Anglican nuns at Walsingham express interest in the Ordinariate

Do you remember the post wherein I asked if you knew what people give up when they convert?

This come by way of Damian Thompson:

Three Anglican nuns resident at the Church of England shrine at Walsingham have left after expressing an interest in joining the Ordinariate. Here’s their statement:

On 2nd December 2010, Sr. Wendy Renate, Sr. Jane Louise and Sr. Carolyne Joseph left the Priory of Our Lady in Walsingham for a period of discernment with the intention of joining the Ordinariate when established. We ask prayers for ourselves and for the Sisters remaining at the Priory of Our Lady.

What bothers me are reports that the Anglican authorities have been less than generous towards these sisters – even that, in the words of an Ordinariate source, “having voiced a desire to embrace the Ordinariate the nuns were asked to leave and take nothing with them”. [This still must be verified.] Can this shocking claim be true? I’ll be following up this story because I’ve recently heard surprising claims that some people in Anglican Walsingham are less hospitable than they might be towards Roman Catholics. Perhaps Bishop Lindsay Urwin, administrator of the shrine, should tell us what has happened.

I hope we find out about this soon.

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20 Responses to Anglican nuns at Walsingham express interest in the Ordinariate

  1. Sid says:

    The Silver Lining: If it is true that the nuns were asked to leave and to take nothing with them, then that will telegraph to those Anglo-Catholics remaining in the Anglican church that they aren’t wanted and will be treated badly; and so even more Anglo-Catholics will join the Ordinariate.

  2. MrD says:

    This is certainly a tough situation. One would hope that the Anglicans would be more charitable to the departing sisters. However, if the sisters truly do not own any personal property, then what would they be taking?

    I would hope that if we had an order leaving the Catholic Church, that we would be charitable and allow them to take what they had personal control over. However, I also can imagine that we would not be very happy with their departure AND we would be very sure to keep Church property in Catholic control.

  3. Fr. Basil says:

    \\What bothers me are reports that the Anglican authorities have been less than generous towards these sisters – even that, in the words of an Ordinariate source, “having voiced a desire to embrace the Ordinariate the nuns were asked to leave and take nothing with them”. \\

    I know a former Episcopal nun who was treated the same way by her community when she announced her intention to become Orthodox.

    She had to leave behind her habit (of course) and was given ONE set of underwear and ONE dress.

  4. If true, this is very sad. When the All Saints Sisters of the Poor (Catonsville, MD) entered the Catholic Church from the Episcopal in September 2009, 10 of the 12 sisters became Catholic; 2 remained in the Episcopal Church. The sisters still live together, recite the office together, but no longer are able to partake of Holy Communion together. But they did not abandon each other. A better example of charity, I think.

  5. basilorat says:

    When I made the very difficult decision to not make solemn vows as a Benedictine monk, I informed the abbot and with his blessing began to personally tell each of the brethren.

    When I informed the retired abbot of our motherhouse, Abbot Patrick Barry, now Titular Abbot of Lindisfarne who was living with us in his retirement, he pulled me aside. He said, “Brother, you realize they must give you money!” And I said, “Oh Fr. Abbot, I did not know, how much can I expect?” He said, “It is at their discretion, but when I was abbot, I always erred on the side of charity!”

    As a matter of social justice one would assume the Anglicans will not leave them hanging.

    I was told by a London Oratorian as we walked past Westminster Cathedral that the square in front of the Cathedral was recently developed. It had been owned by the Anglican Church, but it was gifted to the Catholic Church. There was a time when charity abounded. However I don’t think they were expecting the mass exodus of clergy that was to come. And frankly, I think there is some very sour grapes. Remember, these people have a very fine pension plan (including here in the US!). The Anglican church and Episcopal Amalgam in the US must still make good on these pensions! I assume that is some background that we’re not hearing much about but which I’m sure is a contentious point!

  6. basilorat says:

    Fr. Basil:
    You stated, “She had to leave behind her habit (of course)…” Did you mean, “of course” or “of coarse”?? :-)

  7. The Egyptian says:

    “if we had an order leaving the Catholic Church”

    There are several we should charitably hold the door for, and they can take their dowdy dresses and macrame tabernacles too.

    sorry, just popped into my head, ;>)

  8. Jack Hughes says:

    One would hope that there is a nearby convent of Catholic sisters that would take them in until they can get back on their feet, perhaps someone would also like to start a fund for that very purpose?

  9. Supertradmum says:

    basilorat,

    They will lose their pensions, just as those priests who came in after the 1993 decision on women priests lost their pensions where they came over. I know this, as it was part of the discernment of our own pastor in Petersfield, Hants, who came in with a wife and two teen-age girls at the time. Our pastor told us bluntly that he lost his pension. This is part of the game and the sacrifice.

  10. MarkJ says:

    We have a lot of convents and schools that are closing in the US… surely we can donate one to these worthy nuns who have truly left all to follow Christ. May God grant them an increase of grace commensurate with their sacrifice.

  11. asperges says:

    Sounds like something out of The Nun’s Story. The whole concept of Anglican nuns is strange. I hope they will find a welcome and fulfill their vocation in the Catholic Church where they belong. God bless them.

  12. basilorat says:

    At least in “The Nun’s Story” she received her dowry back!

  13. Supertradmum says:

    asperges,

    I hope you realize that the Anglicans have had not only nuns, but monks and brothers, and teaching sisters as well. There are historical reasons for these orders, but one influence was Newman and the Oxford Movement, which caused many Anglicans to want to re-establish orders.
    I think American Catholics should travel and learn what religions are like in other countries. Remember that those Protestant groups which came to America, both early and late, such as the Calvinists, Puritans, Amish, etc. are all low-church, non-sacramental groups. Protestants in Europe tend to look more like Catholics in some areas. On the Continent, in England, and in Australia and New Zealand, for example, there are Anglican, and sometimes, Lutheran monks, nuns, teaching sisters, brothers, etc. who see themselves and call themselves Benedictines, Dominicans, Franciscans, Cistercians, etc.

  14. TJerome says:

    Supertradmum, you are so right. In the Scandanavian countries they are very high church, so much so, they appear more Catholic than Protestant in praxis

  15. iudicame says:

    One would think Anglicans have enough baggage as it is. Better to travel light and trust in The Lord – He will provide.

    m

  16. basilorat says:

    Supertradmum:
    I agree with you regarding experiencing a European style of Catholicism and Protestantism. Sadly, Americans, both “liberals” and “traddies” can’t see beyond our borders. Oftentimes it’s a matter of perspective. In the US we had Episcopalian nuns…but they swam the Tiber last year. There is also the Society of St. John in Boston, a group of Episcopalian men who are Episcopalian priests…they remind me of Oratorians. The Atonement Franciscan Friars started off as Anglicans but converted to Catholicism “en messe” at the turn of the twentieth-century. I had an interesting conversation with an Episcopalian priest about celibacy/chastity (he was with his ex-Jesuit lover), and whether he was ignorant or speaking truthfully, it was interesting. I asked him about their understanding of celibacy/chastity. He said, “we simply don’t think about these things!” Innocuous!

    iudicame:
    I don’t understand statements like that. We’re having an honest discussion about a topic and a statement which has nothing to do with the discussion and comes off as simplistic and pietistic and honestly, doesn’t really contribute or say anything other than an effete attempt to a piety that at least appears disingenuous. I would think with a screen name like, “iudicame” you’d be more insightful, clever or intuitive, no?

  17. edm says:

    basilorat,
    There are still nuns in the Episcopal Church. The All Saints sisters converted but there are still other communities.

  18. robtbrown says:

    Supertradmum says:

    They will lose their pensions, just as those priests who came in after the 1993 decision on women priests lost their pensions where they came over. I know this, as it was part of the discernment of our own pastor in Petersfield, Hants, who came in with a wife and two teen-age girls at the time. Our pastor told us bluntly that he lost his pension. This is part of the game and the sacrifice.

    On the other hand, I had a classmate in Rome who was using his pension from the Episcopal Church of Scotland to finance his theological education in order to be ordained a Catholic priest.

    My guess is that, like other pension plans, it’s a fairly complex matter, based on years of service and English law. Further, because of celibacy any diocesan pension is likely to be much small than what the C of E has had.

    From Fr Longnecker’s site:

    The compensation plan works like this: Any full time Church of England clergyman who was in office for at least five years prior to 1992 is entitled to compensation if he resigns over women’s ordination. If he is younger than 50 years old he is eligible for three years of graded payments. He gets full salary the first year, two thirds the second year and one half the third year. In addition he and his spouse are eligible for the full Church of England Pensions Board housing benefit. This means the Pensions Board will either buy a house for the couple to rent, or provide up to £75,000.00 towards an equity shared mortgage. The couple are eligible for this benefit for the lifetime of both the clergyman and his wife. If the Anglican minister is over fifty he is eligible for a whopping ten years of compensation at which point he switches over to his full pension. He is also eligible for the lifetime housing benefit. The legislation says anyone may claim up to the year 2004.

    http://www.dwightlongenecker.com/Content/Pages/Articles/CatholicIssues/TheCostOfConscience.asp

  19. iudicame says:

    Basil – precious Basil….

    “I would think with a screen name like, “iudicame” you’d be more insightful, clever or intuitive, no?”

    Not today brother. It seems simple and it is. [TRANSLATION: Not today brother. It seems simple and it is]

    m

  20. asperges says:

    @Supertradmum: When I said the whole concept of Anglican nuns was strange (above), I meant that, given the context of the Reformation, especially in England, started with the wholesale dismemberment of religious orders, there is a certain irony to the subsequent establishment of orders – as you say – in the 19th century largely. I hope these good nuns will find a welcome in the Catholic Church. It is their logical home.

    (BTW, I am in the UK, so I presume your 2nd para is separate from your comments to me in the 1st).