A celebration of life for Sister Mary Lampard

 Sr Mary Lampard MSOLA (White Sisters) celebrated her Jubilee with the God she loved so much on Friday the 4th May 2007. She lived life to the full with joy, openness and grace. "I said to the God of all, I am yours" Cardinal Lavigerie These words echoed clearly in Mary's life. She was born on the 22nd November 1915 in Felixstowe in the Diocese of Brentwood. She was an only child. original, gracious and giftedly creative. Sr Mary enjoyed a loving family network which meant a great deal to her together with so many contacts over the years in many parts of the world especially in and for Africa.. A woman of faith and woman of prayer with a vibrant love of Africa. This forged her orientation to Ecumenism and Justice and Peace which proved prophetic in an ever reflective and action filled life. Sr Mary became a national focus when, aged 83, she was arrested for writing on the wall of the Ministry of Defence in London as part of an anti Nuclear Protest on Ash Wednesday 1999. Her reflection on why she did it gives an insight into this great woman. She said: " I tried to write words of Peace on a building of war; I did so as an Englishwoman, a Christian and a Missionary...... As an Englishwoman, I love my country profoundly; ... her people, her Christian heritage, her unsurpassed literature, and, inspite of their shortcomings, I love our democracy, our legal system and our monarchy. As a Christian I love Jesus Christ profoundly, his Gospel,his teaching,his principles and values-and this love is paramount. As a Missionary with 25 years experience in Africa, I have seen the poverty of the people, but I have also seen with admiration and love resilience, their sense of solidarity and sharing and their readiness to celebrate the good things of life" . Sr Mary made her First Vows in St Charles MSOLA Motherhouse in Algiers on 25th October 1936 and Final Profession on the 29th October 1939 in Heston, London. On the occasion her 70th Anniversary of her Profession Mary shared with us some snapshots of her very full life. London 1933: A Teashop near Westminster Cathedral. "I always had known that one day I would be a missionary nun. The Lord made it clear that he wanted me now. Turmoil, tears, struggle in the restaurant and finally "Yes Lord". My mother and I immediately went searching for a Missionary order. By evening it was fixed that I would join the White Sisters -Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa in two months time which I did." 1944 On a troop ship bound for Africa. "World War II did not prevent our journey. We picked up a ship going to Naples with a promise that we would be dropped at Algiers. When we finally arrived at Algiers our Sisters suspected us as being enemy spies and locked each of us in the bathroom. However everything was then sorted out and we splashed down in a sea plane on the shores of Lake Victoria". Three Schools in East Africa. "Teaching has formed a very important part in my life,helping to create a Christian atmosphere and ethos. embracing all that is good in local culture, while open to new ideas which education was offering. I taught in the Trinity College Nabbingo first Catholic Girls' Secondary School in Uganda. Many students now are rendering invaluable service for the Church and Government". In Kenya I taught in other kinds of schools one for children of mixed parentage in Thika, Kenya and other a Harambee School- Keriko. London: During Vatican II "Back in London a new assignment awaited me to lead a year of further formation for our young Sisters know as the "Juniorate". They followed courses in Theology and Scripture. It was an exciting time of opening up the windows and drawing near to Christians of all denominations. I have longed for the Unity of Christian since my childhood especially as so many of my relatives are "non Catholics"." Beautiful House and Gardens of the Houses of Prayer. "At the earnest request of a small number of Sisters the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa opened two Houses of Prayer one in Kenya and one in Canada. Not only would be able to give more time to prayer but being missionaries we were determined to open the Houses to all seeking a deeper Christian Life. I spent five years in each of the two houses-a very precious time in my life." Back in England's green and pleasant land. "When it came time to leave Africa for good much as I love my family and friends as well as the contact with former students now in the UK. I discovered new ways of fulfilling my missionary vocation. The cause of nuclear disarmament has become a passion for me. Lobbying with different organisations for dropping the crushing debts of the World's poorest countries for fair trade, peace, non violence- these are the objects of my prayer and activity." Thank you Sr Mary for the gift of yourself to us. You have been an inspiration to many. Now you celebrate you real Jubilee in Everlasting Life. We know you will remember us all. You are indeed a woman of faith, a woman of prayer, a woman of love who is and was gifted and graced by our Loving God for Africa. Sr Mary will be laid to rest on Friday 18th May 2007. For more information contact: Sr Catherine Booth: Regional Superior, e-mail: regmsolauk@aol.com or phone 0208 998 5017.

Share this story