CATHOLIC HERALD REPORTER 0 RCH DS from Sisters in Singapore, arum lilies and mimosa from Gibraltar, chinchinerees from Rhodesia arrived at the Godalming, Surrey, mother house of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood on Saturday last week to highlight celebrations commemorating Rome's Final Approval of the Congregation.
Bishop Cowderoy of Southwark celebrated Pontifical Mass in the chapel ali,Ladywell and presented the Decre7 of Approval to Mother Mary Francis Spring, foundress of the Congregation.
Telegrams and cables of cangratulation poured in from all over the world to the Sisters who have so adequately interpreted the Franciscan life for our times.
Founded in England by Mother Mary Francis the Sisters were raised to the status of a Papal Congregation by Pope Pius XII in 1947. The Decree of Commendation, the Second Stage of the founding of a Congregation, followed quickly in 1951.
The Constitutions were approved in 1962 by Pope John XXIII and the Final Approbation signed by Pope Paul VI in December last year.
"From the lips of the Vicar of Christ you have received, dear Mother, dear Sisters, the Final Approval of your Holy Congregation." said bishop Cowderoy bestowing the Decree on Mother Mary Francis.
"I am grateful," said the Bishop. "that the final seal of approval has come to me and has been delivered to Mother General through my hands, for we know full well how much the Congregation owes to her for her intrepid courage and perseverance."
Bishops in many parts of Africa. Malaya. Singapore, America, Gibraltar, as well as other dioceses in England and Ireland are celebrating Masses of thanksgiving for the Sisters of the Congregation in their territories.
In Rome, the Congregation's Cardinal Protector, Cardinal Marella, called on the Sisters in person to present his congratulations. He visited Godalming only a few months ago.
The particular work of the Congregation includes maternity nursing and the care of mother and child. but sisters are trained in all branches of medicine: doc tors, nurses, physiotherapists, radiographers, pharmacists, bacteriologists.
They are trained to he selfsupporting. They bake bricks and build: they farm: in between courses in scripture and theology they may wash up. clean the car, make sandals. or embroider. Mother General, they tell me. is as happy at home at her desk as she is baking bread in a faraway mission, The mother house and novicate were transferred from Guildford to Godalming in 1956.