Mulberry Court dedication 21st May 2019
On the 21st of May we hosted an event at Westminster House marking the start of the Mulberry Court development at the site of the old Orione House.
We were delighted to be joined by Auxiliary Bishop for Westminster John Wilson who ceremonially planted the mulberry tree and went on to hold the mass in honour of the feast of saint Don Orione.
All the way from Rome we were also joined by our superior delegate Fr Marcelo Boschi, who delivered a homily at the event.
John O’Neil our development partner presented a short but very informative talk concerning the development. He walked us through how the site would transform into a community living development which caters for the needs of elderly people looking to live with support while providing for their spiritual and social needs by retaining the chapel and existing accommodation used by the wider religious community.
Father Phillip Kehoe, Chair of Trustees spoke to us briefly about the history of Orione Care and its founding in the United Kingdom by Father Bidone. He reminded us that our founder Don Orione “believed very much in divine providence” but that this does not provide us an excuse to “sit back, while God does all the work”. Father Phillip concluded with reference to Father Bidone’s continued mission. “His faith and trust paid off and it is thanks to his trust that you and I, are present in this garden, starting a new project on this day in May 2019. May it be a success and a good service to all who live in this area of our borough.”
Chief Executive John Tonner also spoke. He explained the significance of the mulberry tree saying that we believe that the current mulberry tree has been at our Teddington site for over a hundred years and furthermore, we have good reason to think that it had been planted by celebrated Victorian author R. D. Blackmore. Sadly, the tree is coming to the end of its life but with the planting of a new tree this “symbolises the rebirth” of the mulberry tree as well as the “next chapter for Orione Care and The Sons of Divine Providence”.
The celebration then continued with more speeches from people from all corners of our organisation. Followed by a delicious lunch and drinks in the sunshine accompanied by live music from the brilliant Grooveology. Our event was well attended by friends, neighbours, service users, staff and supporters. The food, wine and music was much enjoyed by everyone.