Life in community - changes on the horizon
It's been 9 months since our confrère, dear old Br. Augustine, passed away and left us down to 2 Brothers in our community: myself + Br. Francis, both of us Southerners in our southern community. However, it is normal for us to have a minimum of 3 Brothers in our communities, if possible. After many months of prayer, discussion and reflection, our Brother Provincial in France and his 2 Assistant Provincials (our "line managers", if you like) decided that we would close our Southampton community next summer, with the 2 of us moving back to our community and school in Liverpool where we currently have 1 English Brother in community with a retired French Brother and a Togolese Brother.
Our primary and secondary schools (Charlton House + St. Mary's College) here in Southampton are already under lay Head Teachers and we have total confidence in their ability to take the schools forward in our absence. We will still be Trustees and will continue to be involved as much as we can in the life of the schools.
Between now and the summer, Francis and I have the challenging task of emptying the 22 bedrooms and other areas of the house and deciding with the 2 Heads how they can best make use of the house, which is directly connected to the College.
For me personally, I'll be leaving home for the second time, more than likely for the last time, leaving behind family members who still live locally and many friends, but I'll be returning to the place that was my home for 17 years, on and off between 1987 and 2009. So, mixed feelings...
But one thing's for sure... there's a lot of work to be done before we go.
Br. Francis with community cat, Boomer.