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The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham today established its first autonomous monastery today in Birmingham.
The 10 Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary, formerly members of an Anglican Community in Wantage, Oxfordshire, professed their solemn vows during a Mass in the convent in Oscott Hill.
The Mass was held exactly a year since the Benedictine sisters were received into the Church. The Ordinary, Mgr Keith Newton, appointed 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.”
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 new monastery.