Lesley Hartley reflects ...
It’s an easy phrase isn’t it? It came to mind when we were flying home from holiday in July, and the flightpath took us directly over the flat where we live in Newhaven. It was so exciting to see the buildings from a bird’s eye view and know that after baggage collection, a tram and a bus, we would be home.
This was even more special because it was the first time that we have been on holiday, and then come home to Edinburgh; for many years it has always been the other way around and Edinburgh has been our holiday destination.
It’s a special feeling when the cases are installed at home and there’s a quick dash to Asda to get some bread and milk. You’re hoping that there might be the opportunity to say to someone: ‘I’ve had a lovely holiday, but it’s good to be home.’ But when you walk the streets of Edinburgh you see so many people of all ages who have no home - there are doorways with duvets ready for the evening occupants – each person sitting alone on the street with a different story to tell. Where is their ‘home sweet home’?
Our good cause for October is supporting the work of St Catharine’s Convent Homeless Project. Money raised helps to provide food for approximately sixty meals at breakfast and sixty more for the evening meal, as well as providing toiletries, clothing and supplies for those who live on the Edinburgh streets. The project offers a huge range of services, from guidance with job applications, help for support groups for addicts, to counselling and help in seeking medical assistance.
In our harvest service on September 18 we collected tins of tuna and of sweetcorn for the nuns to do wonders with in their kitchen. Sometimes not knowing from one day to the next what food will be available, Sister Catherine-Marie, with a wave of her hand says,’ God will provide.’ And meals are always there, everyone is fed and seconds are freely offered.
Recently, when I visited to help serve meals at St Catharine’s Convent, one of the diners was obviously upset and starting to raise his voice. One of the nuns went up and said: ‘Don’t worry now. You’re at home. You’re safe. Enjoy your food and I’ll come and sit with you when you’ve some food inside you.’ To be warm, feel safe, be fed and have someone to talk to, are essential elements of being at home.
Members of St. Mark’s congregation regularly visit St Catherine’s to help with the serving of meals:
7th - David McGill & Kris Calder
14h - Richard Ross & Lynsey Bailey
21st - Ida Silkenat & Elaine Edwards
28th - James MacDonald Reid & Kate Foggo
4th - Mary McKenna & John Reid
If you would like to join this group, please contact Elaine Edwards (email@example.com) who organises our rota.