This past weekend members of the YCW National Team hosted Sr. Erika and Sr. Maria of the Working Sisters Of The Holy House Of Nazareth to the YCW HQ. We had a great conversation about our common missions in the world of work and shared about our respective histories in Britain and around the world.
The English Sector of the religious order is based in Peterborough and established there due to the sizeable Italian community there in years past. Since then, the "Working Sisters have broadened their reach to the wider community around the parishes in the local area. Globally, the Working Sisters also have a presence in Italy, Brazil and Burundi.
Part of their mission is to take on jobs - such as factory or warehouse work, social care and others - in order to “evangelise the working world” through sharing themselves with the straightforward and daily lives of the worker. Naturally this was a familiar outlook to our own movement.
We even shared a similar origin. The Working Sisters told us of Fr Arcangelo Tadini, a local parish priest who saw the plight of working women forced to leave their homes in order to find work in spinning mills out of town. Their description of returning like “squashed lemons” made us recall Cardijn’s realisation upon seeing his friends and former classmates coming home from the harsh factory conditions. In response, Fr Tadini built a mill for the local workers to come to, managed in such a way to ensure their dignity and began the Congregation of the Working Sisters.
Marc Besford, YCW National President said: “It was fantastic to invite the Sisters up to our HQ and hear so much about our common history and mission. I am looking forward to collaborating with them in the future and perhaps establishing a YCW presence in Peterborough.”