by Sr Ann Catherine Swailes o.p.
Evensong Sermon, Magdalene College, Cambridge, 23rd October 2022
All generations, we have just heard, shall call me blessed. Not least, perhaps, all generations of choral composers, who have found enduring inspiration – and employment - in these words of Mary of Nazareth as she magnifies her Lord. The version we have heard tonight bears particular
The latest in our series on the eight evil thoughts; Sr Rose Rolling o.p. reflects on anger.
Introduction: Anger in the spiritual journey
This preaching series is dedicated to the Eight Evil Thoughts, from the Desert Father Evagrius the Solitary. Last month, Sr Ann spoke to us about sadness. This topic marked a point of transition in our spiritual journey: we have now entered a point Evagrius equated with a kind of spiritual adolescence, when our thoughts replicate the inner moods and growing pains typical of teenagers – an alternation between the strong emotions of sadness and anger on one hand, undercut by a complete lack of interest, distaste or tiredness called acedia, on the other.
Tonight, we will look at the second of this triad of teenage-like thoughts, which is anger.
by Sr Ann Swailes
(In our series 'The Eight deadly Thoughts)
So it looks like I’ve drawn the short straw tonight. As you know, this talk forms part of a series entitled Eight Evil Thoughts, in which so far my sisters have offered reflections on gluttony, lust and avarice, with evenings devoted to anger and pride still to come. Compared with all that, not only does tonight’s topic – sadness - sound a little, well, sad; somewhat tame, lacklustre and devoid of excitement. More seriously, I suspect – and hope – that some of you may be wondering: in what sense does this theme fit into a series devoted to evil thoughts, specifically?
Sister Mary Henry (Winifred Jeanne Yeaman) was born on February 14th 1929, the only child of Charles and Eveline Yeaman. She was baptized in St John’s Church Kidsgrove on June 23rd 1936, no reason is recorded for her rather late baptism but it coincided with her beginning school, and she was confirmed by Archbishop Williams in Our Lady of the Angels in Stoke on May 25th 1941. Her father was the City of Stoke-on –Trent Electrical Engineer and quite a well-known figure locally. A street is named after him in Stoke, so Sister Mary Henry’s name will live on in her beloved Potteries. He died when she was eleven years old and her mother remarried though the only mention of her stepfather is that he was a cellist so obviously contributed to her love of music.
She began at her beloved St Dominic’s High School in Stoke in the prep department at the age of five, in 1934, and was there until 1947. After a short time of student teaching in Kenilworth she joined the Sisters of Mercy in September 1948. She records that once clothed she realised that she was in the