"In transforming culture so that it supports life, women occupy a place in thought and action which is unique and decisive."
Pope John Paul II Evangelium Vitae
The Rose Round was founded in 1995, on the feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin. It is an initiative for girls, from first Holy Communion through into their teens. The name of the group is taken from a delightful novel by Meriol Trevor. But the name also has connotations both of Our Lady and of St. Therese, and is meant to express the inclusive nature of the group. We do not have meetings at set intervals, but we organise events according to the interests and needs of the group at the time. There is at least one event each school term. Activities of the Oxford group have included:
baking cookies and singing Christmas carols for people in a retirement home.
holding a sale in the parish to support the work of the Little Way Association.
running a catechetical obstacle race in the university parks on Palm Sunday, also in aid of charity, with a picnic for the families afterwards.
regular 'penance and pancakes' event just before Lent.
retreat days at Littlemore and the Carmelite Priory on Boar's Hill.
celebrating the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and St. Nicholas.
putting on drama and music performances to commemorate St. Therese, as well as a comic entertainment to mark the end of the 2001 meeting on the role of the laity in Oxford, with Cardinal Stafford present.
producing an original musical and performing it in London and Oxford, in aid of OXPAT and the local Life House.
visits to art galleries and numerous related activities, including clay, icon painting, tiara making, as well as baking bread for harvest-time, buying beads in Covent Garden to make our own rosaries and guided visit of the Rosary chapels in the Dominican Church in London.
singing at the Advent Oratory (with professional coaching from a visiting choir director).
making a week-long pilgrimage to Normandy, visiting shrines and places associated with Our Lady and St. Therese, culminating in Chartres Cathedral.
The Rose Round attracts girls aged between eight and fifteen, with the older girls assisting the younger ones, (having their own talks and discussion forum during full retreat days). We do not keep a register, but operate in a rather informal fashion, letting families who have been interested know each time we do something. Different parents and catechists help out at different times. Some girls come to most of the events, some to only a few, depending on the other calls on their time. The idea is to create an open-ended sense of community, with activities that are both attractive and fun, as well as being educational, particularly in the areas where faith and culture are intertwined.
One of the guiding ideas behind the Rose Round is the call of Pope John Paul II for women to make their unique contribution to the Church in our time more fully. In order to make this possible, we believe it is necessary to foster friendship and a spirit of cooperation among girls, so that the building blocks of their life of faith amidst contemporary culture are firmly in place before they face the challenges of adult life.
The idea of the Rose Round has inspired similar groups in Durham and Bury-St-Edmunds in the UK, and in California and North Dakota in the USA, where the Bethlehem community (publishers of the novel The Rose Round, and other wonderful books for children and young people) have formed a group in their parish.
If you would like to know more, e-mail us at:
Léonie Caldecott (01865 552 154)
Anna Carver (01913 865801)
Katy Whisenant (01284 724727)
Rose Round Pilgrimages
2003 Pilgrimage ('Streams of Grace')