A Community of Welcome and Sharing


A surprising experience evolved for the rscj Community in Dalkeith

 St David's Catholic Church, Dalkeith Edinburgh

Dalkeith parish is a lively Christian Community
in Edinburgh, Scotland.

One day, at the end of Mass, a parishioner Isa Duff mentioned
she was setting up a knitting group in her house.
Sr. Betty Walker rscj responded “I would like to join that.”

A sample of their creativity


Unbeknownst to all, this planted the seed
of what was to evolve into
an enjoyable, exciting and unexpected experience of community
not only for Betty, but for all involved.



Betty began by  joining Isa,
and some others gathered in her house, one evening a week.



As the weeks went on Betty found the arrangement
was not quite suiting her.
So with Sr. Kathleen Cronin’s support,
she explored with the community
if it might be possible to invite the ‘knitting group’ to
the rscj community in Rosehill instead.

Betty was so happy when her sisters were willing
to rise to this challenge,
as both Betty and Kathleen felt that the knitting group
could offer the community new and different life.


Frances Arrowsmith rscj, Anna Mackie rscj, Teresa Bystram rscj, Mollie Hand rscj, Betty Walker rscj and Kathleen
Cronin rscj with Isa Duff and her companions
in an array of colour, in Rosehill.











 Frances Arrowsmith rscj and Betty rscj with blanket

The colour that came alive in their midst,
along with the warm, welcome cup of tea, homemade scones etc.
generated more activity, creativity and friendship.



At times the work was engrossing, as they worked on creating 'Teddy's for Africa',
- a project that Betty has been involved with for many years.


Betty with two 'Teddy's for Africa'

 Teddy's for Africa, is a project
set up to make teddy's for children in Malawi,

one of the poorest countries in Africa.
Betty discovered it when she was on retreat
in the Notre Dame Retreat and Conference Centre
outside Glasgow, on the Clyde.
She noticed a sign in a wool shop requesting helpers
to knit Teddy's for children in Hospital in Malawi.



When she enquired in the shop, Mrs Brodie,
who coordinates  the project
told her about it.
The helpers knit the Teddies and blankets and Mrs. Brodie collects them
and ships them out to the hospital in Malawi.
Betty already participated in the project but, now many more have joined her in Rosehill.

Betty rscj with babies cloths and Mollie Hand rscj knitting a Teddy


 Maybe though,  the most surprising aspect of the experience, has been
the wonderful sense of community and companianship
that has evolved for all participants.
Those rscj who no longer feel able to 'knit', still participate in the exchange
and enjoyment with the cup of tea and one of the parishioners says
"It's the best cup of tea in the week",
as it offers her a welcome respite in her task of caring for her husband,
who suffers with Alzheimers.


Discussing the issues of the day
Engrossed in work









Betty also has been involved in knitting 40 pairs of mittens for chilly days,
which are used as' school equipment' for the children in Craigmillar,
by Nan Rennie, Deaconess in the Church of Scotland,
when the children go outside.
Betty really appreciates this outreach and this link with the Church of Scotland.

Once when challenged by someone suggesting that they make plain clothes
rather than going to the bother of making beautiful, but difficult designs and patterns,
Betty replied "The poor deserve nice things too".

Katleen Cronin's creation, guided by Betty


As Betty has been a keen and avid knitter
for many years,
she not only teaches other to create,
but has also sold many of her creations
and contributed to different causes.
She is very pleased that she has been able
to contribute over £1000 to the
Children's Hospice
and this year has also been able to
make a substantial contribution to
Sciaf for Pakistan.

In this way a valuable hobby shared,
is creating a vibrant, living community
which is creating and sending its own
ripples of love and care around the world.