Few know that the Anglican Church has nuns, and now they have ten fewer than before:
After seven years of prayer and discernment, a community of Episcopal nuns and their chaplain will be received into the Roman Catholic Church during a Sept. 3 Mass celebrated by Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien.
The archbishop will welcome 10 sisters from the Society of All Saints’ Sisters of the Poor when he administers the sacrament of confirmation and the sisters renew their vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in the chapel of their Catonsville convent.
Episcopal Father Warren Tanghe will also be received into the church and is discerning the possibility of becoming a Catholic priest.
“For us, this is a journey of confirmation,” Mother Christina said. “We felt God was leading us in this direction for a long time.”
When they say a long time, they mean it, for their discernment was the result of tremendous systematic study and investigation:
Mother Christina Christie, superior of the religious community, said the sisters are “very excited” about joining the Catholic Church and have been closely studying the church’s teachings for years... Members of the community range in age from 59 to 94.
Before deciding to enter the Catholic Church, the sisters had explored Episcopal splinter groups and other Christian denominations. Mother Christina noted that the sisters had independently contemplated joining the Catholic Church without the others knowing. When they found out that most of them were considering the same move, they took it as a sign from God and reached out to Archbishop O’Brien.
“This is very much the work of the Holy Spirit,” Mother Christina said.
It is quite fascinating that their faith hasn't changed over the decades (except their understanding of papal infallibility, which was more of a misunderstanding, most likely). They have consistently held to a faith that is substantively Catholic while living in a religious body that has slid out from under them. Heroically, they thought they could hold the line, but eventually the scandal of what their hierarchy was doing undermined their own work and confused the wider world about their mission.
It came down to the Icon they were called to image. While they were each individually faithful, zealous and industrious witnesses, they couldn't attach themselves unreservedly to their church as the perfect model of bridal fidelity. They discovered that their fidelity, even heroically lived, couldn't pull their church back on track, because the Anglican hierarchy has only the most ephemeral ties to its original identity. Ultimately, their personal vocations couldn't echo the deeper reality that the Church must be -- unless they were lived within the authentic relationship to the vicar of Christ, whose authority has been entrusted to him by the Bridegroom.
It's lovely that their priest is completing the journey with them and that so many in the Baltimore archdiocese are waiting with open arms (and liturgical accomodations). God is patient, because He is the perfect Lover. Welcome home, dears!