St. Augustine of Canterbury Church, Leeds Centenary Book.1905-2005

 

Sisters of Charity of St Paul the Apostle

The sisters taught in St Augustine’s school from 1899 travelling out from St Patrick’s Convent until 1926. When Fr. Coffey moved into the newly built presbytery beside the church, the house he had been living in at 185, Roundhay Road, was passed to the sisters. It opened as their new convent on 1st May 1926. It closed in July 1974 when Sr. St Bride retired. Sr. Magdalen stayed on as sacristan for a while, travelling from St Patrick’s convent, until she died peacefully in her sleep the following year on 6th February 1975. Sr. Magdalen was sadly missed by the parishioners and those who remember her speak of her with great affection.

However Sr. St Bride ventured into a new career doing parish community work – at one time working alongside Fr. Tom Kenny in Bradford. One of her fellow sisters said of her, “After leaving St Augustine’s she did some tremendous community work and was really good with people.”

Extracts from a Letter from Sr. St Bride

In 1997, after receiving copies of the parish magazine Sr. St Bride, who was living in Birmingham at the time wrote the following:

“To say I’ve enjoyed the read is an understatement. I’ve read and re-read every page and re-lived memories of my years amongst the finest people on earth – priests, parents, children and school colleagues, plus the hundreds of parishioners near and far in the area.

The foundation of the school was a page in our Community history, too. The Selly Park Congregation arrived in England one hundred and fifty years ago from Chartres, and we are celebrating the one hundred and fiftieth Anniversary this year. They soon spread around in little groups, at the request of local priests – actually working in St Patrick’s area in 1854. In due course they came to St Augustine’s, walking the road-track each day.

Later we acquired 185 Roundhay Road, where we lived until our mission ended in 1974, when I retired and left Yorkshire.

In 1978 I became a Pastoral Sister in St Matthew’s, Allerton, Bradford, with Fr. Tom Kenny, one-time curate at St Augustine’s. I was back once again in Yorkshire! Now, like your printing machine, I am pretty-well worn out and I am back in Selly Park in the Nursing Home area of the convent.

I am peaceful and contented and I love my memories of the active years. Every memory is a prayer (so I’m told) so St Augustine’s and its needs are daily placed in the hands of our Mother Mary to present to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. With luck I may live to see the New Millennium!”

Sr. St Bride died at the Convent in Birmingham on 23rd July 2003. R.I.P.

A List of the Sisters who lived in the Convent in the Parish of St Augustine’s

The House at 185 Roundhay Road Leeds opened as a convent on 1st May 1926 - 1974. Below is a list of the Sisters who lived in the convent. The ones marked with an asterisk were headteachers at the school.

M. Gertrude of S.Paul

1926 - ‘30

 

Sr. M. Clotilda

1955 - ‘55

Sr. Agnes

1926 - ‘28 *

 

Sr. M. St Anne

1955 - ‘55

Sr. Anthony Josephine

1926 - ‘26

 

Mother/Sister Rose

1955 - ‘56

Sr. Celia

1926 - ‘27

 

Mother /Sr. M. St Bride

1956 - ‘74 *

Sr. Teresa Mary

1926 - ‘41

 

Sr. Magdalen Teresa

1956 - ‘74

Sr. M Bortrand

1927 - ‘28

 

Sr. Philomena Gerard

1955 - ‘58

Sr. Appolinie

1928 - ‘30

 

Sr. Hilary

1957 - ‘58

Sr. Lorenzo

1929 - ‘32 *

 

Sr. Miriam

1958 - ‘62

Sr. Dorothy

1930 - ‘45

 

Sr. Ambrose Marie

1959 - ‘62

M. del Angelis

1930 - ‘33

 

Sr. Imelda Marie

1960 - ‘60

Sr. Godric (supply)

1931 - ‘31

 

Sr. Catherine Laboure

1962 - ‘62

Sr. Gertrude of S. Teresa

1933 - ‘45 *

 

Sr. John Evangelist

1962 - ‘65

Sr. Martha

1933 - ‘35

 

Sr. M. Cathaldus

1962 - ‘65

Sr. Mary Peter

1936 - ‘36

 

Mother M. Genevieve

1963 - ‘64

Sr. Benignus

1936 - ‘45

 

Sr. Teresa Nativity

1963 - ‘63

Sr. Placid

1941 - ‘55 *

 

Sr. Joseph Gertrude

1963 - ‘65

O.P.M. Couleth

1945 - ‘51

 

Sr. Elizabeth Mary

1965 - ‘66

Mother M. Clare

1945 - ‘51

 

Sr. Joseph

1966 - ‘66

Sr. Joseph Marie

1946 - ‘59

 

Sr. Teresa Joseph

1966

Mother Patrick Teresa

1947 - ‘51

 

Sr. Alphonsus Joseph

1970

Mother M Rosalie

1951 - ‘54

 

Sr. Rita

1972

Sr. M. Alphonsus

1952 - ‘58

 

 

 

 

Sr. Placid in 1952.
She was the headmistress of the school
from 1945 - 1955

 

Right:
One of the Sisters with Fr. O’Flaherty outside the presbytery in 1955. The children were practising their roles in ‘Sleeping Bueaty’ which they performed in Clayton Hall to celebrate Fr. O’Flaherty’s Silver Jubilee.

 

From Sr. Alphonsus Walsh
“I taught in St Augustine’s School from 1952 to 1958 and I have very happy memories of my time spent there. In those days it was an ‘All Age’ School with the seniors separate. I had a large class of thirteen to fifteen year old girls. They were a joy to work with.
There are two events, which stand out in my memory:
• The Christmas Live Crib
• Our part in collecting money for our Community’s
foundation in South Africa

The Live Crib took place on the steps of the Town Hall in Leeds the week before 25th December. We were responsible for the angels. The girls had to be well wrapped up against the cold as well as look like Angels complete with wings. At 6.00pm prompt ‘Our Lady’ rode her donkey out on the steps of the Town Hall and all the members of the crib took up their positions for a full hour. This was repeated each night for the full week. The choir was provided by the Grammar Schools.
Our African Mission needed items for a new Mass Centre and we were asked to supply vestments, chalice, ciborium, cruets etc. I offered to make toffee but I did not realize what I was taking on. It soon became a roaring trade with the Infants knocking at the class room door each break time, sometimes with their packet of sugar which they had begged Mum to give. With the help of many other fund raising events we supplied all that was needed for the Mass Centre.

As I write this I can see my statue of St Joseph, which was one of the gifts from a group of leavers, during those happy years. It is one of my treasures, which I have carried from one Convent to another over the years.”
Sr. Alphonsus now lives at St Mary’s Convent in County Durham.


From Sr. Hilary (Beater)
“I lived in St Augustine’s for only one year from October 1957 to July 1958 while I was in my final year at Leeds University. The previous two years I lived in the convent at St Patrick’s. In many respects I was not much more than a lodger there. I only went into the school once, Sr. St Bride being the head and Sr. Alphonsus the assistant. I occasionally accompanied Sr. Magdalen when she visited the sick and housebound and observed how caring she was, not afraid of ‘getting her hands dirty’. Sr. Joseph Marie, who was very quiet, spent most of her time looking after the house. She died in 1999 after a long illness. R.I.P.

I remember we walked up a hill to Mass, rain, hail, snow or sunshine every morning, and slid down again if it was icy! No cars in those days.

 

From Sr. Miriam
“My stay in Leeds was very short 1958-62. Sr. St Bride was headmistress and I taught mainly 9-10 year olds and enjoyed it very much. The main thing that stands out in my memory was Children’s Day at Roundhay Park.

I used to go with Sr. Magdalen visiting the people of the parish in their own homes and also to St James’s Hospital. In 1962 I was asked to go to our Mission in South Africa, where I have been ever since. My few short years at St Augustine’s were very enjoyable and I was very sorry to leave. The Yorkshire people were so good and kind.”