In Bristol our work focusses on pastoral care in the local community, both centred on the house and through working with other agencies. At the house, this care has taken the form of both practical assistance such as giving food parcels at the door, and befriending and listening to callers and volunteers. The house at times is also used for Social Services supervised visits between parents and their children who are in care.
Outside the house, there is work with One25 (working with women involved in prostitution), and at the Create Centre where life skills are taught.
Sisters provide religious education through such means as retreats, quiet days and preaching. Sisters make pastoral visits at home, hospital or prison and have arranged outings for children.
The Sisters are valued members of St Agnes' Parish.
A glimpse of life for the Sisters living in Bristol:
Walking to the local shops seems to epitomise something of living in this area for me and maybe about life in general. The fresh air is inevitably mixed with traffic fumes and wafts of cannabis and I pass a number of boarded up houses and squats but I also pass houses well cared for. There can be heaps of rubbish and unwanted furniture left in gardens or on the pavement, but I have seen bluebells growing through a discarded shopping trolley and blossom and glorious autumn leaves above the collage of life below. There are usually a few lost looking souls standing outside the social services hostel and I often meet one or two of the women who work in the street based sex industry on their way to meet a client or to buy some drugs. And on this same street the blackbirds song can be as pure as in any country village and on a winters’ evening, in spite of the street lamps, the moon’s brightness shares a wise peaceful light. There are nearly always a number of young men selling drugs outside the shops but there are also beautiful young mums of various ethnic backgrounds with their children in buggies or on bikes and there is regularly an old man sitting on the wall who greets me. These are not all necessarily comfortable realities to hold together but they illustrate the complexity of life, of darkness and light existing so closely - in our hearts and in our world. I sense that we are called firstly to acceptance, to dare to acknowledge and hold all before the Divine Presence and only then to wonder about a response. Surely this is at the heart of the Christian message - God embraces the fullness of our humanity and the fullness of our world - the ugly and the beautiful, all is infused with the Eternal and all has the potential for transformation and redemption.
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