Sister Frances Dominica

Saturday 17 April 2021

Cardinal Vincent Nichols.jpg

After befriending a family whose small daughter, Helen, needed round the clock care after surgery for a brain tumour, Frances recognised the need, and in the grounds of her Oxford convent, founded the world’s first children’s hospice Helen House, which began the global children’s hospice movement, for which she was the figurehead for the next 30 years.

Then in 2013, an allegation of historic abuse meant being barred from the place she’d founded and loved, and even now, several years after the case was dropped, she still isn’t allowed in.

Frances talks to Hannah about that experience and how it’s led to her walking alongside others who’ve been falsely accused, as well as the story of her call to be a nun (which meant a painful falling out with her mother) the foundation of Helen House and how it’s possible to help families through the agonising experience of losing a child, what it feels like to be in a religious community for over 50 years, and how she now pours her considerable energies into working with the homeless community in Oxford.

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