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Sister S, aged 96, is a cherished sister in a convent community of 13 nuns in Chigwell, Essex. The community has been her home and her life for 34 years. She still attends five daily services, celebrates mass, even conducting it on occasion, and has a vital role in mentoring the younger nuns.
When Sister S began to lose track of the time, she started waking up the other nuns during the night. As they are all aged over 70 themselves, they found it hard to cope during the day after a broken night’s sleep. A place in a nursing home associated with the religious order was an option for Sister S but the nuns all wanted her to remain with them. They also felt that she would be lost and confused in a new environment. They decided to carry on caring for Sister S themselves during the day, with support from a Trinity carer at night.
Choosing the right person for the job was a challenge for Trinity. The candidate had to have experience, empathy as well as respect for this extra-ordinary environment.
Carol was matched as the ideal candidate and has spent several months adapting to the tranquil and contemplative way of life in the Convent, and earning the trust of the Order. She has now become a dear friend and an invaluable member of the community. She normally likes to arrive at 8pm to chat and have dinner with the sisters before starting work at 10pm. She stays till 9.00am the following morning. The Convent is an old building with uneven floors and steep staircases and Sister S had had a number of falls before Carol arrived. Carol’s primary role is to keep Sister S safe. During the nights she encourages her to sleep but will help her get up in the night, without disturbing the other nuns. if she wants to.
Carol has been instrumental in helping Sister S stay safely where she belongs, as well as providing companionship reassurance and routine. This is a very happy situation for the sisters as Sister S can remain with them and continue to play a vital role in the community and they can sleep soundly through the night. It’s happy for Carol too; she says it’s like being in a big, warm-hearted family with 13 wonderful sisters!