Monday, November 18, 2013

A Week of Repairs and Maintenance at the Vocations Centre

A couple of weeks ago I was away in Rome for the Vocation Directors' Conference. It was a very good week with lots of opportunities to share experiences and to learn from each other. We also had a chance to visit the Italian National Vocations Service where we received a warm welcome. It was interesting to see how things are done differently over there where the approach to vocations work is much more 'top down' with the central office producing materials that are then filtered down to regional, diocesan and local vocation centres. 
While I was away the team here at the Vocations Centre made use of a bit of extra time to get on with some maintenance work. One task was to finish painting the ceiling of the Chapel. We have now totally redecorated the Chapel and the transformation is amazing. The ceiling was white before but is now an attractive sky-blue with the beading picked out in gold. The photo below shows the work in progress.

While one team was working on the Chapel another was outside. The dining room had a leaking roof which one lad was able to fix by replacing the roofing felt. Meanwhile Tony got to work on the statue of Our Lady which had come to Whitstable when the Marcy Convent in Guernsey closed down. It is a lovely terracotta statue which at some stage had been whitewashed. Over the years other coats of paint were applied to it so that the details were now pretty well lost. The paint was flaking and something needed to be done so we decided the first thing would be to strip off all the layers of whitewash and bring it back to its original state. It is still a work in progress but once it is complete we will decide whether to keep it as a terracotta statue or apply a single coat of whitewash to it.

These maintenance projects take time but they are important for us to do partly because we have no budget for someone else to do them but also because they are a good way for us all to take responsibility for the house and to enjoy some manual labour together.

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