News from around the Archdiocese of Liverpool
by Sister Benedicte
It was with sadness but with joy that we celebrated the life and death of Sister Agnes Vernon on 17 December 2019 at St Sebastian’s Parish in Liverpool.
At her funeral, Father Mark Beattie paid a great tribute to her calm, peaceful and generous nature, which her family, friends from the parish, the families she worked with and of course her two other Sisters in Community at Holly road, had first-hand knowledge.
Sr Agnes was born in 1929 and grew up in a large close-knit family in Littleborough in Lancashire. She spent time studying mental health in London before entering the Convent in Belgium with the Sisters of the Little Ones (Soeur des Petites). Then after Noviciate, she arrived back in England to work at Nugent’s Clumber Lodge Children`s Home, where so many of the Sisters of the Little Ones worked with the children.
She enjoyed a great rapport and working relationship with Monsignor Bennet, who lived in Formby (he was the then Administrator of the Liverpool Catholic Children’s Protection Society, which would now be known as the CEO of Nugent) both firmly believing in Divine Providence.
The young children at Clumber loved her quiet caring manner, knowing that they could get away with things easily. Her knowledge and organisational skills quickly led her to become the Manager of the Home, bringing lots of new ideas. Her success was noted, and she was asked by Nugent to open the house in Holly Road for young people with additional learning needs as there was little provision in Liverpool at that time, 1970’s, to help these families.
The Project initially started with respite care for the families, who were assessed on the family`s individual need by the Archdiocesan social worker working in Liverpool and then referred to the Project. Sr Agnes worked closely with the families and it soon became apparent that families needed extra support. Hence, she organised the Saturday Club to run alongside the respite care, where parents could drop them off to be entertained whilst they did their shopping or other chores. Sr Agnes support to these families was something very special, she will be forever remembered by them.
Holly Road, with Sr Agnes’ leadership, moved upwards and onwards becoming a successful Residential Home for people with severe complex needs. She worked tirelessly until around 68 years of age, managing these wonderful services for Nugent.
She retired from paid employment, but she never fully retired as she continued to work hard, fund raising for Nugent and the parish by making candles, cards and cakes; which were in much demand. Many people’s lives have been enriched for knowing Sr Agnes and her presence will be greatly missed.