Pilgrimage to Rome Made Possible by Schoolchildren & Staff

June 1970

South Yorkshire Times, June 27, 1970

Sister’s Pilgrimage to Rome is Made Possible by Schoolchildren and Staff

Children and staff at a Denaby school have said a special “thank you” to their retiring headmistress by sending her on a once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage to Rome.

In just over two months, they have raised over 1150 to take Sister Mary de Sales, head of the St. Alban’s Junior School, on a journey to Rome for the canonisation of the 40 English martyrs in October.

And Sister de Sales may be joined on the pilgrimage by her own sister, Sister Aquinas, at present living at a convent in Doncaster.

Special Concert

Sister de Sales was presented with a cheque for £150 at a special concert at the Catholic Club, Denaby, on Tuesday, attended by children of Pope Pius School, Wath, former pupils and staff, and members of the Parish.

All had contributed towards Sister’s retirement fund.

The money was raised in secret through collections, donations and a women’s football match—and ended with the concert.

Sister de Sales, sister-in-charge at the Convent of the Sisters of Mercy in Denaby, and school headmistress for the past 18 years, was overcome with emotion when the children of the school presented their own concert for her in the afternoon.

Tree Planting

They gave a gift of a spiritual bouquet and a token with which to buy a tree for planting later in the year, and also a booklet containing work from every class in the school. The staff also presented her with an education text book, while canteen and cleaning staff donated an offering for Masses.

At the concert in the evening, during which Sister also received a bouquet from the National Savings Movement, school staff sang two specially written songs to say “goodbye.”

Mrs. V. R. Fitzwilliam, headmistress, paid tribute to Sister’s tremendous work in school and parish over the years, and to her kindness with the children, and her remarks were reiterated by Mr. Walsh, headmaster of Pope Pius Secondary School.


The cheque was presented on behalf of all who contributed by the Parish Priest, Father Bryson.

Sister de Sales officially retires on July 24th, over 30 years after coming to England from her native Ireland.

Her teaching career in England began at St. Peter’s, Balby, after which she moved to St. Joseph’s, Hunslet, as headmistress for six years. After a further eight years at the nuns’ headquarters at Clifford, Sister de Sales came to Denaby.

She said, “I should like very much to be able to stay in Denaby, and as far as I know I shall do so. I know the children and the people and still maintain a very high interest in their welfare.”