Credence Table, Aumbry and Piscina

To the right of the High Altar is a stone shelf set into the wall, designed to be a credence table, where the vessels and elements are placed before communion, piscina, where the vessels can be washed, and aumbry, a cupboard where consecrated bread and wine can be reserved.

This is also a monument. It was was added in 1888 as a memorial to Sister Margaret Mary, of the Sisterhood of St Mary and St. Modwenna in King Street, Dundee, bearing the inscription, ‘Sister Margaret Mary in peace, May 26, 1887’. Sr Margaret Mary was a member of the Sisters of the Poor. Her secular name was Margaret Neish, daughter of a jute merchant, Thomas Neish, both from the wealthy local family associated with St Paul’s. The shelf of the memorial is of red Irish marble, and the rest is Derbyshire alabaster. In the canopy above, you can see the letters ‘S P’ for Sisters of the Poor, and the carved marguerite flowers, in allusion to Sr. Margaret Mary. The memorial cost £86, including many small donations from people who had benefited from the work of the Sisters.

This is also a testament to Bishop Forbes’ promotion of the religious life for both men and women, which originated in his involvement with Oxford Movement from the 1840s. Men like Forbes and his friend Edward Pusey sought to combine a revival of Catholic Christianity with a practical commitment to serving the spiritual and social needs of the urban poor. When Forbes was bequeathed a house at 10 King Street, he was able to put his beliefs into action and the Sisterhood was founded in 1871. It was affiliated to the Sisters of the Poor at All Saints Church, Margaret Street in London, and focused on pastoral work in Dundee, and a daily cycle of prayer, following the rule of the community.