The Little Sisters of Joy
The Little Sisters of Joy

Easter and Pentecost Newsletter 2024

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"The harvest of righteousness shall be sown in peace by those who make peace" (Letter of St. James)


An ecumenical Foundation of Prayer, Peace and Reconciliation


May I wish you all the blessings of this special season in which we are celebrating 25 years of foundation of The Little Sisters of Joy.

I could not have imagined that our 25th Anniversary Concert for Peace and Reconciliation, planned at the beginning of 2023, would take place in the middle of both the war in Ukraine and the conflict in the Middle East. I felt it gave a more intense and  poignant feeling to the performance with a wonderful mixed audience.

The setting, thanks to the Master, Dean and Fellows of Magdalene College in Cambridge, was magnificent and we were blessed with a fine day, in which the light from the stained glass windows radiated through the mediaeval chapel, where I had the privilege of singing and playing some of the favourite songs of the people from past audiences.Revd. Sarah Atkins, the Dean of Chapel, had gone out of her way to smooth arrangements from the start and welcomed all the members of the audience on the day. We had a very special guest, as the Mayor of Cambridge, Councillor Jenny Gawthrope Wood, had wanted to attend the concert and add her voice to those voices round the world asking for Peace and Reconciliation.


The programme was dedicated to the many of the people who have attended the Concerts for Peace and Reconciliation  in the past and their favourite songs, covering some haunting Hebrew melodies (a little video has gone on our Facebook page) and  Songs of the Sixties.The audience comprised people from the Jewish and Christian communities, as well as our own Chief Clerk from Storey’s House, a former colleague who had come from Germany to attend the concert and several others who had not attended a Concert for Peace and Reconciliation before.I was well prepared in that I had done quite a few rehearsals, including one to residents of Storey’s House who were unable to make it down to the chapel.The ‘Skye Boat Song’ proved an all time favourite, which I sang without the guitar on the day; the chapel resonated to the sound of thirty two voices all joining in the chorus.

I dedicated this song, written for Bonnie Prince Charlie, Catholic Pretender to the throne in the 18th century, to our own King, HIs Majesty King Charles III, as a sign of loyalty, and reconciliation between the two strands, Protestant and Catholic, of our mutual Christian faith. After a brief interval, I opened the second half of the performance with my own personal favourite-Tom Paxton’s ‘Last thing on my mind’ followed by ‘The Carnival is over’ a Russian folk song adapted with English lyrics. I told the audience that this is my ‘Daughter of the Heart, Clare’s favourite song. Unfortunately due to illness she could not be with us, but, like many others, she had helped  The Little Sisters of Joy to grow and develop.

Autumn Leaves’ sung in French under the original title of ‘Les Feuilles Mortes’ is, as I explained to the gathering, not only the favourite song of a close friend who was there, but dedicated to the memory of Gary Moodie, long time host in Toronto, who I used to see sweeping the autumn leaves in his backyard. I felt in the moment that I had to mention that, when I sang the words of the English translation ‘but I miss you most of all my darling, when autumn leaves start to fall,’ I was really reminiscing about the city of Toronto, my own personal spiritual home and the spiritual and global heart of The Little Sisters of Joy.But, as ever, ‘Blowing in the Wind’ and ‘Last night I had the strangest Dream’ along with the chorus of ‘Donna, Donna’  were the most powerful pieces in our joint efforts as advocates for tikkun haolam, the Rabbinical concept of fixing the world.


Timothy Bennett, a close Friend and Associate of The Little Sisters of Joy, took some wonderful photos for our archives, which truly captured the beauty of the chapel and the expressions of the audience as they sang and later enjoyed hospitality in The Benson Hall at Magdalene, where a sumptuous range of refreshments had been laid out by the excellent conference team, led by Georgia Stelling.

 I shall be relaxing after two cataract procedures in April. Reminds me of a comment on my attempt at  Grade 3 Music Theory, which I failed when I was a child: ’If only her eyes were as good as her ears!’  Let us hope that they may be soon!

Your Friend Gila with continuing shalom,

The Little Sisters of Joy, Flat 35, Storey’s House, Mount Pleasant, Cambridge, CB3 OBZ United Kingdom      Facebook Page The Little Sisters of Joy

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© Gillian Margolin