The Benedictines have always been in the forefront of evangelization, most notably in Europe where “with the cross, the book and the plow,” they carried Christianity to scattered people (Pope Paul VI). When the Holy Father declared Saint Benedict the Patron of Europe, he called him the man who “dispelled the darkness by the light of Christian civilization and radiated Christian peace.”
There are shining examples as to the rebirth of Benedictine life. Just look at the growing community at the birthplace of St. Benedict in Nursia, Italy, founded by an American. Then there are the Benedictines of Clear Creek Abbey in Oklahoma, and the Benedictines of Mary in Gower, MO.
There is also a group of Anglican nuns in England who have crossed the Tiber. Their community, the Community of St. Mary the Virgin in Wantage, Oxfordshire, was founded in 1848 and has always been “at the heart of the Church of England’s religious life” since it was founded.
The current community comprises 40 or so members, of which 10 have left to join the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, organized to allow Anglicans to join the Catholic Church while retaining their beloved forms of liturgy and prayers. They sisters plan to follow the Rule of St. Benedict.
One of those joining the Church is the Mother Superior while another sister was a “priest” in the Anglican Church. They will be leaving their monastery, fellow sisters and all means of support behind. Three of the sisters are in their 80’s. They are courageous women. Mother Winsome says, “We are doing this because we truly believe this is God’s call. The Bible is full of people called to step out in faith not knowing where they were going or how they will be provided for and that truly is the situation we are following.”
Mother Winsome adds: “We believe that the Holy Father’s offer is a prophetic gesture which brings to a happy conclusion the prayers of generations of Anglicans and Catholics who have sought a way forward for Christian unity.”
May Saint Benedict’s intercession bring more monastic communities under the Vicar of Christ.
See the full story in the Catholic Herald.co.uk.