Who We Are

PAX… Peace be with you. We are the Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary a Community of Religious who have responded to the invitation of the Holy Father to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church as part of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. We were received and our new Community erected on 1st January 2013.

The journey we undertook for this would have been daunting indeed, but for the Divine Mercy which has shaded us from the heat, and supported us in our frailty. We have come from within one of the oldest communities in the Church of England: the Community of Saint Mary the Virgin, Wantage. We will always treasure the tradition of Plainchant for which this Sisterhood has been so well known. This historic Chant tradition will be part of the Patrimony which we carry forward into the Universal Church.

Our response to the prophetic call of the Holy Father to enter into full communion has meant the letting go of our Convent and our Anglican Sisters. But we have been given instead an Ecclesial Home of inestimable value. We are indeed poor in earthly terms now, but rich in hope and in joy. The Gospel reminds us that we are not to be afraid for the Father and the Son will come and make their home with us. The unity for which Christ prayed on the night of His Passion, is a unity into which we have entered and which will form us ever more deeply as we journey on in that mysterious paradox of poverty and riches which is the Consecrated Life.

We have been guided by the Holy Spirit and the Mother of God who is our Patron to place ourselves under the Rule of Benedict. The Benedictine Charism has long been a strong ambience for us in terms of our monasticism, and our liturgical heritage. Now the moment has arrived to embrace it fully and completely.

We rejoice that, as sisters of the Benedictine family, we bring the gifts of the Anglican heritage to the wider Church in this way, whilst also - in all humility - receiving the great gifts that come from unity with the successor of Saint Peter.

Anglicanorum Coetibus was established in 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI. It is under the patronage of Our Lady of Walsingham and the Blessed John Henry Newman.The genius of the Ordinariate structure set up by Pope Benedict is that the Catholic Church has made it possible for groups of Anglicans to enter into full communion, whilst retaining those elements of their heritage which are consonant with the Catholic faith. The Ordinariate - as envisaged by the Holy Father - is a gesture of respect for Christians who have been formed in the Anglican tradition. The Catholic Church has made it possible for the gifts of Anglican spiritual, pastoral and liturgical traditions, to be offered to the whole of the Church as 'a treasure to be shared'. We joyfully come to participate in this important work of Christian unity.

Members of the Ordinariate are fully united to the Catholic Church, and a fully integrated part of the Church by virtue of the communion we share with the Holy Father and our fellow Catholics. As a part of this we seek to share our own heritage and gifts, whilst being conscious of the very great treasures held by our fellow Catholics.

©SBVM 2013