ORDINARIATE ESTABLISHES NEW COMMUNITY OF SISTERS
A new community of sisters has been formally established within the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.
The community, the Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary (SBVM), was erected by decree of the Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate, Monsignor Keith Newton, on New Years’ day.
At a Mass celebrated in the Oxford Oratory, eleven former members of the Anglican Community of Saint Mary the Virgin, based in Wantage, Oxfordshire, were received into the full communion of the Catholic Church. Together with Sister Carolyne Joseph, formerly of Anglican community in Walsingham, the sisters will comprise the new community.
The Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary will continue many of the traditions of the Wantage community, while also officially adopting the Rule of Saint Benedict. As such, the habit of the Wantage community has been adapted to black, and the sisters have adopted the traditional wimple of the Benedictine order.
During the initial stages of the life of the new community, The Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary will exist as a Public Association of the Faithful, as permitted under the Code of Canon Law and envisaged by the founding documents of the Personal Ordinariate.
A spokesman for the Personal Ordinariate 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”.
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.
More on this story is available off the website of the Oxford Oratory: The Reception into Full Communion with the Catholic Church of the Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
They also provide some pictures: