I wish to dedicate this post to a loyal and devoted friend of St David Lewis, Sr M Celsus Taylor who has been called home to God. The following announcement is taken from the South Wales Argus:
"SISTER M CELSUS TAYLOR
Sisters of St Joseph Sister M. Celsus Taylor Peacefully on 23rd March 2019 at St Joseph's Convent, Llantarnam Abbey, aged 96 years. Funeral Mass on Thursday, 4th April in Llantarnam Abbey Chapel at 10am followed by interment at the Abbey Cemetery. Family flowers only. Online messages of condolence may be left at www.ptsfunerals.co.uk. Further enquiries to Phillip Tom and Sons, Pontymister. Tel: 615005"
Mary Taylor was born in County Kerry, Ireland, on 13th August 1922. As a young girl she travelled to Wales to join the Sisters of St Joseph at Llantarnam Abbey. She was given the name of Sister Mary Celsus. Sr Celsus trained as a teacher and taught in various places throughout the UK, including Our Lady of the Angels School in Cwmbran.
After retirement, Sr Celsus again found herself back at Llantarnam Abbey. During this time Sr Mary of Lourdes was Parish Sister at Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Old Cwmbran. Sr Mary was an excellent and well respected Parish Sister but she was getting on in years and Sr Celsus became her assistant. Eventually, Sr Celsus took over from Sr Mary and she was welcomed as the Parish Sister. What a Parish Sister she was!
Sr Celsus immersed herself into Parish life and, working closely with then Parish Priest, Canon F O'Donnell, she worked tirelessly for the people. Nothing was too much trouble for her and her kindness and compassion quickly endeared her to all at Our Lady's.
Sr Celsus had a strong devotion to local Martyr, St David Lewis. Fr David Lewis had often stayed at Llantarnam Abbey with his relatives, the Morgans. He had been staying there when the poison of the fabricated Oats Plot swept the country. In the hope of saving his relatives trouble, Fr Lewis moved into a rented cottage next to the Blacksmith's Shop on the other side of the Road to the Abbey (opposite the Church of St Michael and All Angels). It was here that Fr Lewis was arrested on Sunday, 17th November 1678. After almost a year of imprisonment, on 29th August 1679, the good priest was executed at Usk for being a Catholic priest and saying Mass.
The Plaque which was placed through the initiative of Sr Celsus
Fr David Lewis was canonised in 1970 as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. Sr Celsus felt that he should have more recognition in the area and so she decided to do something about it.
The group, 'Friends of Saint David Lewis', was begun by Sr Celsus. The group held its first meeting on Wednesday, 13th February 2008. Sr Celsus did much to spread devotion to St David Lewis and to make him better known and appreciated. Through her initiative, the Cwmbran Historical Society placed a commemorative plaque at the site of the Saint's arrest. Sr Celsus was also responsible for organising days dedicated to St David Lewis. These events were held at Llantarnam Abbey with Mass by a visiting priest and guest speakers with knowledge of the Saint's life and times.
Sr Celsus and Fr John Meredith at the Blessing of the Plaque
Sr Celsus Taylor was a beautiful and faithful lady who did so much good for others and she will be sorely missed. I like to think that St David Lewis was one of those waiting to welcome her home on 23rd March. May her generous soul rest in the peace of Christ.