11 Nuns From Historic Anglican Community to Join Ordinariate

Mother Superior Welcomes 'Way Forward' for Christian Unity

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LONDON, DEC. 13, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Eleven nuns from one of the first communities of sisters formed in the Church of England have decided to be received into the Catholic Church in the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

The group from the Community of St. Mary the Virgin (CSMV) in Wantage, Oxfordshire, are to be received in January. The group includes the Superior of the community, Mother Winsome, CSMV.

The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham is one of the structures established by Benedict XVI to enable groups of Anglicans to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church, while retaining elements of their liturgical, spiritual, and pastoral heritage. 

The eleven CSMV sisters will be joined by Sister Carolyne Joseph, formerly of the Society of St. Margaret in Walsingham, who joined the Ordinariate in January 2011. 

These twelve sisters will initially be established as a Public Association of the Faithful within the ordinariate. They will be known as the Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary and will continue in their work of prayer and contemplation, while retaining certain of their Anglican traditions and practices. Foremost among these is the tradition of English plainchant for which these sisters are well known.

Faith, courage and resolve

Monsignor Keith Newton, the Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, said, "The Community of St. Mary the Virgin in Wantage has been at the heart of the Church of England's Religious Life since the mid-19th century. The contribution of the community to the life of the Anglican Communion has been significant, not least through the community's care for those marginalized by society in Britain, and also in India and South Africa."

Monsignor Newton continued, "Those formed in the tradition of the Oxford Movement cannot help but be moved to respond to Pope Benedict's generous invitation to Anglicans. The sisters have always prayed for the unity of Christians with the See of Peter, now this is to become a reality for them by means of the Ordinariate. We are truly grateful for their faith, courage, and resolve."

The community has been in discernment about the way forward since the publication of the apostolic constitution "Anglicanorum coetibus" in 2009. Mother Winsome called the Holy Father's establishment of the ordinariates a "prophetic gesture" that "brings to a happy conclusion the prayers of generations of Anglicans and Catholics who have sought a way forward for Christian unity. The future of our community is a fulfillment of its origins, and as part of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham we will continue with many of our customs and traditions, whilst also seeking to grow in Christ through our relationship with the wider Church."