100 Years of Faith

St Augustine’s Priory has been the leading girls’ school in Ealing for a hundred years, but the history of the school and the order of nuns which founded it stretches back much further than that, to 1634. On 21st September 1915 a community of Augustinian Canonesses Regular of the Lateran took possession of this school on Hillcrest Road.

One hundred years later we celebrated the centenary of St Augustine’s Priory on this site, marked by the visit of H.E. Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, who celebrated Mass for girls, parents, past pupils and guests.

As part of our celebrations, we launched the ‘A Stitch in Time’ project. We are upholstering the wooden kneelers in the Chapel and involving all members of our community, pupils, parents and staff, in the design and embroidery of the kneelers, in partnership with the Royal School of Needlework. The inspiration for the project comes from the designs and symbols distributed around the school in the plasterwork and stained glass.

A programme of speakers to mark the Centenary included Sr Mary Jo Martin, the Chief Inspector of Schools for the Diocese of Westminster, who spoke on ‘The Distinctive Qualities of a Catholic School’.  Fr Patrick Shanahan, M.Afr., co-founder of the charity StreetInvest which works with street children in Africa, spoke to both Junior and Senior girls about  ‘Working with Street Children – an African perspective’.

In addition, the Parents’ Committee supported the renewal of the Prayer Garden with a mosaic, designed by the girls.  This has enhanced the garden as a place of prayer and reflection.  As a school in London we are extremely fortunate to have a garden dedicated to reflection, prayer and natural beauty.  The artist and past pupil of St Augustine’s Priory, Sophie D’Souza, helped with the design and worked with the girls to create a commemorative piece of work for the Prayer Garden.  Mrs D’Souza specialises in stained glass and mosaic art and her work includes stained glass windows at the churches of Ss Peter and Paul in Northfields, St John Fisher in Perivale, the Sacred Heart in Ruislip, St Joseph’s Church in Hanwell and St Vincent’s School in Acton.