Helen Lewis - John's Memories

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Helen Lews- John Transcription

Present: Helen Lewis-John (HLJ), Simon Hancock (SH) and Kiara Quimby (KQ), Recorded on 16/02/2023 at her home in Milford Haven.


00:00:02 SH: What is your full name?

00:00:03 HLJ: Helen Lewis-John.

00:00:06 SH: Do we have permission to record this interview?

00:00:08 HLJ: yes

00:00:11 SH: Where and when were you born?

00:00:16 HLJ: In 1932.

00:00:19 SH: How did you meet Father Paul Sartori?

00:00:22 HLJ: UM.

00:00:26-00:02:47 HLJ:

A library received a letter in 1979 from a friend of my Aunt Nell's and it was very I took it to work because I didn't have time to open it and when I read the letter, I was very I was shocked and upset as Francis was, because she assumed that I had known about my Auntie Nell dying and.

And being buried, and the fact that Auntie Nell was a very staunch Catholic and the fact that she had been just been buried without the Eucharist, the, the Requiem mass that upset us very much, both of us. So, The person I spoke with in at work was, was a Catholic and attended the church in in Haverfordwest, so she took me down in the in our break to see Father Sartori. So, I showed him the letter.

And I did explain to him that I was now a lapsed Catholic, and there was no sense he wasn't judgmental at all. He didn't. You know, he didn't criticise or anything, but he was very, very sympathetic, very, very kind. And he said “I'll do my best to find out what happened and I'll speak with you in a few days time”, which he did. He actually rang his brother in Swansea, who was also a priest and he got the information from him.

 And then when he rang me again, he said that because I was elapsed, I was no longer a Catholic, he wasn't allowed to give me a service in, in the church. But he arranged for me to go to the little convent in Haverfordwest and the Mother Superior there conducted the service and it was lovely. It's it, you know, and it it. What it did to it, it made me, gave me the courage to say goodbye to my aunty Nell. Who I love dearly, yeah.

00:02:52 SH: So, was that was your earliest memory of Father Paul Sartori? Did you ever meet him afterwards?

00:03:00 HLJ: No, unfortunately.

00:03:01 SH: How would you describe him as a person? I know if you only met him once, but what did he what did he come across as?

00:03:07 HLJ: He came across as a as a very kind, outgoing person, and I would think. I don't know that he would have had a lovely sense of humour.

00:03:23 SH: Can you think of do you have any other stories of Father Sartori? Did you have any other connexion with him? Was it just that one incident?

00:03:31- 00:03:51 HLJ: That was just that. Was that one incident but when he, the Hospice was founded, I made, I make a donation. I've got a direct debit and I make a monthly donation to the foundation. I feel that's, that's all I can do to say thank you to him.

00:03:55 SH: That's marvellous.