Parish memories

Brenda Clement was born in 1933 and has lived in Fairfax Road around the corner from the church all her life. Pat Ellis was born in 1930 and has also lived in Teddington all her life. She was baptised, took her first Holy Communion, was confirmed and married at Sacred Heart. Brenda and Pat have been reminiscing about life in the parish for the website. Both were involved in the church choir as teenagers and Brenda has been the regular church organist since the age of 16.

Pat: As a child I remember the church being full. There were three masses on Sunday – at 0830, 0930 and 1100 and at Christmas and Easter you couldn’t get through the door. I do remember thinking the sermons were too long. Both my parents were from the south of Ireland so they were very strict Catholics. We had Benediction every Sunday and we were sent of to church every Saturday to clean the candlesticks. I remember scrubbing the floor on my knees.

Pat and Brenda GroupbwBrenda: I played the piano and at some point just stepped in to playing the organ. Originally the organ was not electrified and someone else had to pump it by hand. My most memorable day in the church was my wedding in 1958. We were still recovering from the war so there was a lot of making do. I did the flowers myself.

Pat: We had a very lively Sunday youth club. There were dancing lessons, table tennis and lots of interaction with other parishes. We used to go on coach trips to Littlehampton. Church was your social life and a lot of people got married after meeting at the youth club. 

Brenda: I think my faith has got stronger as I have got older. We adopted two boys and then my husband Roy died very suddenly in 1969 at the age of 41. It was my faith that got me through. The church provided something to hold onto.

Pat: I think people’s attitude to faith has changed. When I was young we never questioned Catholicism but my children did. They would say “Yes but so and so doesn’t go to church every Sunday”. I was brought up to think that not going to mass on Sunday was a mortal sin. Now people seem a lot more relaxed but they are just as devout. Young people have a more personal approach to the Lord – they don’t feel guilt like we did. My parents were strict but when they died they left behind the most precious gift, which is our faith.