April 2017

How did APRIL FOOLS ‘ DAY originate?

According to some accounts it began in 1582

when Pope Gregory XII decreed

the adoption of the "Gregorian Calendar",

which moved New Year’s Day from the end of March

to 1st of January.

Some people continued to celebrate New Year’s Day on 1st April,

and they were ridiculed as foolish and termed APRIL FOOLS.

However, the notion of "holy fools"

has a long and respected place in Judaeo-Christian history.

Hebrew prophets were often scorned as mad or eccentric

for pronouncing unwelcome or uncomfortable truths.

The Apostle Paul talked to the Corinthians

about becoming "fools for Christ".

The Eastern Orthodox Church still sees the "holy fool"

as a type of Christian martyr.


And in the UK an "April Fool" is now someone

taken in by childish pranks.

Researched by Sister Monica


The gift of a sundial from our gardener’s mother

faces N to S at the corner of the main House.



of the Passion Flower

This flower was found by Spanish

Christian missionaries in South America.

Each part was given a symbolic meaning

in recognition of the passion of Christ.

The five sepals and five petals refer to the

ten faithful apostles (excluding Judas and Peter).

Three stigma represent the three nails

that held Christ to the cross.

Five anthers represent his five sacred wounds.

The tendrils of the flower are said to resemble

the whips used in the flagellation,

while the numerous filaments depict

the crown of thorns.


The symbolism of the Passion Flower is appropriate

as Easter approaches.

4th April

It rained during the night, and it rains still.

The sound of bird-song is heard against a grey sky.


8th April

A herring gull sits on the chimney stack

while a slender fox eats cat food

under a garden bench early in the morning.

The herring gull makes the crows look small.

It feels cold outside.

The garden shed roof sparkles with frost.

A few minutes later the fox was eating bread on the lawn

and the magpies were eating the cat food under the bench.


We have many different types of daffodils in our garden.

Some of the wonderful golden flowers

have now formed seed-heads and shrivelled.

At my Grammar School in Wimbledon, in the early 1950’s,

we celebrated our Foundation Day in early March

with daffodils and pussy willow.

That was a long time ago.....

Tempus fugit.


It is Palm Sunday tomorrow.

A kind Capuchin Friar has brought us some palms,

and I have picked some bay leaves to go with them.

They will be blessed before Mass and then distributed.

When the procession evoking the entrance

of Our Lord into Jerusalem, and the special Mass, are over,

those who wish take to their palms and bay-leaves may do so,

and keep them until Ash Wednesday of next year.


Maundy Thursday

The wall-flowers have been in full bloom for a few days,

and purple azalea bushes are radiant.

Even the snap-dragons amid the tulips are in flower.

As the tulips lose their petals other smaller plants become visible.

Purple cyclamen hid in the shelter of their leaves.

The wall-flowers now have autumnal colours,

with gold and orange-brown hues.

The day is overcast.

I have not seen the fox again, or the black cat,

whom we call Shadow. He is not so timid now

and shares the food I put out for Murphy .

Murphy discreetly removes himself at his approach.

The herring gulls, which are almost the size of ducks,

make a plaintive call before deciding to land

and eat the bread broken for the birds...


18th April

Easter has very quietly come and gone.

All the liturgical services went well

in simplicity and peace.

Yesterday the sun shone for most of the day.


At Mass today 19th April we had a good homily

on the reading from Luke 13:13-35

about the two disciples

who had previously followed Jesus, and then left Jerusalem,

disappointed by events, and headed for Emmaus.

On their journey they were joined by a Stranger,

who explained to them the significance of the events which had occurred,

in a catechetical ( teaching) form, and which had needed to happen.

It was only when he ‘broke the bread’ with them in Emmaus

that they realised who the Stranger, who had now vanished, was.

They then immediately returned to Jerusalem.

There they were greeted by other disciples

who had also seen Jesus, and whose hope had also been renewed.

Our Garden April 2017

Photograph by Dave Price

It is now Saturday 22nd April .

The News on Radio 4 during the last few weeks

has been dominated by accounts of world-wide chaos

and acts of atrocity by individuals, even in London / Westminster.

It is indeed sobering to learn of an escalation in violence,

and growing hostility, and a total indifference

by the perpetrators to the consequences.

It seems that the balance attained after World War 2

has now disappeared.


This reminded me of what harm we human beings

have occasioned to the natural world throughout the centuries,

with many creatures now extinct.

Climate change, caused by human activity,

has not helped, and the effects thereof will remain with us.

But we have to go on in hope:

as there are many people working for

a renewed balance in nature.

One can even do that in small ways in a garden.


23rd April

The Feast of Saint George will be celebrated tomorrow.

He is usually portrayed as fighting with a dragon,

which may be translated as fighting against evil in a pagan age.

This would be just as appropriate in the present day.

This imagery can be found in the Book of the Apocalypse,

the last book of the New Testament.


24th April

Sister Catherine photographed a fox some days ago.

It was a vixen, eating both bread and soft cat biscuits.

Unfortunately the picture does not like being printed

but Sister Clare had glossy photographic paper,

and that does it justice.


It is raining today but the trees and shrubs are flourishing.

May we also flourish, and live in hope,

in a world disturbed by enmity and uncertainty.