In 1991 Sr. Maria was the Deanery Youth Chaplain for Southampton, in the Portsmouth Diocese. Before becoming a Religious Sister she had been a teacher in a Catholic primary School and in her spare time had qualified as a Youth Worker with Hampshire County Council and had been among one of the original four people to be commissioned as a Youth Worker for the Diocese of Portsmouth. Her dissertation for her degree in Education was on Juvenile Delinquency.
Sr. Maria had also been very involved in both running and giving Eucharistic and Confirmation Programmes.
Her experience led her to realise that there were great gaps in the teaching of the faith and that many young people were only to be seen in the Church during their Eucharistic and Confirmation Programmes, but once they were finished, very few continued to practice their faith.
Sr. Maria spent a lot of time thinking and praying about the gap and the decreasing number of young people in the Church. She felt that there was an answer, if only one was prepared to look honestly at the question, and allow God to guide that answer.
Then over 14 years ago, whilst in prayer, Sr. Maria had a picture of a seated old lady. This image stayed with her for several months and it seemed to her in the end that the old lady represented the Catholic Church.
The lady was old, but the understanding was that her heart was as young as it had been in her youth. The Catholic Church was nearly 2000 years old, but through the image of the old lady, it was clear that the heart of the Church was as young as it had been at Pentecost.