• Home
  • School Visits

    Mother Teresa in Rosslyn House

    On 6 November 1970 Mother Teresa visited Rosslyn House Finishing School in Weybridge – a finishing school run by nuns – for a party attended by many Surrey Co-Workers and their children.

    Susie Kerr experienced Mother Teresa’s work in the Shishu Bhavan home for abandoned babies. This was through her mother (Fey Bone), who became actively involved with Mother Teresa’s work when living in Calcutta. Later, Fey became chairman for the Surrey Co-Worker and set up ‘Teresa’s Boutique’, a charity shop in Cobham.

    My father used to drive Mother Teresa around when she was in Surrey and they went to a finishing school in Surrey. Oof course it was all quite pucker. Mother Teresa came to visit for lunch and of course they sit down for lunch and the first course is soup and bread, so this is what Mother Teresa is used to eating – and that would be it. She sits down, she says grace, she breaks her bread into her soup, she has her soup and that’s it. But then along comes another course… She’s sitting next to my mother – my mother was as tiny as she was – she kept going ‘Fey, I really can’t eat this!’ and kept putting her food onto my mother’s plate because she really couldn’t eat any more.


    Heather Bamberger was part of one of the very first Co-Worker groups in Surrey and first met Mother Teresa when she visited.

    IMG_1090

    It was a finishing school that was so grand, it was unbelievable. We were mortified with the food that was there, mortified. We couldn’t believe that they could present that much. And Mother Teresa said Don’t worry! God has seen what’s been served to you – enjoy it!

     

    SJB

    Mother Teresa visited St John the Baptist School, Woking on 3 November 1970 to thank the school for funds they had raised for her work. Bishop David Cashman, then Bishop of Arundel & Brighton was there also.  A small group of staff and students stayed after school time to welcome her.

     

    Melanie Kibblewhite was a pupil at the time:

    A few of us were asked if we’d like to meet someone very special who was dropping in. We had no idea who it was going to be. I remember the occasion well – I think I was 12 and I am now 58! I can remember talking to her but can’t remember the conversation sadly. I certainly knew I was in the presence of someone very special but at 12 I wish I’d known then what I do now!

    Mother Teresa visited Notre Dame Convent School in Cobham to speak to the Junior school children. Her wealth of experience in teaching must have helped her communicate her message. Sister Faith remembers…

    She came in and spoke to the Junior school about her work in Calcutta. She had to sit on edge of the stage as there was flooding, and she said she really didn’t mind as she was used to things like flooding

    Jane Penson went to school at Merrow Grange Convent, a school run by nuns of the Ladies of Mary…
    “I remember one year we were asked to knit squares to make blankets to send out to Calcutta to the mission where Mother Teresa worked.

    I wanted to help and I know I started to make squares, but I was not very good and it and was painfully slow. After a few weeks the number of squares had started to grow, and it was suggested someone should sew the squares together – which seemed much more up my street – so I took them home and sewed them into blankets. I remember this was not as easy as it seemed because not all the squares were the size they should have been! I can remember being told that Mother Theresa was coming to the area and was paying a quick visit to the school on her way to another appointment.

     
    We all gathered in the school hall and stood in form lines just like we did for assembly every morning. I was told I had been chosen, with one other girl I think, to go up on to the stage to give the finished blankets to Mother Teresa . I was nervous but felt extremely honoured . I remember how small she seemed, and she was calm and gentle – it was such a special day I have never forgotten. Now she is on her way to sainthood as the Church and the world has recognised her human brilliance, however I realised at the time just what a special gift it was to have met her, and how fortunate I was. It is lovely that this recognition has been made – and that before long she will be Saint Mother Teresa.”

  • featured
  • The Surrey Co-Workers

    At the beginning we called ourselves the Committee, Mother Teresa’s Committee. And that was too grand for her, much too grand. We’re co-workers, and she was one of the co-workers as well.

    Heather Bamberger (a West Byfleet Co-Worker)

    Mother Teresa’s friendship with the people of Surrey started in 1954 when Ann Blaikie first became involved with her work in Calcutta. Other Surrey people – Margaret Mackenzie, Fey Bone, Pauline Smith, Pauline Perrett – joined her later. These women would later establish the Co-Workers in Surrey. From the 1960’s onward, communities of Co-Workers grew in Surrey, pooling their energy in prayer, educational and charitable work. Visiting in the 1970s, Mother Teresa influenced many of the lives of people from across the county.

    Fey Bone set up a charity shop called ‘Teresa’s Boutique’ in Cobham, one of the first shops of its kind (see pictured). Susie, her daughter, reflects – “My mother worked tirelessly with Mother Teresa in India…all was given without limitations.”

    When setting up her home in Southall, London, Mother Teresa needed an altar and tabernacle for the small chapel, which St Augustine’s Care Home in Addlestone kindly donated. Sister Isabel describes her visit:

    “We had a little chat there together, the whole community. She admired the work that we do, and we admired the wonderful work she was doing.”

    Joan Osborne from Addlestone was the Co-Workers National Chairman:

    “I told her about building our church, and asked for her prayers. She said she would pray for us, and with a big smile she added: “But there is no need! You will get a church. God is never outdone for generosity. You gave him a tabernacle. He will give you a church.”

    Joan Osbone's speech at Addlestone parish (1)
    Joan Osbone’s speech at Addlestone parish

    Joan Osborne's speech at Addlestone parish (2)

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Because I had the tremendous privilege of getting to know Mother Teresa, I’ve been asked to tell you some little personal stories.

    I first met Mother in person in Westminster Central Hall, at the huge gathering of the Co-Workers from all over England. Fey, who was then Chairman for Surrey – a post she held for many years – was babysitting so that her daughter could come to that meeting, so she asked me to represent her. It was a lovely surprise when, after I was introduced to Mother, I was given the job of introducing her to all the Surrey Co-Workers (I think about 30 of us were allowed to go there). It was wonderful to be so close to her as she greeted each one, and to see the love shining from her face, and the happiness she gave to each person.

    Some years later Margaret asked me if I would be willing to become the National Chairman for the UK, if Mother approved the appointment. I didn’t really think she would approve, but it was very nice to go and meet her again.

    Heather took me to the convent in Southall (the same one to which our Sisters at St Augustine’s Convent in Simplemarsh Road had given an altar and tabernacle when they had refurbished their chapel). Mother took great delight in showing us these in the tiny chapel, which was the front room of the house. After a few minutes of prayer, we went out into the hall, and Mother thanked us for coming, and me for taking on this work. I had expected an interview (and probably to be turned down) so I was standing there, possibly with my mouth open.  She asked me what was the matter, and I said that I didn’t know that she had accepted me for the job, and did she really want me?

    She looked back into the chapel, and smiling, held out her hand towards the altar and said “Of course I want you, and doubly so since you come from Addlestone.”

    On later visits I told her about building our Church, and asked for her prayers. She said she would pray for us, and with a big smile she added: “But there is no need! You will get a church. God is never outdone for generosity. You gave him a tabernacle. He will give you a church.”
    So it is very appropriate that we should give our thanks to him here today, in the church he gave us just for such a purpose…