Meet the Sisters!
A ‘Come and See’ on Zoom!
Saturday 27th June 3 – 4pm
For men and women aged 16 to 34
Curious about our life? – We’d love to meet you on Zoom!
Learn about consecrated life and the life of a Colwelian.
Opportunity for questions.
Meet and share with others who are also discerning.
If you’re interested please email Sr Theresa at firstname.lastname@example.org
Prayer, Intimacy and Relationships Retreat
Four ZOOM MEETINGS on Thursdays 30th April, 7th, 14th and 21st May at 8pm
Please note that this retreat is now FULLY BOOKED
Looking looking at how the journey into a deeper prayer life enables us to love the people in our lives, even the most difficult!
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and love your neighbour as yourself.” Lk 10:27
Why is it so difficult to love the people closest to us? To bring our real thoughts and feelings to God in prayer? To be honest in relationships? To enter into intimacy with God and with others? These are some of the questions we will look at over the course of the retreat.
As one of four talks looking at the journey into a mystical life of union with God, to which all of us are called, we will wait on God to reveal himself to us and reveal us to ourselves through others. Prayer is the route to purification of the ego, of the innate will to control the world, to control people in order to serve our own ends. And yet our relationships are the privileged field in which beginners in the spiritual life must learn to turn our innate selfishness into the selflessness of the Crucified. “Nothing so reduces the ego as the realities of living with others and not demanding that they change so as to suit ourselves.’ (Burrows in ‘Ascent to Love’ 40)
Email us to register your interest in this course
Participants are asked to make a donation to the community via this page
First National COLW Family Day
On Saturday 4th January, priests and lay people joined us from around the country for a triple celebration of the Epiphany (our founding day) of the New Year and of our first such gathering of the COLW Family. We are hoping it will be the first of many to come as COLW consolidates and the lay branch takes shape. With the COLW Book of Life (explaining our spirituality) being published this year, a rule of life for lay members and diocesan priest associates is being worked on.
Fr Luke and recently ordained Fr Mike, celebrated Mass for us before we enjoyed a shared meal. This was followed by games for the children whilst some adults put together a chicken coup that had been donated to the sisters for Christmas. What fun we had as some of the younger boys did a chicken dance in the coup as the dark descended. The day concluded with a prayer to the Holy Spirit and everyone picking out a patron saint for the year and a virtue to work on during the coming months.
Rededication of England as Mary’s Dowry
2020 – The great year of the Rededication of England to Jesus through Mary has dawned. This is a very important year in the life of the Catholic Church here in England as our Bishops will be rededicating England as Mary’s Dowry, an ancient title, on Sunday 29th March 2020.
To discover how Mary’s YES to God is linked to our own YES to God as people of her land, visit this page.
Listen in to Mgr. John Armitage explains the importance of the spiritual preparation for this great and historic spiritual event to take place on Sunday March 29th 2020.
A dedicated website has been set up by the Shrine for this initiative. If you’d like to follow it, visit www.behold2020.com.
33 DAYS TO MORNING GLORY: STARTING TODAY.
Sign up here to receive the daily reflections for to consecrate yourself to Jesus Through Mary. It starts on 21st February and ends with the consecration itself on Wednesday 25th March. This will be followed by a Tiduum of Prayer and the Prayer of Rededication on Sunday 29th March.
Let us pray that many graces will be poured on our country in the coming months,
Encountering Christ in Scripture
Friday 28th February – Sunday 1st March 2020
At Dowry House Retreat, High St, Walsingham, NR22 6BZ
There is more in scripture than simply ink on the page; this “word of the Lord” is able to bring us into the presence of the divine Word, the one who brought the spinning galaxies into being and whose nail-marked hands are stretched out towards us in love. Other books may speak of God, but the Bible uniquely is able to become for us a holy ground on which we actually meet with God.
A Word-Centered Life, a life which is evangelical in the very best sense of that word—shaped by the Gospel, and passionately seeking to hear Christ, know Christ, share Christ with others—such a life must always be deeply grounded in Scripture. Psalm 1 offers a perfect description of a Word-Centered people:
“their delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law they meditate day and night.
They are like trees
planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
and their leaves do not wither.” (v. 2-3)
This weekend will help us drive deep roots into the refreshing waters of the biblical text, so that we might become more deeply rooted and grounded in Christ. We need to learn to come to the Bible in order to meet Jesus, especially during this year dedicated to the Word.
In addition to the basic cost of board and lodging an extra donation of £10 per day (£20 for the weekend) will be invited as a contribution to the work of the COLW Sisters who will be leading the retreat. Please call 01328 801018 or email email@example.com for further information.
Prayer, Intimacy and Relationships
Fri 22nd – Sun 24th November 2019
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and love your neighbour as yourself.” Lk 10:27
Why is it so difficult to love the people closest to us? To bring our real thoughts and feelings to God in prayer? To be honest in relationships? To enter into intimacy with God and with others? These are some of the questions we will look at as we end the liturgical year and prepare for Advent.
As one of two weekends looking at the journey into a mystical life of union with God, to which all of us are called, we will wait on God to reveal himself to us and reveal us to ourselves through others. Prayer is the route to purification of the ego, of the innate will to control the world, to control people in order to serve our own ends. And yet our relationships are the privileged field in which beginners in the spiritual life must learn to turn our innate selfishness into the selflessness of the Crucified. “Nothing so reduces the ego as the realities of living with others and not demanding that they change so as to suit ourselves.’ (Burrows in ‘Ascent to Love’ 40)
In addition to the basic cost of board and lodging an extra minimum donation of £10 per day (£20 for the weekend) is invited as a contribution to the work of the COLW Sisters who will be leading the retreat.
Venue: Dowry House, 47-49 High St, Walsingham, Norfolk NR22 6BZ
Tel: 01328 801018; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Hours of the Passion
Sunday 14th (5pm) to Thursday 18th (10.30am) April 2019
Venue: Dowry House Retreat, Walsingham, Norfolk.
At the age of 17, the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta wrote her first novena of preparation for Christmas with 9 hours of meditation. After finishing it, Our Lord invited her to meditate continuously on the last 24 hours that He suffered during the course of His Passion, beginning with the moment when He said good-bye to His Mother (that is, before instituting the Eucharist) and ending with the moment when Jesus was buried.
Therefore, meditating on one Hours of the Passion means to be united to the prayers and reparations that Jesus offered interiorly to the Father while He was being scourging, crowned with thorns, crucified, etc., and for this purpose, we follow the book, “The 24 Hours of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ.” In such a way that every time we read, meditate, and penetrate into every hour of the Passion, we must try to make Jesus’ prayers, intentions and reparations our own so that together with Him we can offer them to the Father for the salvation of souls and the benefit of all humankind.
After the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta had been living continuously the Hours of the Passion for over thirty years, Saint Hannibal Maria Di Francia, who had been appointed as the Ecclesiastical Censor for all her writings, commanded her under Holy Obedience to put them into writing. As a result we have this Book of Heaven. Seeing the wealth of its content and glimpsing all the good that they would do to our souls, Saint Hannibal printed the first four editions of this book in the years 1915, 1916, 1917 and 1924.
After the S.G. Luisa Piccarreta finished writing the original manuscript she sent it to St. Hannibal along with a letter. In this letter she speaks of the complacency that Jesus feels whenever we meditate on these Hours. She says, “as if Jesus heard His own voice and His prayers being reproduced in those reparations, just as the ones He raised to His Father during the 24 hours of His sorrowful Passion.” Also, Luisa included along with the manuscript and letter some additional notes in which she listed the effects and promises that Jesus makes to whoever meditates on these Hours of His Passion.
The retreat is led by Sisters from the Community of Our Lady of Walsingham and, in addition to the basic costs, you will be invited to make an additional donation of £25 to cover their costs.
Sharing in Mary’s Joy
We are most fortunate to have Fr Dominique Faure coming to us in Walsingham to preach a retreat on Sharing in Mary’s Joy. The topics he will over the course of the retreat will include:
- Why Mary is full of joy?
- How we can enter into Mary’s Joy?
- How does Our Lady help us grow in Faith, Hope and Charity.
Along with daily Mass and adoration, there will also be opportunities for confession and questions.
Retreatants are invited to arrive on the Thursday evening and spend the Friday in silence meditating over some scripture passages which will fall the backdrop to the retreat. The retreat itself will start on Friday evening at 9pm with the arrival of Fr Dominique and end on Sunday afternoon by 5pm.
About Fr Dominic
Fr Dominique Faure is an inspiring Missionary Religious Priest with a deep philosophical, theological and contemplative formation. At the personal request of Mother Teresa he spends most of his time travelling the world preaching retreats for the Missionaries of Charity and many other lay, priestly and religious communities. Recently based in New Zealand, he is also Chaplain and Professor to the Catholic Discipleship College in Auckland.
Suggested minimum contribution to cover accommodation, full board and retreat giver costs is £200 (£100 for 18-25yrs, students and unemployed). Day rate option of £20 covering lunch and dinner also offered. Possibility of partially attending the retreat although priority will be given to full-attendees.
It is recommended that retreatants arrive at Dowry House Thursday evening 25th Jan. Departures on Sunday 27th January around 5pm
This year we have been busy getting settled into our first convent so only now, to celebrate Our Blessed Lord’s birth do we have a newsletter ready – following on from that of last Easter.
We invite you to subscribe to them here. We aim to keep everyone up to date with news from the community, about our mission at Dowry House and on the Dowry Tour as well as provide food for reflection. The hope is to produce one at Christmas, at Easter and then in August/September.
As you read the newsletters you can join us in thanksgiving for all that the Father is giving us and in intercession for the needs of all those we serve, for those of the world and for those of our candidates and current members.
At this Christmas when Christ comes, will He find a warm heart? As we marked the season of Advent by loving and serving others with God’s own love and concern, let us spend some time in immediate preparation by listening and waiting with Our Lady at her shrine. Fr John Armitage, rector of the National Catholic Shrine of Our Lady, will lead the reflections over the weekend of 14th – 16th December 2018
The retreat will be at Dowry House in Walsingham and will include a pre-festive Christmas meal and the annual Advent Carol Service in the Chapel of Reconcilaition.
Costs: £138 ensuite room; £110 standard room. This includes all meals from Friday supper until Sunday lunch
Please book by emailing email@example.com or calling the sisters on 01328 801018 to check availability.
God blessed us with very mild weather on the 3rd October when we had our open day at the House of the Divine Will. This enabled our 130 plus guests to enjoy the grounds and cloister as well as visit the barn. It was good to meet many of the local people from the various churches and we look forward to developing our links with them over time. Quite a few also braved the journey from Walsingham, from London and various parts of Essex. See photos of the day on our facebook page here.
Joanna Bogle also gifted us with a hand embroidered kneeler which she personally presented to us on the day itself. It was inaugurated by Sr Camilla, in the chapel overlooking the Moors, as she offered a prayer for all our guests and in thanksgiving for having reached this day.
From 2pm until 5.30pm the stream of visitors touring the place and enjoying the scones and cream was constant and seemed unending. We could never have managed welcoming them all if it hadn’t been for the help of our great volunteers: Terry, Angie, Sarah, Sonia and Terri. So a BIG THANK YOU especially to them. By 6pm the flow of visitors had lessened and this made the viewing of the video clip on entering the chapel easier for everyone.
Walsingham Spirituality V
Starts: Friday 26 October 2018 @ 5pm
Ends: Sunday 28 October 2018 @ 2pm
Venue: Dowry House Retreat, Walsingham (www.dowryhouse.org.uk)
‘Your Will be done on earth as it is in heaven’.
We see Walsingham Spirituality as being especially important for helping everyone learn to accept God’s Will, do God’s Will and gradually to surrender to God’s Will so as to live constantly in the Divine Will. This is the last of a series of retreats aimed at helping everyone enter deeply into this spirituality which is important for the return of our country to its Christian roots.
During the weekend we will look in particular at the lessons received by Luisa Piccharetta from Our Blessed Lady of how to live in the Divine Will. This is what brings light and life to our souls and enables us to live in the joy Our Lady promised to all those who visit Walsingham. The Fiat is the source of true and lasting joy and will find its expression in a thanksgiving which will arise automatically in our hearts for all that God will send us.
In addition to the basic cost of board and lodging an extra minimum donation of £20 will be asked as a contribution to the work of the COLW Sisters who will be leading the retreat.
We were blessed to have our first family day at the House of the Divine Will in Dereham. Seven couples with some 29 children between them recently graced the house and grounds on one of these amazing summer days.
We started with a picnic lunch in the only shaded part of the grounds – one of the reasons we really need to plant some tress this autumn! Then Sr Camilla gave a talk on Ecclesial Families of Consecrated lIfe that wetted the appetite of some couples. The thought of being part of a larger community, having spiritual formation and living in the Fiat is certainly something our society needs. One of the strongest and most attractive elements of communities like ours is the ‘spirituality of communion’ – something we tangibly experienced on this beautiful days.
The children in the meantime were entertained by Sr Theresa and Sr Johanna who kept them busy with a variety of activities. Once the talk was over everyone joined in the various conversations, games that spontaneously sprung up in various parts of the house and grounds. Our volunteers made everything go smoothly by keeping people hydrated and clearing up things. The children riding in the trailer driven by Sr Camilla was one of the highlights of the afternoon. The day ended with some families swelling the numbers of the Sunday vigil Mass in the local parish in Dereham and everyone left happy, looking forward to the next one.
Walsingham Spirituality IV – The Beauty of Living in God’s Will
Starts: Friday 13 September 2019 @ 5pm
Ends: Sunday 15 September 2019 @ 2pm
Venue: Dowry House Retreat, Walsingham (www.dowryhouse.org.uk)
‘Your Will be done on earth as it is in heaven’. All the saints, throughout the ages have taught the importance of doing God’s will and of Living closely united with God’s will so that His kingdom will come. St Teresa of Avila, in her commentary on the Our Father, points out that Jesus has asked, and taught us to ask, for something so highly valuable that it includes everything we can desire here below’ (Way of Perfection 32:1). Teresa takes these words very seriously indeed. She maintains that if Jesus had not made this petition on our behalf, we would not have dared to make it of ourselves: because, she says, ‘the task would seem to me impossible’ (WP 32:2). It is often easy to ask for something or to promise something to another, but difficult to follow it through by living it out. And when it comes to giving our will to another, this is much harder still – in fact, the most difficult thing of all.
We see Walsingham Spirituality as being especially important for helping everyone learn to accept God’s Will, do God’s Will and gradually to surrender to God’s Will so as to live constantly in the Divine Will.
The understanding of living in the Divine Will has made leaps and bounds through the mystical theology of Venerable Luisa Piccharetta. In the summer of 2015 the Vatican published the Italian version of the book ‘The Sun of My Will‘ and the English version appeared in January 2016. The Gift of the Divine Will, which God now wishes to give to the world is not only about doing God’s Will, but possessing God’s Will i.e. letting God carry out His own will, Himself, within us through our consent. This is what Adam was doing up until the Fall, and what Jesus did in His humanity throughout His whole life while on earth.
Jesus points out that Luisa, who received the Gift of the Divine Will on the 8th September 1889, marks the beginning of the era of the Kingdom of the Divine Will on earth. This gift is now available to everyone.
In addition to the basic cost of board and lodging an extra minimum donation of £20 will be asked as a contribution to the work of the COLW Sisters who will be leading the retreat.
Walsingham Spirituality III
Starts: Friday 19 July 2019 @ 5pm
Ends: Sunday 21 July 2018 @ 2pm
Venue: Dowry House Retreat, Walsingham (www.dowryhouse.org.uk)
The third of a series of weekends to enable retreatants enter more deeply into the spirituality of Walsingham, learning in particular what it means to surrender to God’s Will in one’s life.
When we know we are loved by someone, deeply loved by them, we can trust their decisions regarding us, even if we don’t always understand their reasons. The same is the case in relation to God. The saying ‘Let go and let God’ is often quoted and yet so easy to accomplish. It is only when we stop relying on our need to control, to know, to be perfect, that we begin to taste the joy of allowing God to work freely in our hearts and lives.
This weekend will provide practical anecdotes and tools to help grow in a life-giving spirit of surrender to God. When our hearts are empty of self and the above needs, like the Holy House of Walsingham, God’s Spirit can enter in and take us to places we could never even begin to imagine.
In addition to the basic cost of board and lodging an extra donation of £20 (collected during the weekend) will be asked as a contribution to the work of the COLW Sisters who will be leading the retreat.
Sr Theresa’s Final Profession of Vows
On Saturday 7th April, at the midday Mass in the Chapel of Reconciliation, Sr Theresa made her final vows in COLW. After eight years of formation she took this definitive step, consecrating herself to God’s service for the rest of her life. Surrounded by family and friends she looked radiant as she said her ‘YES’ to God’s love for her, a God who has chosen her to be all His – warts and all as we so often remind each other. On the vigil of the Feast of Divine Mercy we thank God for the gift that Sr Theresa is to us and to so many people. Now the real work starts!
To watch the Mass again and hear Fr John’s superb homily visit the Shrine live stream page and go to the Mass of the 7th April.
Please visit this link to see photos and share in the joy of the day.
We thank God for all our family, friends, benefactors and supporters who made Sr Theresa’s final profession a day to remember. God bless you all!
COLW’s First Convent
On the 8th December 2017, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, after 8 months of fundraising and thanks to the generosity of many benefactors, we acquired our first convent. This amazing gift, rendered even more heartwarming by the kindness of the sellers (two brothers who built the property by converting old barns) couldn’t have come at a better time.
With its simplicity and spaciousness, a central cloister area, eco-friendly wood chip boiler, a large outdoor barn and surrounded by 4 acres of land, it is perfectly monastic in style and miraculously suited to our needs. So much better than all the other properties visited it seemed to be made for us!. Please join us in thanking God for this amazing gift and Our Lady for obtaining it for us. For further information visit this page.
Walsingham Spirituality II
15th-17th May 2020
This weekend is the second in a series of weekends designed to help people enter in depth into the Spirituality of Walsingham. Through a series of talks, lectio divina, silence, spiritual accompaniment and liturgical prayer moments, the sisters will enable individuals to apply this rich spirituality in the reality of their own lives.
Walsingham exists to remind us of the mystery of Mary’s silent surrender, her self-sacrificing love, her joy and humility in bearing and believing the Word of God. The Spirit is ultimate freedom, total unpredictability. God lives not in a ‘house made with hands’ but in hearts that are, with Mary, ready for anything – ‘Be it done unto me according to your word.’ At the heart of Walsingham lies the mystery of the Annunciation.
The house symbolises stability. It was the house that made Nazareth permanently present in Walsingham, standing firm and strong, guaranteeing the future of the village and the Shrine. But this is balanced by the theme of the Annunciation which implies a radical openness to change and growth. Everyone of us carries within ourselves an element of unpredictability.
As she is presented to us in Luke’s gospel, Mary stands for the perfect disciple. Like Israel of old she is chosen and called simply out of love. She has not chosen God; rather God has chosen her. She is a child of grace, of choice, and so she is able to respond to God’s initiative with the words ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to your word.’
But that is not the end of the story. Mary had to be open to human growth and development, just as Jesus had to grow physically, spiritually, socially. She had to make choices, accept responsibility, and ultimately let her Son go his own way even when she did not understand.
Mary is our vocational model as one who responded totally, allowed God to do with her all that he wanted. When Jesus says that his mother, brothers and sisters are those who do the will of his Father in heaven we have a glimpse into the wholeness of Mary’s self-giving. It was not bearing Christ in the flesh that made her blessed. Her real motherhood lay in her surrender to the Father’s will; her ‘Be it done unto me (her ‘Fiat’, ‘Amen’, ‘Alleluia’) in sorrow and in joy, in diminishment and fullness.
Members of the Community of Our Lady of Walsingham will guide participants, through a series of talks and lectio divina, into what it means to imitate Mary’s FIAT, her YES to God’s love and will for her life.
This second weekend will look especially at what it means to ACCEPT God’s will in the difficult times of one’s life and what it means to fulfil his will.
Date: Friday 17th – Sunday 19th May 2020
Venue: Dowry House Retreat (www.dowryhouse,org.uk)
To book a place email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Moving to Walsingham
At last we are all together at Walsingham. Having spent the last five years commuting to and fro from Brentwood to work at the shrine at Walsingham, we recognise the toll it has taken on us as individuals and as a community. With gratitude we recognise the gift that it has been to spend our first 13 years at Abbotswick – there couldn’t have been a better place for a founding group to consolidate and grow in self-undertsanidng of the charism given.
As you all know, our spiritual home is in Walsingham and we are overjoyed to be now living and serving the shrine as a community – providing together hospitality and a sung liturgy to those using Dowry House Retreat (www.dowryhouse.org.uk) and partaking in the many events the expanding shrine is hosting. Being together as a community also means that we will be able to give more time to study, developing the charism and forming our lay associates now that we are on the road to becoming an Ecclesial Family of Consecrated life – open to people from every walk of life.
We celebrated this milestone with a community day out in Norwich as you can see from the photos – one taken on top of the tower of St John the Baptist’s Catholic Cathedral, one whilst walking through the cloister of the amazing Anglican cathedral where we also attended evensong and one at the Julian shrine. What a welcome we have been given in all these holy sites!
So please keep us in your prayers as we settle down to life in this beautiful village of Walsingham and as we continue to fundraise for our first convent. For updates on how that is going please subscribe to our newsletters on this page https://www.walsinghamcommunity.org/contact-us/subscribe-to-newsletters
Here I Am Lord!
Friday 1st – Sunday 3rd September 2017
Join us for this first weekend in Walsingham, exploring the beauty of consecrated life in the 21st Century.
‘Consecrated life ought to promote growth in the church by way of attraction. The church must be attractive. Wake up the world! Be witnesses of a different way of doing things, of acting, of living! … It is this witness that I expect of you. Religious should be men and women who are able to wake the world up.’ Pope Francis, meeting with the Union of Superiors General, November 29, 2013
There are many ways in which people can choose to consecrate their lives to God in the service of the Church and the World. This weekend will explore some of the general themes related to consecrated life and look at the various ways in which men and women can offer their lives in service of God, the Church and their neighbour e.g. apostolic religious life, enclosed contemplative life, ecclesial families of consecrated life, hermits and consecrated virginity to name a few.
There will also be a Q&A panel on the Saturday afternoon …. so prepare already your questions for those who live the consecrated life in some of these forms.
‘God calls you to make definitive choices, and He has a plan for each of you: To discover that plan and to respond to your vocation is to move toward personal fulfilment.’ Pope Francis, 2013 World Youth Day
Time: Any time from 3pm on the Friday until the afternoon of the Sunday. If you cannot make the whole weekend how about meeting up with us on the Saturday at Walsingham? Please call us for any clarification needed.
Please download and display this poster in your parish:
Location: Dowry House Retreat Centre, 47-49 High St, Walsingham NR22 6BZ
What to bring: Personal items, writing materials, Bible, walking shoes/boots.
Donation: £40 (Students) £80 (wage earners) – includes full board
For further information call or phone Sr Carina on 01328 801013.
To book a place on this weekend fill out the booking form and send a £20 deposit (cheques payable to ‘RC National Shrine’) to Dowry House Retreat, 47-49 High St, Walsingham NR22 6BZ
Become a Founding Benefactor of COLW!
Please can you help us to purchase our very own house in Walsingham?
Please visit the appeals page for more information on this exciting adventure as we push out into the deep and trust in God’s Providence to provide the first house for the community 🙂
Sr Carina and Sr Johanna make their first profession
On a gloriously sunny spring day, Carina and Johanna make their first profession of vows in the community. In the presence of Bishop Alan Williams SM they promised to live chaste, poor and obedient for one year during the midday Mass on the solemnity of the Annunciation.
Fr Matt Blake, our chaplain and Fr Chris Brooks concelebrated and two of our Abbotswick volunteers, deacon Paul and Mike, served the Mass which was well attended by family and friends. Aimee, a friend of Carina from university days, had travelled from Paris to play the flute during and at the end of Mass. The two ‘wedding’ cakes were a mirror reflection of each other and one was later brought up to Walsingham to share with friends at the shrine. Please join us in thanking God for the gift or these two new sisters. We are can now truly call ourselves a founding group 🙂
Johanna enters the Novitiate
On the beautiful Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Johanna entered the novitiate and brought immense joy to Carina, who until now had been the only novice in formation 🙂 Visit our Facebook page to see more photos of the event: https://www.facebook.com/TheCOLW
The second reading at Mass was particularly apt: ‘We know that by turning everything to their good, God co-operates with all those who love him, with all those he has called according to his purpose. They are the ones he chose specially long ago and intended to become true images of his Son’ (Rom 8:28).
We have known Johanna for a long time and, unexpectedly, she has been brought back to the UK and to COLW. What an immense grace for the community. Pope Francis always talks of being open to God’s surprises for as He declares through the prophet Isaiah ‘my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways’. Please join us in thanking God for this wonderful gift and please keep Johanna especially in prayer at this time.
If you are inspired by her example of generosity in giving her life to God and the service of His Church, please consider joining us for our next taster ‘Walsingham Spirituality Weekend‘.
Walsingham Spirituality 1 – Accepting God’s Will in our lives
Friday 13th – Sunday 15th March 2020
The first of a series of weekends to enable retreatants enter more deeply into the spirituality of Walsingham, learning in particular what it means to accept God’s Will in one’s life.
One of the greatest obstacles to living in the Divine Will is the lack of acceptance of God’s Will in the reality of our daily lives. Over the weekend we will look at what in means in practical terms to accept his will as it manifests itself to us from moment to moment, especially in who we are as the beloved children of the Father and in our neighbour.
Time : Any time from 3pm on the Friday until the afternoon of the Sunday.
What to bring: Personal items, writing materials, Bible.
Directions: Dowry House Retreat Centre, 47-49 High St, Walsingham NR22 6BZ
See here for details of costs. Call 01328 801018 for booking information.
Annual Retreat with Sr Hettie Berflow O Carm
We were immensely blessed to have Sr Hettie Berflow, a Carmelite sister from the O Carms in the Netherlands with us from the 14th – 24th May. She led the annual retreat for our sisters in formation, taken them into the depths of the Rule of St Albert. Her gentle way of being, her pondered considerations and sharing, her wise accompaniment meant that we were able to appreciate so much more the gift given us in this rule, the basis of all Carmelite life.
Albert, patriarch of Jerusalem, gave the first hermits on Mt Carmel a life rule (1206-1214) which, at the time of their expulsion by the Saracens in 1247, was adapted to new circumstances by pope Innocent IV. In consequence, the mystical space of Carmel with its contemplative life is experienced wherever they are given a place and God calls them. The commentary presents the Carmel as a spiritual model which is ideally suited as accompaniment on the spiritual journey of all who know themselves called to a life in God’s presence in the desert of their life.
The book she based a lot of her talks on was actually written by one of the priests in her community. Thank you Sr Hettie for helping us understand and appreciate more the gift of this rule and especially the importance of silence as a means to love our union with God.
Assisi and Carlo Acutis
Our return from the conference in Rome took us via Assisi where we stayed with a friend whose generosity made the visit possible. The graces received in praying at the sites related to St Francis, St Clare and Carlo Acutisl, whose cause for beatification has already started was palpable to say the least.
Carlo was born in London in 1991 and died after a sudden and short illness in Milan in 2006. This teenager is a model for all young people and is certainly interceding for England. Please visit this site http://www.carloacutis.com/en/association and be inspired by this holy teenager.
Conclusion of the Year of Consecrated Life
Sr Camilla and Carina were able to attend the concluding conference in Rome for the Year of Consecrated Life from the 28th Jan until the 2nd Jan 2016. On the theme “Consecrated life in communion. The common foundation in the variety of forms”, on these days there were meetings, prayer vigils, times for regrouping and examining in greater depth the specifics of each form, looking prophetically towards the future”.
The aims of the meeting were to get to know better the great mosaic of consecrated life, to live communion rediscovering the single call uniting the variety of forms (Ordo Virginum, monastic life, apostolic institutes, secular institutes, new institutes and new forms of consecrated life), starting out together on the path of the great Jubilee of Mercy that once more gives all consecrated people the specific mandate of their vocation: to be guided by the Father’s mercy, witnesses and builders of an authentically lived fraternity.
it was an unforgettable experience during which we met many friends and one that affirmed the way ahead for COLW. For those of you who can speak Italian enjoy the audience we all had with Pope Francis:
World Meeting for Young Religious
Four of us managed to go to Rome for the recent World Meeting of Young Consecrated men and women. Organised by the Vatican dicastery as one of the events for the Year of Consecrated life, t turned out to be an amazingly fruitful and graced time at so many levels.
It was Carina’s first visit to Rome and Sr Camilla’s first time to act as one of two simultaneously Italian to English translators. Having hired a chalet we managed to self-cater for the week and survive the 32C temperatures by downing plenty of the famous roman ice-cream. The audience with Pope Francis for the 5,000 plus participants was one of the highlights and this together with all the other presentations can be listened to in several languages on this link: http://giovaniconsacrati.chemin-neuf.fr
Eucharistic Adoration every Thursday from 11am to 5pm at Abbotswick House of Prayer
Join us in praying for an increase in vocations to the religious life and consecrated life in its many forms and for past, present and future members of COLW.
Bishop Alan Williams SM
We were so happy when Pope Francis last year appointed Father Alan Williams SM, the last Director of the National Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham, as the seventh Bishop of Brentwood. Now we have two dioceses, that of Brentwood and that of East Anglia, headed by men who have a deep love for Our Lady of Walsingham.
That couldn’t be better news for our little community. Mary is really moving things in England, her dowry. It also confirms our hunch that God is truly at work on the bigger picture (COLW being only a small part of this) and slowly but surely we will get more glimpses of the many graces he has destined for our land and beyond.
His episcopal ordination took place at Brentwood Cathedral on 1st July 2014 at 12 noon. You will find some highlights on this page.
Fr Alan says he thrives on working with people. “That brings out the best in me – we can learn together and go forward together.” He added: “I presume on the goodness of people. If you are open to people, they are open to you.”
Winds of Change Radio Show
Take a listen to a recent interview that Sr Theresa and Jim (our first brother to be) recently had in Chicago on the Winds of Change Radio Show.
Smile though your heart is aching
A Reflection from Sr Ruth Burrows for the Easter Tridiium
- Download the article in PDF format by clicking here.
Year of Consecrated Life
We are currently celebrating the Year of Consecrated Life, which began on 30th November 2014 and will end on the 2nd February 2016. The theme given it by the Vatican is ‘Wake up the World’.
The year has a three-pronged focus
- renewal for men and women in consecrated life,
- thanksgiving among the faithful for the service of sisters, brothers, priests, and nuns,
- invitation to young Catholics to consider a religious vocation.
As a community we will be offering some events before and during this year in order in order to highlight this three-pronged focus.
‘A Space for Silence’
A piece on Abbotswick in The Tablet, 23 November 2013.
- Download the article in PDF format by clicking here.
Meeting with Pope Francis – Saturday 6th July 2013
We recently went with several discerners to a Year of Faith pilgrimage to Rome for novices, seminarians and those on a vocational journey. Pope Francis joined the 6000 people on this pilgrimage for a meeting in the Pope Paul VI audience hall. Before his arrival we were entertained by musicians (including The Priests) and heard several testimonies (including that of Fr Robert Barron). Go to the 1 hr 9 mins point of the video to see him arriving in the hall. Look out for Sr Theresa who managed to shake his hand!
Download the full text of Pope Francis’s address (translated into English) and read what he shared with the everyone during this meeting).
The very modern lives of our nuns in Essex
Echo – January 16, 2012
It’s hard not to be in awe of the dedication of modern-day nuns, whether or not you have faith. Unflinching in their quest to tackle difficult issues head on, a nun’s life is anything but sheltered. And, it seems, more young women are looking to devote their life to God. Of those choosing to become nuns, the number of women under 40 has risen from 42 per cent in 2006 to 70 per cent in 2010, according to the National Office for Vocation.
LOUISE HOWESON went to the Colchester Canonesses of the Holy Sepulchre and Our Lady of Walsingham in Brentwood to find out more…
- Download the article in PDF format by clicking here.
Our Lady of Walsingham is yearning to save England – her dowry
Listen to Sr Camilla’s thoughts for the Sundays of Lent on BBC Radio Essex, each Sunday morning at around 6.50am and again at around 8.50am during the Sunday morning show hosted by Peter Holmes. Alternatively listen to them here where they will be uploaded each week once they have been broadcast.
Sunday Week 1:
Sunday Week 2:
Sunday Week 3:
Sunday Week 4:
Sunday Week 5:
Sunday Week 6:
Why Theresa chose to become a religious sister…
Interview on BBC Radio Sussex , recorded in April 2011. Listen to the interview:
Songs of Praise – 3rd January 2010
“In this clip we get a glimpse of life at Abbotswick as the community prepares to welcome a new member (who has since left after discerning that the community was not the right one for her)”
In Essex, the youngest religious order in the UK is welcoming new sisters… and its first man.
Interview on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme, recorded in December 2009. Listen to the interview:
It’s a busy Friday evening at Heathrow’s Terminal 5, and BA air stewardess Katie Colbran, 32, has just stepped off a flight from Milan. In September she’ll hang up her BA uniform for the last time, and in its place she’ll put on a powder-blue scapular and become Sister Katie of the Community of Our Lady of Walsingham…
Please Note: This interview was conducted before our first brother joined the community.
The Times Magazine, 10th May 2009
The number of women called to become nuns in Britain has shrunk to just a handful. Yet in Essex, the country’s youngest religious order is preparing to welcome new sisters – and perhaps even the odd brother – as the country’s first mixed convent takes shape
Running Out Of Nuns
boloji.com, 2nd June 2007
From oil-field workers to city traders, there has been a blaze of publicity in Britain about the need to bring more women into male-dominated careers. But far less media attention has been devoted to the fact that one of the few all-female callings is under threat. While more and more women are becoming nuns worldwide, the number of novices has fallen in Britain.
“Now, how many Catholic nuns do you think there are in this country?”
On 24th June 2007, the Community of Our Lady of Walsingham was featured on the BBC Radio 4 Programme ‘Sunday’. Listen to the interview:
Of a quite different order
The Tablet, 28th April 2007
The new religious Community of Our Lady of Walsingham is the order that likes to say ‘yes’ – obedience, silent prayer,poverty and the rosary are in, but so are chilling out and trips to the movies. A distinctive departure from other orders, its statutes are designed to use the gifts of women more fully.
- You can download the article in PDF format by clicking here.
The Guardian, Friday 23 February 2007
Migrant worshippers are helping to swell Catholic congregations – and yet the ageing population of British nuns is teetering on the verge of extinction. Is there any hope for the religious sisterhood, asks Joanna Moorhead.