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Anglican Nuns To Join Catholic Church

"If I knew things would no longer be, I would have tried to remember better. "

This is Sam Krichinsky's lament from the 1990 movie Avalon about life in his in his beloved Baltimore. Sam, who had come to Baltimore in 1914, had stayed the same as the world around him changed.

Long before the fictional Sam came to Baltimore, in 1872 actually, a group of Anglican Sisters, the All Saints Sisters of the Poor, came to Baltimore to live a life of poverty, chastity, and obedience. They sought to live this live as orthodox Christians and Episcopalians. But like Sam and his beloved Baltimore, they found that while they tried to stay the same as the world around them changed.

Most acutely, they found themselves swimming against the tide in the Episcopal Church which they belong increasingly sought relevance in adapting to the whims of the culture while the sisters sought the orthodox Christian faith.

As Sam's world changed, his memory of what once was became his last refuge and when it began to fail him he knew it was lost forever and he voiced his lament. Rather than offer the same lament, the All Saints Sisters of the Poor have decided to join with those who have not forgotten, the Catholic Church.

After an intensive, years-long period of prayer and discernment, the order of All Saints Sisters of the Poor will be received into the Roman Catholic Church by the Archbishop of Baltimore on Sept. 3.

“We are very sorry for any pain that this move might cause our friends,” said the Rev. Mother Christina, superior of the order, told The LivingChurch. “But everyone must try to follow where they feel God is leading them.

“We want to be sensitive to those who do not believe as we do. We don’t want to point fingers. We are after all sinners in the eyes of God.”
...
“We tried to be faithful in The Episcopal Church as we understand scriptures, but we seem to be drifting farther and farther apart,” she said. “For the past two years in particular we felt as if we were no longer making a difference in this church. We felt as if we no longer belong.”

Mother Christina said that the order discussed its situation with a number of other Anglican groups, including the Anglican Mission in the Americas, the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, and the Anglican Church in America led by the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan. The sisters also met with the Antiochian Orthodox Church in America.

“The Roman Catholic Church was the last one we thought about asking,” Mother Christina said, but added that the order felt a strong kinship almost immediately.
When Sam Krichinsky got off the boat in 1914 and saw Baltimore for the first time all lit up he was overcome with its beauty and knew he had found his new home. I imagine the All Saints Sisters of the Poor feel share Sam's joy at finding their new home.

Sisters, welcome home.

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15 comments:

Sarah said...

woot woot! I love stories like this ...the Truth is beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Saying "christian" and "orthodox" in the same sentence when describing the Episcopalian church is just bizarre. The writing was on the wall for that church for some 80 odd years, so I really find it hard to believe these sisters were caught off guard here.

I hope these new sisters will inspire and grace our church with a love for tradition and orthodoxy.

Church Defender said...

Indeed, welcome home sisters. We hope that the Catholic Church would pray for those who are still discerning to come home.

God bless.

Paul Stokell said...

Did we trade the IHM's and the Erie Benedictines for 'em? If so, we got the better deal.

Janelle said...

Welcome home :)

Anonymous said...

The Episcopal Church get Fr. Albert Cutie and we get the good sisters. I think we got the better bargain. BTW he is now married http://www.miamiherald.com/486/story/1100573.html

Welcome Home Sisters

Suz said...

It is so affirming to hear these stories!

For another inspiring story check out the website for Sisters of Mary Mother of the Church (http://www.sistersofmarymotherofthechurch.org/)

They left a schismatic sect and came into full communion with the Church a few years back. Wonderful and holy women!

eulogos said...

It seems odd that the Roman Catholic Church was the last one they thought about asking. I mean, Anglo-Catholics "Pope" regularly. Anglo-Catholics are always aware that they are not Roman, always have to say why they are not. They are usually aware that England was under the Patriarch of the West, ie, the Pope. (by the way, can anyone remind me why he dropped that title?) So usually Rome is the first place they go once they overcome their objection to, say, the Immaculate Conception.

I wonder how their contact with the Antiochian Orthodox went? Antiochian Orthodoxy has a Western Rite Vicarate, which uses the "Rite of St. Gregory"-a slightly altered form of the old Latin Mass...and the "Rite of St Tikon" a version of the Book of Common Prayer service which is much less changed than the Catholic Anglican Use rite is.

I wouldn't say that "feeling a strong kinship" is the right reason to pick Rome. You have to believe the churches in communion with the See of Peter are The Church.

But then, we don't have the whole story here, just soundbites. I would love to hear the whole story.
Susan Peterson

Anonymous said...

Susan, it has been my experience that the Antiochans are even more vitriolic than the sedevacantists (if you can believe that). They require and demand "re-baptism", should a Catholic (and certainly an Episcopalian) join their church, where as the vast majority of Orthodox accept we have valid baptism. They can be an extremely petty and angry lot, so it may have simply come down to personality in the end.

David L Alexander said...

"But then, we don't have the whole story here, just soundbites. I would love to hear the whole story."

I've known the sisters for years, and while I can't tell you the whole story, I can tell you more. You'll see it on my blog by week's end. For now, I will only say that keeping the community together was a major consideration, including the spiritual paths of each member, thus more than one option for consideration was inevitable. That said, a leaning toward Rome seemed to me to be the most compelling.

And for the right reasons.

eulogos said...

Anonymous,

My son, who I tried to bring up Catholic, became Antiochian Orthodox. He was received by Chrismation, not rebaptism, (by the priest who is now the head (vicar?) of the Western Rite Vicarate, by the way.) I am nearly certain that this is the norm for the Antiochian Orthodox. I believer there are Orthodox groups, Old Calendarist types, who require rebaptism, as they believe that there are no sacraments at all outside of Orthodoxy. But the Antiochians have been the most open of the Orthodox groups in the US. They had a recent reorganization-sort of like a coup- under which they will be run more from outside the US so this may change. But I doubt it is going to change to the point of requiring converts to be rebaptized.
I might point out that prior to VII, although the validity of baptism by heretics was an issue which had been settled during the Donatist controversy, practically, most Catholic priests did not trust Protestant baptisms and conditionally rebaptised all their adult converts. The priest who recieved me in 1972 told me I was the first adult convert he had not rebaptized. In my case, I had been baptized Episcopalian 9 months previously, and knew very well it was a valid baptism.
In light of this history I am not surprised that some Orthodox groups rebaptize. But again, I don't think the Antiochians are among them. Unless it varies from priest to priest.
Susan Peterson

eulogos said...

Mr. Alexander...looking forward to it. You are Man with a Black Hat, right? As in the picture...
Susan

David L Alexander said...

man with black hat. Yeah, that's me.

Warren Anderson said...

Despite the well known hostility of the mainstream media and other societal pressures, by the grace of God people manage to see the Church for who She really is - the one true, good and beautiful bride of Christ. People are risking much by defying the opposition which hisses "it ain't cool to be Catholic". Rather than conform to a community tied to the culture of death, seekers are choosing to respond to God's invitation are allowing themselves to be configured to Jesus Christ and His Church. Praise and thanks be to God!

Let us pray that we each have the proper disposition necessary to be channels of God's grace. With the saints as our models in the Faith, may God grant us the ears to hear, words of love and truth and lives of holiness to point people in the direction home.

Welcome home sisters!

Dymphna said...

I used to go to retreats at this convent when I was a young mom, before I reverted back to Catholicism. This news brings me incredible joy and brings back some wonderful memories. God bless the good sisters!

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