Posted by The Parish

Mauve Book Page 200

Ways of Seeing: 

I was recently impressed by an exhibition of drawings & watercolour paintings by John Ruskin (1819-1900) it forms part of a celebration marking the 200th anniversary of his birth. * 

Ruskin lived for many years in what was then suburban Camberwell. His father was a wealthy businessman, a partner in the Domecq sherry company, this meant that after finishing at Oxford Ruskin could devote himself to the pursuit of his own interests, which luckily for us were far from selfish. As well as being an influential art critic he wrote and lectured on subjects as varied as geology, architecture, myth, ornithology, literature, education, botany and political economy. What is less known is that Ruskin was also a talented artist. 

Ruskin’s reflections (he was a devout if sometimes troubled Christian) regarding the experience of God through beauty and the sacredness of nature were often contrasted by him with the harm this new industrialising world was causing. Clearly a man ahead of his time! For Ruskin, observing the wonders of nature was the singularly transformative way of experiencing God’s love. Ruskin relished experiences of God through nature, he explains how “My entire delight is in observing… The living inhabitation of the world – the grazing and nesting in it – the spiritual power of the air, the rocks, the waters, to be in the midst of it, and rejoice and, wonder in it….” (1) For him sight was a great deal more than the passive or mechanical reception of visual stimuli, it was an understanding at once artistic, intellectual and spiritual of an underlaying order. 

And what an eye Ruskin had! In this watercolour he drew and painted the individual sprigs of moss on the side of a wet riverside rock. We can feel the cold wetness of the rocks and soft dampness of the moss. He hoped that sculptors would find inspiration in the contours of leaves, stems and tendrils so that their work would reflect the beauty of nature. He cited many examples of medieval sculptors who looked to nature to inspire their carving. Ruskin searched for the pattern in everything he saw – which St. Thomas Aquinas (1225 –1274) called the form and which he understood as participating ultimately in the divine order. The medievals had two books – the book of scripture and the book of nature and understood both as revealing God in their own ways. 

In Ruskin’s time the natural world began to be seen merely as the product of impersonal processes. More recent thinkers have begun to revisit medieval thought and wonder what “….that creative pattern which is the source of the cosmos, and which is reflected in the beauty and order of nature, human culture and society” (2) might mean for us today. 

John Ruskin surely would have approved! 

‘Study of moss, fern & wood sorrel
upon a rocky river bank’
Watercolour & pencil on paper, 1875-79
Image via 

* John Ruskin: The power of Seeing
2 Temple Place, London WC2
until 22nd April – free entry. 

(1) John Ruskin Venetian notebook 35, 1849-50
(2) Douglas Hedley, ‘Coleridge, Philosophy theology’ 2000 


This Weekend 

Please welcome Fr Bartholomew Zubeviel at all Masses at OLSS. He will be making an appeal on behalf of the “Spiritans” (Holy Ghost Fathers). Founded in Paris in 1703, Spiritans are renowned for their work towards the abolition of slavery and their support to former slaves in the 1800’s. They opened schools and hospitals, taught people marketable skills. They are found in all arts of the world but especially in East Africa & Mexico. 

Mass in Celebration of the Sacrament of Marriage July 13th at St George’s Cathedral 

To receive an invitation from the Archbishop, if you are celebrating a 1st/10th/25th/40th/50th/60th wedding anniversary, contact Fr Kevin with your names, the anniversary you are celebrating, home address, email and telephone 


Rose D, Jeremiah G, Irene M, Anne P, Eamon W, Rev D F Coffey, Matilda J, Fr Vincent Power, Paul O, Gladys J, Robert M, Kathleen F, Sr Eugene Ryan OSU

May they Rest in Peace 

Thank You for Your Offering 28th April 

OLSS: £601 St George £128
St Joseph: £155 SpOff £495 

(These figures do not include monies now received by Direct Debit) 

Fr Kevin Away 

I will be away on a post Easter break from Saturday 11th May – Saturday 18th inclusive. 

Endow – Young Women & Mothers Group 

This group continues to meet NB on Tuesdays at 11am in the OLSS basement rooms. We are following a course called “Light of the Nations” which focuses on the challenges of living and passing on the Catholic faith in the current time. Info: [email protected] 

Enquiries for Baptism OLSS & St Joseph 

If you are seeking the Baptism of a child at either church please attend the meeting this week at 7.00pm Wednesday May 8th in the parish room at OLSS. 

St Ursula’s School Vacancies September Teacher of Science – Sharing responsibility for providing the highest quality of Science education for all our students. There is potential for the post to include a TLR. 

Teacher of RE – Sharing responsibility for providing the highest quality RE education for all students. Info 


Some dates for your diary:
• ‘Music for Midsummer’ Friday June 21st
• Sunday, 14th July, from 12 Noon – Parish Auction in the garden –
• Sunday 8th September, 12.30pm -3.30pm, Parish Picnic in Greenwich Park
• Friday 11th October, 7.15pm – 10.30pm – 

Parish Quiz Night 

• Parish Auction – afternoon of Sunday 14th July Our summer event this year will be a Parish Auction in the garden! This will be a fun event for all and hopefully will also help us raise funds for much needed church repairs. To make this successful we need to secure suitable items to auction – ie. things that would attract people to bid for them! (We need to avoid bulky items, junk or jumble!). Perhaps an unwanted piece of jewellery? A nice framed picture? A celebrity signed photo or book? Tickets to an event that you’re unable to attend? An unwanted but attractive gift that you’re unlikely to use? Do you have anything that you would be willing to donate for our Parish Auction? Or do you have any suggestions on how to make this a success? If so, please let us know via email to: 

[email protected] or see contact details in the newsletter in the church

MASS CALENDAR FOR 4th – 12th MAY 2019 

Saturday 4th Mass OLSS 6.00pm Int: Mollie B (BD) 

Sunday 5th Mass OLSS 9.00 Int: Parish & People 

Third Sunday Mass St J’s 10.00 Int: Roseline N (THG) 

Of Easter Mass OLSS 11.00 Int: Paddy & Frances C (RiP) 

Monday 6th No Mass on Monday 

Tuesday 7th Mass OLSS 9.30 Int: Dennis C (WB QEH) 

Mass St J’s 7.00 Int: In Thanksgiving 

Wednesday 8th Mass OLSS 9.30 Int: Adhiraj, Luis, Caesareo (W/B) 

Thursday 9th Mass OLSS 9.30 Int: 

Mums and Tots Group etc
Welcome again at the Ursuline Convent this Thursday
NB New Time meeting from 10.15 at the Convent 66 Crooms Hill. 

Mass St J’s 11.00 Int: Margaret L (RiP) 

Friday 10th Mass OLSS 9.30 Int: Centenary of The Knights of St Columba 

Friday Nuptial Mass Wedding of Kathryn & James OLSS 1.30 

Saturday 11th Mass OLSS 6.00pm Int: Nigel B (RiP) 

Sunday 12th Mass OLSS 9.00 Int: Mary O (RiP) 

Fourth Sunday Mass St J’s 10.00 Int: Maria (RiP) 

Of Easter Mass OLSS 11.00 Int: Sarah S (RiP) This is a Children’s Mass 

Sunday (12th) Coffee & Cakes OLSS after 11.00am 

Greenwich Historical Society 

“The Slate on your Roof!” Fr Kevin will give a local history talk on Thursday May 22nd on the Victorian Hatcham Iron Works of Pomeroy Street New Cross and the Ffestiniog Railway from 7.30 at James Wolfe School, Royal Hill SE10 8RZ 

Post expires at 8:01pm on Saturday June 8th, 2019