It has been lovely to read the stories of faith that have been published on the diocesan website. They have been profound, ‘ordinary’ in the most incarnational of ways, and articulate.

Stories remain hidden unless they are articulated and communicated in some way and the Christian tradition is full of ‘biographies’ of inspirational people whose views of faith we only know through the words and devotion of others.

There are holy people today whose stories of faith remains deeply hidden as they pass us by in our villages, our towns.

Here is one with whom I had the blessing to bump into some 14 years ago.

There are numerable stories I could tell of “Sophie”. All stories of faith, but this story is the one where she was empowered and her voice was heard.

One day I was asked to preside at the Sunday Eucharist at a magical little community at Laurence’s Church, Bodmin. They used to be the Anglican Church of the old St Lawrence’s Asylum but now remain an independent Anglican Church.

Once a month, I took the service and the opportunity of talking to the patients of the hospital after the service. This Sunday only “Sophie” had wanted to go to church. She was around 60 years of age and had lived in the hospital and the new mental health unit for about 20 years.

She was so excited when I arrived. She had something to tell me. As always when she went to church, she was wearing all white. The most amazing thing about her appearance was that she was wearing a child’s silver crown with a large plastic red ruby in the middle. She asked me: “What do you think?” to which I replied “Beautiful”. She then asked: “May I wear it to church and tell everybody why?” I said: “Yes, but can you tell me first?”

“Sophie” said: “I have searched for my gentle man all my life but all I have received are these broken bones.”

(All her fingers had been broken, she’d lost her son, she’d been ‘imprisoned’ in hospitals, abused under the guise of love.)

She went on: “I don’t know where God has been, except that Jesus has a crown and it should have silver and red. This is the best I could find. Jesus had to have the crown stuffed in his head. I can place my own, me a princess. God told me I was and to tell everyone.”

Once in church “Sophie” got the chance to tell everybody her story.

I have held that story in my heart and have been honored to be given permission to share it.


  • Name changed