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Anglican Nuns Becoming Catholic

By Br. Stephen, O.Cist
June 17th, 2009
Virtue on Line (www.virtueonline.org)

The sisters have been in discernment about their future and the rumor mill has been churning for some time.

CATONSVILLE, MD (Virtue on Line) - New Liturgical Movement is reporting that the Anglican All Saints Sisters of the Poor in Catonsville, Maryland have announced their intention to be received into the Catholic Church on September 3. These are wonderful women and this is wonderful news.

As an Anglican, I made two retreats with the sisters when the men's order I was an associate of held it's chapter at Catonsville and I've visited one or two other times. One of their sisters was assigned to St. Anna's, the small house they maintain in Philadelphia, and I knew her quite well from my days at S. Clement's.

The sisters have been in discernment about their future and the rumor mill has been churning for some time, so this is not unexpected, but it is very good to hear. Their resident chaplain, Rev. Canon Warren Tanghe, announced his submission some time ago. Their previous chaplain was also received four or five years ago. They've been in my prayers and those of many others.

This is a hard decision to make and the announcement notes that two sisters, including the former superior, will be remaining Anglican. Those of us who have already crossed the Tiber should do our best to stay focused on the good news in this rather than taking yet another opportunity to congratulate ourselves and slag on the Anglican Communion. As I said someplace else recently, I don't remember anyone ever deciding to cross the Tiber because someone kicked a lot of sand in his face while he was standing on the bank.

Founded in England at the famous All Saints Margaret Street, the sisters opened a house in the U.S. at the request of the rector of Baltimore's Mount Calvary, an early bastion of the Anglo-Catholic movement. True to their full name, The All Saints Sisters of the Poor, the sisters lead a mixed life, chanting the office from the Anglican Edition of the Monastic Diurnal and also working in the hospice they founded in downtown Baltimore.

I remember being in the convent chapel for a Holy Hour several years ago. At the exposition, Mother Virginia came out from behind the organ console, which is in the visitors area, and knelt on the tile floor. And knelt and kept on kneeling. Mother Virginia could be the mother or grandmother of all the people who were there on retreat. She stayed on her knees on the tile for an hour, so we stayed on our knees on the tile for an hour. These women are serious business.

When I had made my own submission and was beginning to visit religious communities, it was Sr. Elaine who gave me some of the best advice I got on vocation. She said, "Don't sweat this too much. When you find your community, it will fit you like a glove." She was right.

Welcome to this side of the Tiber, sisters. I hope it fits you like a glove.

The wording of the Invitation

On Thursday, 3 September, in the Year of Our Lord 2009
Mass will be Celebrated in the Chapel of All Saints Convent
Catonsville, Maryland with the Archbishop of Baltimore -
Edwin O’Brien - as the Chief Celebrant.

During this Mass Mother Christina, Sister Emily Ann, Sister Mary Joan, Sister Hannah, Sister Elizabeth, Sister Elaine, Sister Catherine Grace, Sister Julia Mary, Sister Mary Charles, and Sister Margaret will be received into full communion with the Holy See.

Mother Virginia and Sister Barbara Ann have chosen to remain Anglican.

Your prayers are requested for all of the All Saints Sisters at this time in their Community’s journey.

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