Waldensian Review No 126 Summer 2015 - Page 16

tackled gradients so steep that she felt she was falling off; and how on the way to Susa the hired car ‘sat down like an old hen’ and refused to move. After that first visit she returned year after year, and then began to extend her interest to Waldensian work in Sicily which she visited three times. She saw at first hand the little hard-pressed Waldensian communities such as Riesi where Salvatore Carcó was the pastor. At St Leonards, at a very early stage, she had begun scattering Waldensian farthing boxes (now penny boxes) among her friends. Her powers of persuasion must have been considerable for soon the PCC were increasing their contributions to the WCM. Every year for many years Madelene would arrive at our annual meetings in a large coach filled with her sea-side friends. Madelene refers in her quiet way to ‘my Waldensian coffee mornings’ as if they were just a matter of making coffee and smiling sweetly. Far from it. She set herself a goal, and reached it by methodical and cost-effective means. As soon as one year’s coffee morning was over, she began preparing for the following year’s by going round other churches’ sales of work, buying up jumble, knickknacks, white elephants – anything that could be stored and re-sold. In the weeks before the sale, tins and packets from food shopping would be laid aside. As soon as Seville oranges came on the market in January she would set to work making great quantities of marmalade. As the year progressed the stock of goods in her flat grew larger and larger. When space in cupboards became tight, the goods would be laid on a spare bed; when the bed was needed for a guest, they would then be moved to the floor, to a window-sill, to a dressing-table. ‘It’s no good thinking your home is your castle,’ she says. As the day of her sale approached, her friends would be urged to a spasm of cake-making, or persuaded to extract items from their cupboards and attics to stock the stalls. The sale opened at 10 a.m. in the vestibule of the church. With her team of motivated helpers, nearly all goods were gone from the stalls by 12. These sales have recently been earning £500 to £600; and in addition donations were handed to her and there was a contribution from the PCC. It is all methodically recorded year by year in an account book. When Madelene went to Italy she caught a vision. She has been guided to interpret the vision in an intensely practical way. More than that, she succeeded in passing on something of her own inspiration to her friends. As well as doing major share of the work, she has been a motivator, an energiser and an inspirer of others. After more than forty years and nearly an octogenarian, she is entitled to retire. God bless you richly, Madelene; and thank you for your many years of endeavour for your friends in Italy. You will be a hard example to follow! Prescot Stephens 14