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The first monastery for a group of former Anglican nuns is to open on New Year’s Day, it was announced today.
The Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary will formally become the first autonomous monastery within the ordinariate established for disaffected Anglicans, and they will live under the jurisdiction of the Ordinary, Mgr Keith Newton.
The sisters were received into the Catholic Church on New Year’s Day 2013.
Ten sisters, formerly members of the Anglican Community of Saint Mary the Virgin, Wantage, will profess their solemn vows at a Mass in the convent in Birmingham, where they have been living since August. Mgr Newton will preside.
Since their reception into the Catholic Church the sisters have existed as a Public Association of the Faithful, following the Benedictine spiritual tradition and wearing the traditional wimple of the Benedictine Order.
This new step, approved by the Holy See, gives them the chance to re-affirm their religious vows for the first time publicly, within the Catholic communion.
At some future date, the monastery may seek to associate itself with a particular Benedictine family.
In order to give effect in civil law to their religious vows, the nuns will also make their wills and sign a deed of covenant ceding all their possessions to the monastery.
Mgr Newton will appoint one of the nuns, Mother Winsome, as the first Reverend Mother for an initial period of three years. Subsequent Reverend Mothers will be elected in accordance with the constitutions of the monastery.
Mgr Newton said: “On the one hand, this occasion on 1 January is simply a formalisation and renewal of the vows which the sisters have already taken as Anglicans, but it is also a new and exciting step, for the sisters themselves, for the Ordinariate and for the Catholic Church as a whole.”