Sunday 25 July 2021

“Francis, go and rebuild my Church.”

“Francis, go and rebuild my Church.”

These were the words St Francis heard Our Blessed Lord speak to his heart as he gazed on the crucified image in the ruined church of St Damiano. The task of rebuilding the Church is always with us and St Peter's International College is attempting to do just that, in rebuilding the 200 year old abandoned Convent founded by St André-Hubert Fournet for the new Congregation of the Sisters of the Cross, Sisters of St Andrew Cross, in 1807. St André, together with the first Superior St Elizabeth Bichier, established the Congregation for the care of the poor and the instruction children. 

The School started up last year but the main building, St Andrew's House, was not able to be used, as it needed much in the way of being brought up to code for a building in public use. This summer, thanks to some very generous benefactors, work has begun on this historic building. It's not fancy inside (it was built for holy nuns!) but is it spacious and has an imposing presence from the outside. As well as further classrooms and offices, it will provide space for a large games room for the boys, a library (yet to be fitted out) and most importantly, a professional kitchen. All of this can't be done at once, as funds will not allow, but, as St Francis said, “Start by doing what is necessary, then what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”

When the school opened last year, many times was heard the refrain, "That's going to be impossible!" But day by day we do what is necessary to rebuild this little corner of God's Church, following one of the original charisms of the Sisters who first worked there under the inspiration of St André - the education of young people in the FAITH. The same Faith and the same Mass that gave them courage is alive in the college today and St Peter's thanks God most especially at this time for the generous donors who have helped to rebuild what seemed impossible. It has been a long hard year but we've had little choice other than to follow St Francis' advice, “Be patient in trials, watchful in prayer, and never cease working.”

We hope to turn the building sites in the pictures above into functioning spaces like this existing classroom. If you feel the prompting of God's Holy Spirit to be a part of rebuilding God's Church for the young people who will have to lead the Church in the future, please consider donating to this great endeavor. Like St Francis, we set off with little more than our trust in God but have been joined in the journey by man who contribute in prayer and in financial support. You are invited to join us in that journey “The journey is essential to the dream.”

St Francis had a joyful spirit, a childlike joy in the Faith; a complete trust in God; a deep devotion to the Mass and Church and a desire to preach the Gospel, even in the most unlikely places (at the court of the Sultan of Egypt, for example!) This is the Faith we want to pass on to the next generations of Catholics.

To learn more or to donate - any amount large or small, contact me via the usual channels or the school directly via the website.

“For it is in giving that we receive.”

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