Yvonne Lisa Marina Rampton was born in Newport on 10th March, 1938. Her parents were not Catholics, but nevertheless, they wanted their only child to have a convent education. So they sent her to the convent school next to St. Mary’s Church in Ryde High Street. At the time this was run by the Sisters of the Cross. When they moved to Springhill at East Cowes, it was the Presentation Sisters, who moved in and took over the school. Yvonne formed a deep affiliation for the Sisters, especially the Headmistress, Sr. Baptist; also Sr. Raymond and Sr. Rosario, with whom she was to have a sixty year friendship.
It was through the Presentation Sisters that Yvonne developed a love of the Catholic Church and as a teenager, she told her parents that she wished to convert. They persuaded her to wait until she was twenty one. She agreed and in 1959 she was received into the Church by Fr. (now Canon) McDermot-Roe at St. Mary’s, (Pictured here with him on his diamond jubilee in 2011). She found real joy in her new Faith and embraced Catholicism with great enthusiasm.
Whilst in Ryde Hospital for an operation, soon after her schooling, she met Sr. Marie-Columba McGrath from St. Cecilia’s Abbey and they struck up an immediate friendship. She persuaded Yvonne to visit the Abbey. She was immediately impressed with their Benedictine way of life. After a meeting with Mother Bernadette, she entered the abbey as a postulant. However, within a few weeks, after much prayer and advice, it was decided that Yvonne’s first priority, as an only child, was to care for her elderly parents. So, she left the abbey, but remained on very good terms with them for the rest of her life.
It was in the early 1960s that Yvonne fell in love with a handsome young “man about town” driving an elegant sports car. They were just about to be engaged when he told her that he would be divorcing his wife to enable this to happen. Yvonne was distraught, but her obedience to the moral teaching of the Church and her strength of character, meant that the young man was dropped “like a dead stone“.
Yvonne worked most of her life as a mechanical draughtswoman for British Hovercraft. Whilst there, she noticed that there was a considerable amount of waste paper and card which was discarded each week. She hated wastage. So, she gathered these up and every Saturday, took them in her car to St. Cecilia’s Abbey, where, she knew, the nuns would make use of them.
In addition to St. Cecilia’s, Yvonne loved Quarr Abbey and would often walk from her house in Wootton, through the woods for early morning Matins and Mass. She once said that she knew and could remember all the monks from the early 1960s. She formed very good friendships with many of the monks.
She loved the silence and simplicity of Quarr and she had a rare and unique ability to be able to pray silently for hours without undue distraction. This was ideally exemplified in the Lenten 40 Hours Exposition (restored in recent years) in St. Mary’s and the 3 day Pre Lent Exposition at St. Cecilia’s. In both churches Yvonne would be on her knees praying before the Blessed Sacrament exposed on the altar for most of the Exposition time.
Sr. Bede at St. Cecilia’s Abbey reminds us of an abbey joke that “when the clink of the tabernacle key was heard, Yvonne would be there on her knees“!
Yvonne loved the traditional Catholic devotions, particularly the Stations of the Cross, Divine Mercy, Exposition and the May and October Devotions. She said that she must have done the Nine First Fridays about thirty times. She had a great devotion to the Sacred Heart, to Our Blessed Lady and, as mentioned, to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.
Yvonne had no living relatives. Her family was the Church and everything that it stood for. She found in the Church a living, apostolic Faith, which provided the grace necessary for eternal salvation.
There were no Summer holidays relaxing on the beach for Yvonne. Every journey was a pilgrimage rather than a holiday. She had been to Lisieux, Fatima, Lourdes, Rome, Walsingham, Aylesford, West Grinstead and many other places. At one time Yvonne suffered from leukaemia (cancer of the blood). She believed that she was cured of this through Our Lady’s intercession on a pilgrimage to Lourdes.
She would often relate vivid memories of her pilgrimages, the people that she had met and the friends that she had made. She once said:- “A pilgrimage reminds us of the greater pilgrimage here on earth; that which will take me, please God, to my eternal home“.
Two particular events from Yvonne’s pilgrimages spring to mind. Peter Clarke remembers being with her on the 2006 LMS Pilgrimage to Rome. Pilgrims were queueing in St. Peter’s Basilica to kiss the foot of the statue of St. Peter. Such was the length of the queue that the stewards were trying to move people along rapidly, giving everyone 5 seconds only at the statue. Yvonne had almost to be manhandled on by the stewards. “Please“, she cried, “I do really want to spend just a little more time here. I have looked forward to this for the past year and St. Peter is my favourite saint“, as she refused to let go of St. Peter’s foot. This remark, plus a bit of flattery with the stewards, gained her extra time at St. Peter’s statue.
On another occasion, this time the Parish pilgrimage to Walsingham in 2007, the group visited Oxburgh Hall en route, where there is a tiny priest’s hole. People queued once again to enter (singly) the priest’s hole through a small hole and down some narrow steps. Yvonne got in but could not get out and a rescue mission had to be established so that she could be hoisted up through the hole. “That was great” she said. “I would not have missed that for the world“.
In her last employment, Yvonne worked in a Care Home in Wootton. Her kindly attitude and care and consideration for others’ health and well being shone through. In addition, she was always extremely grateful to people who helped her in any way. She had a good memory and never forgot a kindness or good deed.
Yvonne was a member and / or supporter of:-
Padre Pio Society Confraternity of the Rosary Legion of Mary
Latin Mass Society Confraternity of St. Peter Oblate of Quarr Abbey
and she was a founder member of the Island Catholic History Society
She had a close affiliation with the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. Two of their priests, Frs. Armand de Malleray and Matthew Goddard FSSP, will be offering private Masses for the repose of her soul. In additions, Canon Martin Edwards, Canon McDermot-Roe, Frs. Phillip Harris, James McAuley and Philip Andrews have all offered Mass here in St. Mary’s. They knew Yvonne and they send their condolences. Again, they will be offering private Masses for Yvonne.
In recent years Yvonne has had a great friendship with Fr. Anthony Glaysher. She was delighted in the restoration of the traditional 40 Hours Exposition. In these times, when many Catholics find difficulty in private prayer and meditation, other than for a brief period, Yvonne was the opposite. She had what can only be described as a burning desire to be with the Lord exposed upon the altar.
She is seen (left) presenting a cake to Fr. Glaysher on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of his Ordination to the Priesthood in 2013.
Yvonne was an Oblate of Quarr Abbey. Fr. Nicholas Spencer OSB writes:- “She loved attending our meetings and gave a wonderful example of faith and love. I think it should be mentioned somewhere that she took the name Anastasia and was visibly moved when I blessed her using that name on one of the last times I saw her. I miss her deeply as a very old friend. She spent many hours before the Blessed Sacrament. May she now enjoy gazing for ever upon the face of Christ who she served so faithfully“.
In 2011 St. Mary’s became the first church in England to have three Forms of the Roman Rite celebrated regularly when the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham enhanced the liturgical life of the parish. She was delighted to be Fr. Jonathan Redvers Harris’ sponsor when he (and others) joined the Church following Pope Benedict’s initiative, and she supported the Ordinariate group with her usual enthusiasm.
Edmund Matyjaszek writes:-
“I knew Yvonne Rampton almost exclusively through church and was struck reading her obituary that she had essayed a consecrated life. It was no surprise, as Yvonne was one of the few people I have known who could speak directly and disarmingly about her love for the Lord in a way that had no “filters”, as we say now. I only got to know her at church and then through the Island Catholic History Society and on the annual walks to Quarr in the autumn. I remember so well her clear eyes, her clear love, her enthusiasm and directness. It was so refreshing and so uplifting – not a word much used now, but in its real and original sense of taking you up to a higher and frankly better level or plane of thought or discourse. There was something fresh and ageless in the way she spoke, as though she had access to the “spring within” that wells up to life eternal. It made one realise the total and irreplaceable validity of the devoted or indeed consecrated life, and how essential it is to the life of the church. It is that “better part” that Mary in the Gospel chose and the beauty of spirit it elicited is testament to its validity. Yvonne had that beauty, it seemed to me.
It seems so appropriate that her ashes will be buried at Quarr. She will be in the grounds of, and permanently beside, those whose life is entirely the Lord’s. So, shall hers be for eternity. Where she has gone, pray God may we all tread one day”.
In some ways, Yvonne was the last of a generation. She was one of (now) only three people remaining, who were present at the opening of the parish’s two daughter churches at Seaview (1957) and at Bembridge (1965). She attended both events, as well as all the major anniversary celebrations. Her knowledge of the Catholic Church in Ryde and the faithful of the parish was such, that she made a significant contribution to the archives of the Island Catholic History Society as she often reminisced on days gone by and the priests who ministered both at St. Mary’s and Quarr Abbey.
Yvonne had her favourite saints. Among them was Pope St. John XXIII (Pope when she became a Catholic); St. Joseph and St. (Padre) Pio. She was present in Rome when he was canonized in June 2002. Yvonne was such a devout and faithful Catholic; the like of which, we rarely see today. St. Matthew words (25:21) seem most apt when we remember Yvonne’s life and her commitment to Mother Church:-
“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your Master’s happiness!”
Yvonne died having been fortified by the Rites of Holy Mother Church. It was, in some way, fitting that she should die on the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter (just two weeks short of her 80th birthday); a feast which emphasises the importance of seeking salvation through Christ and under the leadership and guidance of the Holy See.
Yvonne’s funeral was arranged in accordance with her wishes.
A Latin (E.F.) Requiem Mass was offered for her soul after her coffin was received into St. Mary’s on Tuesday, 13th March. The following day four priests concelebrated at her Funeral Mass:-
Frs. Steven Restori (parish priest), Anthony Glaysher (former parish priest), Jonathan Redvers Harris (Ordinariate and parish priest of Cowes and East Cowes) and Nicholas Spencer OSB from Quarr Abbey.
Yvonne’s ashes (and her mother’s) are to be buried at Quarr Abbey.
We see in Yvonne, not only faithfulness, but charity, humility, devotion to duty and to her faith. God bless you, Yvonne.