But there was also present a great joy, for just the previous day, 10 of these 12 nuns (two having been received earlier) had been received into the Catholic Church and, for the first time, had received the Body and Blood of Christ. Nevertheless, from the steps of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, the words of Anglicanorum Coetibus began to reverberate within the Community of St. Mary the Virgin at Wantage. It was founded in 1848 as part of the Oxford Movement — a movement of "High-Church Anglicans," with John Henry Newman as one of its leaders. Third Order vocations are secular in nature. One sister of the community described that moment as follows: "This community has always meant everything to me. Indeed their Anglican convent at Wantage has a strong liturgical tradition which sits well withinRead More What one of the community who wanted to become Catholic described as "the years of trauma, pain, bitterness and persecution" finally came to an end when, on the feast of Mary, the Mother of God, Jan. 1 2013, the Anglican religious sisters were received into full communion with the Catholic Church. And as it did so, through the dark night, the Wantage sisters saw light coming forth as the great doors of the monastery were flung open, and they heard the words: "Welcome home.". This declaration was to change forever the lives of a group of Anglican nuns living in a convent in rural England, near Oxford. The future of the 12 was as uncertain as their way of life in the past had been fixed and stable. © 1996-2019 Catholic Education Resource Center | Privacy Policy | Disclaimer | Sitemap, CERC is an entirely reader-supported web site and non-profit charity. There was one notable difference though: They were Anglicans, not Catholics. On board there were some suitcases and bedding. As an Anglican, I made two retreats with the sisters when the men's order I was an associate of held it's chapter at Catonsville and I've visited one or two other times. For some, it was, at last, the way in which their religious vocation and their Catholic longings could be reconciled without losing their identity as religious. Turley is the National Catholic Register's U. K. correspondent. ", In the end, 11 sisters, and a recently joined religious sister from another community, elected to make that walk. “Today sisters, you can say the same, for you become one with St Gregory the Great, St Augustine of Canterbury, St Benedict, St Edward the Confessor and all those holy men and women who have been signs through the ages of God’s providence.” He pointed out how deeply the CSMV was rooted in the history of the attempted Catholic revival in the Church of England, and how closely the Oxford Movement, linked with that, was later enriched and deepened within the Catholic Church by one man, John Henry Newman. Sign of Hope: Anglican Nuns Become Catholic Dr. William Oddie. Probably, but I wonder if any liturgy ever passed off with such an exultant sense of joyful celebration? Not only that, but many would also have been rendered destitute by such a move, and for a cloistered religious, initially homeless, as well. They worked alongside each other and sang together the Office. ", She told them that any sister wishing to be received into the Catholic Church "had to be prepared to walk down the drive with just what she could carry in a bag in her hand, leaving everything else behind, without any guarantees for the future, just going forward in blind faith in accordance with her conscience. National Catholic Register (June 26, 2018). They walked or were helped to a waiting coach. … [But] there are two points here. Crisis Magazine is a project of Sophia Institute Press. I have had, as we all have, many good moments in my life as a Catholic (greatly outweighing the inevitable bad ones); but yesterday was one of the very best. Firstly, the Holy Spirit has spoken to my heart at several moments in my life about union with the Catholic Church. The same holds true for monks and nuns. All sorts of false accusations began to be leveled at individual sisters. Since their reception into the Catholic Church last year the nuns have made clear their intention to live a Benedictine life. The only option was to return that soul to the lay state. I had feared they might be received in lay clothes, only being clothed in their habits once the new community had been formally established, but there was no nonsense of that kind. The convent's buildings and grounds were owned by the Anglican community, so to go on living there as a Catholic community was not a viable long-term option. Anglican vs Catholic Though they came from the same Christian roots founded by Jesus Christ in Judea 2000 years ago, Anglicans and Catholics have diverged to become two separate forms of Christianity. Others were looking too: it reduced one lady to tears. It provided for the establishment of personal ordinariates, through which Anglican faithful might enter, including in a corporate manner, into full communion with the Catholic Church. When in 1845, Blessed John Henry Newman was received into the One Fold of the Redeemer, he said, “what an outcast I seemed to myself, when I took down from the shelves of my library the volumes of St Athanasius or St Basil, and set myself to study them; and how, on the contrary, when at length I was brought into Catholic communion, I kissed them with delight, with a feeling that in them I had more than all that I had lost, and, as though I were directly addressing the glorious saints, who bequeathed them to the Church, I said to the inanimate pages, ‘You are now mine, and I am yours, beyond any mistake.’. It was only a temporary halt, though. The coach was heading to a monastery on an island off the south coast of England. I have never been wholeheartedly one for the sign of peace: but during it, I looked over at the newly erected community, joyfully exchanging it among themselves, and a deeply moving sight it was. 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