,
In the shadow of our Dominican story
in Blackfriars Oxford in 1221
Where the friars established a seat of learning
For centuries.’
Til in 1538 when Cromwell suppressed and dissolved their life.
‘Till 1921
Then a new beginning!
When Bede- “The first swallow of the Dominican summer”
With generous Charlotte Tyson-
Returned the friars to Oxford and a Priory began.

Tread gently,
In the footsteps of our Sisters, two.
Dominican women of courage who in 1984
Responded to Dominic’s call to
Praise and Bless and Preach in Oxford

And the story continues.
So tread gently because “you tread on my dreams”.

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