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Sister Gillian RIP

Gillian Margaret Yeates, January 14th 1938 - 14th August 2012

Gillian was one of three children, having two younger sisters, Jen and Pam.  Her father was an accountancy assistant, and her mother a teacher.

Gillian's family lived on the outskirts of Stafford, in what was then a semi-rural environment, where life revolved around the Church.  Gillian's keen eye for natural beauty was nurtured there, and she began to paint and draw, and press wild flowers she had picked, much of this handiwork being turned into cards which others could enjoy.

It was through the Church that Gillian discovered Guiding, and as a Lieutenant, or earlier, her self-discipline, talent for organising, and interest in, and care for other people, began to grow.  These were keynote characteristics, which sould be called 'the enduring melody' of her life right to the end.

Gillian left home in 1956 to train as a teacher, and afterwards taught in a boys' Junior School, which she much enjoyed.  Her second job was at St. Hilda's Junior School at Woodlands, Sleights, where she saw the Religious Life in action, and soon asked to be admitted into the Order.  She taught at Woodlands, part-time, as a novice, and for many years after profession as a Sister in 1964, later becoming head teacher.  In 1980 she went to St. Benedict's House in Johannesburg for the first time, and until 1989 she was either there or back at Woodlands.

Gillian was sub-prioress from 1989 to 1995, a role in which she was very happy, and a time in which her loyalty, care for people, organisational skills, and long suffering bore much fruit, and when her great love for the Mother House became well rooted.

After this period, Gillian spent the majority of her time at the Priory in a variety of roles:  Novice Guardian, laundry supervisor, domestic bursar, in charge of the sewing room, assistant chauntress, assistant Chapter clerk and Guest Sister.  Experience taught her to juggle several roles at once, but not without anxiety sometimes.

At the heart of Gillian's life was her great love for her family; her enduring, loving obedience to the centrality of worship, and devoted life of prayer; and her costly loyalty to God.  Within that context she could ask hard questions of herself, and of authority, sometimes arriving at quite radical answers which belied what could appear to be a traditional outlook.

Our corporate life will be the poorer without Gillian, but in the communion of saints she will surely be a wise and loving support for us all.

Posted On: 19/09/2012

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