London sisters take pot shots to raise funds

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Monday 09, November 2009 | Category:   Consecrated Life

Traditionally many religious communities devote time almost every day to what is known as "recreation," and Tyburn Convent, a cloistered monastery of Benedictine women in the heart of London, is no different. What is a bit unique is one of the sisters' recreational activities: snooker-which they also hope to leverage into some much-needed fundraising.

After a television documentary about their lives—and snooker-playing—brought international attention, the sisters decided to ask local businessmen to drop by the convent and ''put a shot in the pot''—that is, make a contribution each time they pocket a ball on the community's undersized snooker table. The donation goes to a restoration fund for their building. Constructed in the Victorian era, it was damaged by a bomb in World War II and the repairs have started to deteriorate.

''Snooker is a popular game and I think that it will appeal to a lot of people,'' Sister Simeon told the New York Times. ''I thought fundraising was a dreary business. I never knew it could be like this. This is a lot better than addressing envelopes. . . . Recreation is an important part of our day and I'm not keen on sitting down and knitting; not yet, anyway."

''Our skipping has aroused interest, too,'' added Mother Mary Xavier in reference to another of the sisters' recreations: jump-roping. ''We like to skip but it's the snooker that has taken off. If our skipping gets more popular, then we will have sponsored skipping. But right now, we must concentrate on snooker.''

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