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Sign of Hope: Anglican Nuns Become Catholic
Crisis Magazine ^ | January 9, 2013 | Dr. William Oddie

Posted on 01/09/2013 9:29:18 AM PST by NYer

The_Anglican_Community_of_St_Mary_the_Virgin_Wantage_became_the_Sisters_of_the_Blessed_Virgin_Mary_Jan_1_Credit_Personal_Ordinariate_of_Our_Lady_of_Walsingham

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. Have I ever, I try to recall, had such a vivid sense of how glorious it is to be a Catholic, of the transcendent splendor of the Catholic life? Probably, but I wonder if any liturgy ever passed off with such an exultant sense of joyful celebration? I am referring, as some of you who read my last post may have surmised, to the reception of 11 sisters led by their mother Superior (all the active ones) now formerly of the Community of St Mary the Virgin in Wantage, into the Catholic Church, and their formal erection (joined by another former Anglican sister who had already been received) as a new community by the Ordinary of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, Mgr Keith Newton.

They were received wearing their habits; but the habits looked different; it turned out that that was because the sisters, having now adopted the rule of St Benedict, had adopted the traditional wimple of the Benedictine order, and their habits were now black, not blue (two of the remaining CSMV sisters had come in their blue habits to support them, and were seated in the pew behind). There was something unexpectedly moving about the formal document erecting the brand new community, who will be known as the Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary (SBVM), despite its being couched in the unlovely bureaucratic language apparently beloved of canon lawyers; it was solemnly proclaimed by the Ordinary (who was wearing the most splendid baroque mitre I have ever seen, very tall indeed, and suitably impressive he looked in it): but the formal document brought home what had happened. Here was a pristine, freshly minted Catholic community, fizzing with new life and (unlike, I fear, most Catholic sisters these days) wearing full habits, based on their old ones but adapted to their new Benedictine lives. 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. An intrinsic part of their habit is still the rosary, which hangs at their sides, and each rosary was blessed and individually copiously sprinkled with holy water by Mgr Newton.

Oxford OratoryI 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. Others were looking too: it reduced one lady to tears. I remembered my own reception into the Church over 20 years ago: afterwards, an old lady came up to me and said, very simply, “welcome home”: that was a moment I have never forgotten, and I have always greeted converts in these words ever since: I said it to several of the sisters afterwards.

It turned out that Fr Daniel Seward of my own parish, St Aloysius, Oxford (he is provost of the Oxford Oratory), had been preparing the sisters for their reception for the last year (the ordinariate couldn’t have chosen better, the Oratory is a great conversion center), and he made the same point, welcoming them home while at the same time taking seriously what the community had already achieved, against the Anglican grain, within the Church of England.

This is how he began his rather splendid sermon (you can read it all here):

“My dear Mother, my dear Sisters,

“Welcome home!

“I say this even though you do not have at present a physical home, because for all of us our holy Mother the Church is our home. In this life we have no abiding city, but already we know something of the heavenly Jerusalem, because we are united with the Church triumphant through the communion of saints. 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.’

“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. “On February 2 1848,” pointed out Fr Daniel, “two significant events which stem from this reawakening took place: John Henry Newman founded the English Oratory at Maryvale and William John Butler, the Vicar of Wantage, founded the Community of St Mary the Virgin”: an act which sprang from a movement of which Newman had been the uncontested intellectual leader, and remained so, even after his “defection” to Rome.

The lives of the SBVM will now be uncertain. They have nothing: but they are full of confidence that all will be well, in God’s way, not theirs. They will be spending the next six weeks with a Benedictine community, to acclimatise themselves to Benedictine ways. Then, they will be homeless and penniless: in the words of their splendid superior, Mother Winsome: “We’ve got an uncertain future. But we are doing this because we truly believe this is God’s call. The Bible is full of people called to step out in faith not knowing where they were going or how they will be provided for and that truly is the situation we are following.”

The ordinariate, I am told, is looking for a new home for them, with some realistic hopes of actually finding one. Meanwhile, the ordinariate monsignori are in no doubt as to the historic significance for the ordinariate itself of the establishment of this new community. As a spokesman said: “We are delighted to have a community of sisters at the heart of our work. As we continue to welcome Anglicans into the full communion of the Catholic Church, and establish a distinctive life of witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ, the prayerful support of these sisters will be invaluable. We look forward, also, to receiving a great deal from their rich liturgical and musical heritage, which is rightly respected far and wide as a positive contribution to the wider renewal of the Sacred Liturgy which we are currently seeing in the Catholic Church”. (We got a small taste of that after Mass: there was no recessional hymn; instead, the sisters processed to the lady chapel, where they alone sang the Salve Regina, in Latin, clear and confident, a most beautiful sound). Then the Mass truly was over; it had all been an almost stunning and glorious experience, one I will never forget.

Now, it is for all of us to pray for the new community, that it may flourish and grow. I hope for new vocations to it (I would bet on several in the next 12 months: any takers?), and will certainly pray for that. This historic event (I don’t think it’s too much to call it that) is a sign of great hope for the future of the Catholic Church in England. Other signs are to be found in certain dioceses, both North and South, two in particular: and above all in today’s news from the Diocese of Westminster. This is a time of hope for the Church in this country.

This column first appeared Wednesday, 2 January 2013 in the Catholic Herald of London and is reprinted with permission.



TOPICS: Current Events; Mainline Protestant; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: anglican; england; uk

1 posted on 01/09/2013 9:29:23 AM PST by NYer
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To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; SumProVita; ...

Welcome home, Sisters! May our Lord continue to bless your ministry and grow your numbers.


2 posted on 01/09/2013 9:30:34 AM PST by NYer ("Before I formed you in the womb I knew you." --Jeremiah 1:5)
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To: NYer

Apparently, it happens both ways...

http://www.whateverycatholicshouldknow.com/helpforcatholics/Watch/Priests_and_Nuns.html


3 posted on 01/09/2013 9:35:08 AM PST by aMorePerfectUnion (Gone rogue, gone Galt, gone international. Gone.)
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To: aMorePerfectUnion

Certainly some people leave the Church, but most of the priests and religious leaving the Church are not seeking something more Christian. Those few that do generally have poor formation and are looking for better formation—albeit missing places in the Church from which they might receive better formation. Even a glance at the web-page indicates that the person putting it together really doesn’t know Catholic theology—though undoubtedly they know the Bible better than many people offering Catholic formation.

These nuns searched as a well-informed group and journeyed as a group—the truth unites. I would be interested in seeing if you know of any groups of three or more Catholic priests or religious who have made a journey to a protestant destination as a group.


4 posted on 01/09/2013 10:05:29 AM PST by Hieronymus ( (It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged. --G.K. Chesterton))
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To: Hieronymus

This change to the Catholic Church for a group of nuns happened in Baltimore also.

Curiously, the sisters are wearing their traditional habit in the article’s photograph.

http://catholicreview.org/article/life/10-episcopal-nuns-in-archdiocese-of-baltimore-to-join-catholic-church

10 Episcopal nuns in Archdiocese of Baltimore to join Catholic Church

By George P. Matysek Jr.

gmatysek@CatholicReview.org

After seven years of prayer and discernment, a community of Episcopal nuns and their chaplain will be received into the Roman Catholic Church during a Sept. 3 Mass celebrated by Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien.

The archbishop will welcome 10 sisters from the Society of All Saints’ Sisters of the Poor when he administers the sacrament of confirmation and the sisters renew their vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in the chapel of their Catonsville convent.

Episcopal Father Warren Tanghe will also be received into the church and is discerning the possibility of becoming a Catholic priest.

-—snip-—


5 posted on 01/09/2013 10:46:19 AM PST by maica (Welcome to post-rational America.)
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To: NYer

Lovely story. Nice to see that a few of those faces look a bit younger than mine. May their order grow and grow.


6 posted on 01/09/2013 10:55:53 AM PST by Bigg Red (Sorry, Mr. Franklin, I guess we couldn't keep it.)
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To: Hieronymus

“Certainly some people leave the Church”

Some is, perhaps, an understatement, but we agree that people leave, which was my point alone.

“...but most of the priests and religious leaving the Church are not seeking something more Christian.”

The testimonies linked to would indicate the opposite. Other than their words, I have no information.

“Those few [an opinion?] that do generally have poor formation [opinion?] and are looking for better formation [opinion?] —albeit missing places in the Church from which they might receive better formation.”

I assume you are referring to a survey that determined this was true, of is this your opinion? I don’t know the motivation - other than what priests an nuns said, who posted their life story on that website I linked earlier upthread.

“Even a glance at the web-page indicates that the person putting it together really doesn’t know Catholic theology—though undoubtedly they know the Bible better than many people offering Catholic formation.”

I have no opinion on what the web-page founder knows or doesn’t know. That wasn’t my point.

“These nuns searched as a well-informed group and journeyed as a group—the truth unites. I would be interested in seeing if you know of any groups of three or more Catholic priests or religious who have made a journey to a protestant destination as a group.”

I don’t follow these movements, since I have no dog in the hunt. If someone wants to leave the Roman church and go to another, I have no problem with that - I would encourage them. If someone wants to leave another church to worship in a Roman church, I have no problem with that. Being in a particular church doesn’t give someone salvation or place them into the Bride of Christ. Any brother in Christ is a brother to me.

Having said that, I think you have an unusual situation here, where groups of people - whole churches even - are fleeing the Anglican Church, as it turns against Biblical truth, and they are looking for a new home, similar to their old home. What you ask about a group of professional Roman clergy going in a group to a protestant faith seems pretty different.

I hope that answers your questions. They were outside my original comment - which was simply that many, many, many Catholics leave the church and either become unchurched or become a different denomination. They don’t usually make the news...


7 posted on 01/09/2013 12:11:15 PM PST by aMorePerfectUnion (Gone rogue, gone Galt, gone international. Gone.)
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To: NYer
Wonderful news! It sounds like the are putting their complete trust in the Lord! God Bless them all.
8 posted on 01/09/2013 3:28:10 PM PST by Gerish (Feed your faith and your doubts will starve to death.)
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To: NYer; Reaganite Republican; Clintons Are White Trash; HerrBlucher; mgist; raptor22; victim soul; ...

My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden,
For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm:
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and exalted those of low degree.
He has filled the hungry with good things;
and the rich He has sent empty away.
He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy;
As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to His posterity forever.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen

Magníficat ánima mea Dóminum,
et exsultávit spíritus meus
in Deo salvatóre meo,
quia respéxit humilitátem
ancíllæ suæ.

Ecce enim ex hoc beátam
me dicent omnes generatiónes,
quia fecit mihi magna,
qui potens est,
et sanctum nomen eius,
et misericórdia eius in progénies
et progénies timéntibus eum.
Fecit poténtiam in bráchio suo,
dispérsit supérbos mente cordis sui;
depósuit poténtes de sede
et exaltávit húmiles.
Esuriéntes implévit bonis
et dívites dimísit inánes.
Suscépit Ísrael púerum suum,
recordátus misericórdiæ,
sicut locútus est ad patres nostros,
Ábraham et sémini eius in sæcula.

Glória Patri et Fílio
et Spirítui Sancto.
Sicut erat in princípio,
et nunc et semper,
et in sæcula sæculórum.

Amen.


9 posted on 01/09/2013 6:17:08 PM PST by narses
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To: NYer; Reaganite Republican; Clintons Are White Trash; HerrBlucher; mgist; raptor22; victim soul; ...

My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden,
For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm:
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and exalted those of low degree.
He has filled the hungry with good things;
and the rich He has sent empty away.
He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy;
As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to His posterity forever.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen

Magníficat ánima mea Dóminum,
et exsultávit spíritus meus
in Deo salvatóre meo,
quia respéxit humilitátem
ancíllæ suæ.

Ecce enim ex hoc beátam
me dicent omnes generatiónes,
quia fecit mihi magna,
qui potens est,
et sanctum nomen eius,
et misericórdia eius in progénies
et progénies timéntibus eum.
Fecit poténtiam in bráchio suo,
dispérsit supérbos mente cordis sui;
depósuit poténtes de sede
et exaltávit húmiles.
Esuriéntes implévit bonis
et dívites dimísit inánes.
Suscépit Ísrael púerum suum,
recordátus misericórdiæ,
sicut locútus est ad patres nostros,
Ábraham et sémini eius in sæcula.

Glória Patri et Fílio
et Spirítui Sancto.
Sicut erat in princípio,
et nunc et semper,
et in sæcula sæculórum.

Amen.


10 posted on 01/09/2013 6:17:33 PM PST by narses
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To: NYer

May God bless and watch over them. And may they bring many more converts home to the Church.


11 posted on 01/09/2013 7:21:11 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: aMorePerfectUnion

You are right, some at first glance is an understatement: tens of millions formally or practically leave the Church each year, but tens of millions join the Church each year. Given that we are dealing with 1.2 billion Catholics, “some” could be argued for, but there is a great deal of movement.

Most of those leaving either do not know their right hand from their left and have no clue about what they are leaving, or have found the demands of Catholicism too hard and are headed elsewhere.

Usually when priests (or other people with a fair bit of formation) leave, it is the later—I would guess that for every three Anglican clergymen that swim the Tiber, one Catholic goes the other way. For example, Fr. Mattew Fox, who was ordained a Dominican is now an Anglican. It is a good fit. http://www.matthewfox.org/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_Fox_(priest) While it would be better if he were in a monastery focusing on improving his relationship with God, at least he can’t do much harm to the Anglican communion.

No doubt in many cases like this, some blame may be passed on to people in charge of formation, to those who decided to ordain the individual, and/or to those who ought to have overseen him after ordination, but whatever the case, the individual reaches a stage where they clearly ought to not be exercising the priesthood and if going voluntarily gets them cleared out quickly, this is good.

Another nice example comes to mind—involved with a woman—a divorced woman at that, but it works for the Anglicans. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alberto_Cuti%C3%A9

From the 1960’s through the 1980’s there was an exodus from the priesthood and religious life in North America, but this has slowed. Right now, about one priest in 400 leaves each year.

As to the web-page you cite, I wouldn’t rely on it too heavily. I glanced at the page on Church History, and it was about what I was expected. A fairly easy example to demonstrate their lack of scholarship is their biography of Tyndale, which ends by noting that he was burnt by Catholics in 1536. He was burnt in 1536 on the orders of Henry VIII, who was two years excommunicated at that point. I suppose the people lighting the match hadn’t been excommunicated, but it is a bit much to chalk it up to the Pope. http://www.whateverycatholicshouldknow.com/helpforcatholics/Watch/Church_History.html


12 posted on 01/09/2013 7:46:47 PM PST by Hieronymus ( (It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged. --G.K. Chesterton))
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To: Hieronymus

I don’t know much about the numbers of Catholic members who leave... or what leaving means. Is it those who just never show up again, or do they have to write a letter to the Vatican?

I suspect there are hundreds of millions who consider themselves Catholic, but don’t attend except for weddings, funerals and occasional Easter service. I imagine they are still counted as members.

The only real point of reference I have these days is a neighbor who attends a local Catholic parish. Nice guy, a friend. The number of members he gave me counts everyone who doesn’t attend with any regularity at all. The number who actually show up to anything in a month is less than half those who are considered members. I’m not sure what it means spiritually, but I know they are counted. And maybe it is not universally that way... I would hope it is not.

I think it comes down to those who lose interest and see no relevance and then those who leave for spiritual reasons. Again, I don’t know the breakdown. I would guess the first group is the largest. I was in the second.

Nice chatting, in any case and I certainly wish you the best.


13 posted on 01/09/2013 9:01:04 PM PST by aMorePerfectUnion (Gone rogue, gone Galt, gone international. Gone.)
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To: aMorePerfectUnion

If someone doesn’t show up but still identifies, they would count as a member—just not a member in very good shape. If you can’t be bothered to make it to Church every Sunday, it is a definite sign that all is not properly ordered in the spiritual life—and the Church teaches at much, though it doesn’t seem to make that much of a difference to many who claim membership.

Good chatting with you as well—say a prayer for me, I said one for you.


14 posted on 01/09/2013 9:35:12 PM PST by Hieronymus ( (It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged. --G.K. Chesterton))
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To: Hieronymus

Will do :-)


15 posted on 01/09/2013 9:37:53 PM PST by aMorePerfectUnion (Gone rogue, gone Galt, gone international. Gone.)
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To: aMorePerfectUnion
I'm not sure I understand what you're trying to say. you say "I have no problem with that", but this article is specifically about people leaving the Church of England, which is overridden by 'pro gay marriage' and other groups.

The nuns are really running away and finding refuge

I applaud / feel sorry for them, just as I do for those Anglicans who join the Born-Again, Presbyterian etc. movements -- they are running from a horrible virus that infected their denomination

And, if you and I are not careful, the same would happen elsewhere.

16 posted on 01/10/2013 4:30:09 AM PST by Cronos (**Marriage is about commitment, cohabitation is about convenience.**)
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To: Cronos

“The nuns are really running away and finding refuge

I applaud / feel sorry for them, just as I do for those Anglicans who join the Born-Again, Presbyterian etc. movements — they are running from a horrible virus that infected their denomination

And, if you and I are not careful, the same would happen elsewhere. “

.......

Of Course we agree on that point.


17 posted on 01/10/2013 6:06:37 AM PST by aMorePerfectUnion (Gone rogue, gone Galt, gone international. Gone.)
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To: NYer

Welcome Home


18 posted on 01/10/2013 10:33:12 AM PST by mgist
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To: aMorePerfectUnion

Of course Catholics leave, but as christianity in general stagnates, the Catholic church is slowly growing. That growth includes ordained priests and other vocations. We remain the largest christian denomination in the world, and one of the few that continues to grow in numbers. That said, dormant Catholics need to wake up now.


19 posted on 01/10/2013 10:47:39 AM PST by mgist
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To: aMorePerfectUnion

Of course Catholics leave, but as christianity in general stagnates, the Catholic church is slowly growing. That growth includes ordained priests and other vocations. We remain the largest christian denomination in the world, and one of the few that continues to grow in numbers. That said, dormant Catholics need to wake up now.


20 posted on 01/10/2013 10:48:47 AM PST by mgist
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To: aMorePerfectUnion
yes. This was not just one of those 2010 tit-for-tat conversion posts

One thing to be really aware of is that one "thing" affecting one group affects everyone else

There are recent ECUSA groups who are campaigning for the Catholic Church to have priestesses. Why? To me it makes no sense -- if a person wants a priestess, he can join the ECUSA

Similarly there are groups pushing the gay agenda in Lutherans, Baptists etc. -- saying "if the Episcopalians can do it, why not you"

We cannot wall it off saying "it's only them"

Also to non-Christians there is no distinction...

21 posted on 01/11/2013 1:09:27 AM PST by Cronos (**Marriage is about commitment, cohabitation is about convenience.**)
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To: Cronos

I really agree Cronos. I recognize all who entrust themselves to Christ as my brothers and sisters, regardless of where they worship.


22 posted on 01/11/2013 8:25:22 AM PST by aMorePerfectUnion (Gone rogue, gone Galt, gone international. Gone.)
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