Eleven former members of the Community of Saint Mary the Virgin, Wantage, have been received into the full communion of the Catholic Church by Monsignor Keith Newton, the Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.
The sisters, who will form a new community within the Personal Ordinariate, were received into the Catholic Church at a special Mass at the Oxford Oratory on New Years’ day.
The Provost of the Oxford Oratory, the Very Reverend Daniel Seward Cong. Orat., was invited to preach at the Mass, and has been assisting the Ordinariate in the preparation of the women for their reception.
During his sermon he said, “Today sisters, [...] 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 been signs through the ages of God’s providence”.
Speaking of the significance of the Wantage community, Fr Seward continued, “For 164 years you have been faithful in prayer, especially in the liturgical offices, in caring for the poor, the sick, the abandoned and the elderly, in educating the young, and in missionary work in India and Africa. [...] You have responded, generously and courageously to the Holy Father’s summons to unity and as such you put yourself at the service of Our Lord’s own prayer in the Cenacle that “they should all be one”.
The new sisters will be joined by Sister Carolyne Joseph, formerly of the Society of St Margaret, Walsingham, who was received into the Church on 1 January 2011.
The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham was established in 2009 as a jurisdiction of the Catholic Church, allowing groups of Anglicans to enter into full communion whilst maintaining aspects of their heritage and traditions which are consonant with Catholic faith and practice.
Other Anglican religious to have joined the Personal Ordinariate include three sisters of the Society of Saint Margaret, Walsingham, and a member of the Community of the Resurrection, Mirfield, former Anglican bishop Robert Mercer