Westminster Interfaith: Promoting Dialogue Between People of Faith

The agency of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster for Interreligious Dialogue

Westminster Interfaith Newsletter

Issue 62 – July 2009

Sister Simon Catlin – an appreciation

For more than 10 years, Sr Simon has been a part of our team in Westminster Interfaith. When she joined in 1997, she was living and working in the East End of London, in the Borough of Tower Hamlets. There she made her respectful presence felt in the faith and civic communities, inserting herself into the local bodies who were serving that diverse and ever-changing community. She joined the trusts of local primary schools, having considerable knowledge of Catholic education to bring to the task, as she did when she involved herself in the borough's SACRE. There she met representatives of all the faiths in the area, and I imagine she made quite an impact with her clear way of approaching things and her gentle way of dealing with people. She had special friends amongst the Vivikananda, the Sai Baba of east London and the community of Bangladeshi origin.

Many of us will remember visits which she organised to places of worship in the east: the Whitechapel mosque comes to my mind, others will remember the Bevis Marks Synagogue. By virtue of the annual Pilgrimages she helped to organise, many more will have enjoyed a visit to the Wesley Chapel or to more hidden and humbler places of worship she uncovered; will have walked through the area of Brick Lane with its history of newly arrived immigrant communties and had our eyes opened to the faith-life of the people of East London.

Three years ago, Sr Simon was asked to move west, to Kensington, and to combine her interfaith work with responsibilities in her Order. Her interest in the East End is undiminished and as fellow-team members we have remained able to achieve through her an authentic picture of the faith and cultural life there.

Inevitably, her Order has 'caught up with her' and placed still more responsibility upon her. Their gain, our loss.

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