Dame Celia Thorp
Dorothy Thorp's mother died when she was young, and she looked after the family. After reading geography at Girton, she taught in girls' high schools in Bradford and Gloucester.
A convert, she tried her vocation at Talacre, then at St. Scholastica's, Atherstone where she was clothed in 1950, aged 42. At the end of her noviciate, Sister M. Cecilia asked to be accepted as a Choir Oblate and to live the full life, with the intention of taking vows later if she became stronger. She was able to do so in 1961 and was finally professed in 1965. In 1967, at Colwich, she made Solemn Vows with others of the Atherstone community.
Dame Cecilia served as Sacristan, Mistress of Ceremonies and Archivist. She wrote about the history and spirit of the community. In 1994 Mother Abbess Gertrude Baker, her former noviciate companion, appointed her Sub-prioress.
In July 2000, although ill, she celebrated the Golden Jubilee of her Clothing, renewing her vows at Mass in a strong, clear voice, and enjoying Recreation with the community and Sisters from Tanzania. Two days before her 92nd birthday, she had an operation for cancer, her first stay in hospital. She spent the last months of her life in the Monastic Infirmary, suffering from confusion, but well able to receive the Sacraments until she succumbed to bronchial pneumonia.
It was fidelity to prayer that carried her through the difficulties of her life. She was full of gratitude and compassion.
Dame Cecilia on the right. Mother Clare Bradshaw on the left, with Peterkin. He was adopted from the RSPCA in 1984, and he died a week before Dame Cecilia, about 17 or 18 years old.