Dame Felicitas Beechman


Ann Beechman was born in Edinburgh on 20th February 1920, and spent her youth in the Scottish Highlands. She entered the Benedictine Abbey of Holme Eden, Carlisle, taking the name Felicitas, and was perpetually professed in 1944. She served the community mainly as cook. When Holme Eden closed in 1983, she was one of the group that joined St. Mary's Abbey, Colwich. She continued working as cook, and every day she took for a walk Mother Scholastica Daly, who, at Holme Eden, had been her Novice Mistress and Prioress.

Mother Abbess Edith Street of Colwich chose Dame Felicitas as a Councillor, and she was also appointed a chantress, for she had a beautiful voice. She later became infirmarian, and cared most devotedly for Sister Agnes Heslop, who was blind and deaf. Dame Felicitas celebrated her Golden Jubilee with several of her friends and family in 1992.



Dame Felicitas at her Golden Jubilee with her sister Jessie



She gradually began to suffer health problems, and for her last eighteen months she was bedridden. Those who visited the monastic infirmary commented on the happy atmosphere there. She received Holy Communion almost daily, and the Sacrament of the Sick regularly. On 14th January 2002, the community gathered in her room for the happy celebration of her Diamond Jubilee of clothing as a nun. She died of bronchial pneumonia on 23rd February, three days after her 82nd birthday.

She was a cheerful and prayerful Sister, especially devoted to Lourdes, where she had once been on pilgrimage. Her life was characterised by acceptance of all its changing and sometimes painful circumstances, which she saw as God's will and a way of helping to save souls.