Tag Archives: Sister


“The terms ‘nun’ and ‘sister’ are often used interchangeably, though technically there is a difference between the two.

Here’s a simple explanation: A nun is a woman who lives a contemplative life in a monastery which is usually cloistered, which means ‘enclosed’. Her ministry and prayer life is centred within and around the monastery for the good of the world.

A sister is a woman who lives, ministers, and prays within the world. While she often lives with other sisters, her life is called ‘active’ or ‘apostolic’ because she is engaged in the works of mercy and other ministries that take the Gospel to others.

As you can see, the difference is both in their charism (their spirituality and community lifestyle) and also their apostolate (type of work). Note that both nuns and sisters use the title ‘Sister,’ such as ‘Sister Mary Elizabeth.’

– This information was printed on an information leaflet about vocations, Archdiocese of Southwark. For more information about religious orders, links to websites of religious orders/Ecclesial Communities and consecrated life please visit (external link)


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A group of Anglican nuns from the Community of St Mary the Virgin (CSMV) in Wantage, Oxfordshire, is to be received into the full communion with the Catholic Church in January 2013. Eleven sisters from the historic community will join the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, the structure established by Pope Benedict XVI to enable groups of Anglicans to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church while retaining elements of their liturgical, spiritual, and pastoral heritage. The group includes the Superior of the community, Mother Winsome CSMV.

The CSMV sisters will be joined by Sr Carolyne Joseph, formerly of the Society of St Margaret in Walsingham, who joined the Ordinariate in January 2011. Together, they will initially be established as a Public Association of the Faithful within the Personal Ordinariate. They will be known as the Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary and will continue in their work of prayer and contemplation, while retaining certain of their Anglican traditions and practices. Foremost amongst these is the tradition of English plainchant for which these sisters are well known.

After consultation with Church of England authorities, it has been decided that the sisters will move from their convent in Wantage and, after reception into the Catholic Church, will spend a period of time with an established Catholic community. Following this, the newly established Ordinariate community will seek to find a suitable new home. Mgr Keith Newton, the Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, said: “The Community of St Mary the Virgin in Wantage has been at the heart of the Church of England’s religious life since the mid-19th-century.

“The contribution of the community to the life of the Anglican Communion has been significant, not least through the community’s care for those marginalised by society in Britain, and also in India and South Africa. Speaking of the decision of the sisters to enter the Personal Ordinariate, Mgr Newton continued, “Those formed in the tradition of the Oxford Movement cannot help but be moved to respond to Pope Benedict’s generous invitation to Anglicans.

The sisters have always prayed for the unity of Christians with the See of Peter, now this is to become a reality for them by means of the Ordinariate. We are truly grateful for their faith, courage, and resolve.” The community has been in discernment about the way forward since the publication of the Apostolic Constitution “Anglicanorum Coetibus” in 2009. Mother Winsome CSMV said: “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. The future of our community is a fulfilment of its origins, and, as part of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, we will continue with many of our customs and traditions whilst also seeking to grow in Christ through our relationship with the wider Church.” One sister, who was ordained in the Church of England and is now to be received as a Catholic, said: “The call to Christian unity must always be the primary motivating factor in the decision of Anglicans to enter the Catholic Church. Anything which impedes that process cannot be of God, and so must be set aside to achieve this aim, which is the will of Christ.”

Those members of the community who will remain in the Church of England have expressed their admiration and respect for those who have taken this decision. In a short statement they said: “Whilst remaining committed to their religious vows in the Church of England, the sisters of the Community of St Mary the Virgin wish the sisters joining the Ordinariate every blessing on their new life in the Catholic Church, and respect the integrity of their sense of call.” The Community of St Mary the Virgin was founded by the Reverend William John Butler and Mother Harriet CSMV as one of the first communities of nuns in the Church of England since the Reformation.
– This article by Fr James Bradley was published by “The Universe”, issue 23rd/30th December 2012


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We are of Jesuite Spirituality.
In Religious life we live the Evangelical vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience.

The Church needs religious sisters URGENTLY (ministers of religion) to bring Christ to others by a life of prayer and service lived in the community of Ignatian spirituality. Daily Mass is the centre of community life. By wearing the religious habit we are witnesses of the consecrated life. If you are willing to risk a little love and would like to find out how, contact Sister Bernadette (details below). Mature vocations are considered.

Community life is a challenge, we are called from many walks of life and nations. We should see Christ present in all. Each Sister has responded to Christ and follows her vocation in this Congregation. May our Communities be always united in heart and soul. “Love one another as I have loved you…”

In Daily Mass we receive from Him our strength, also in our time for Meditation, Spiritual Reading, Daily Office and Prayer. It does not matter what age we are, all contribute to the whole, and the prayers of the sick Sisters who can no longer be active support us in all that we undertake. We are a small Congregation: with houses in England, France, Italy and Belgium. It is hoped to have a foundation in India and there is also a special post in Africa.


The Congregation of Our Lady of Fidelity has also reprinted a book from 1876 about the inspirational life of our foundress, Mother Saint Mary, which includes 16 beautiful colour plates and is available for sale from the Convent. Should you be interested in purchasing a copy, please see the contact details below. (Cost: £12.99.) The book has been reprinted as we are preparing for the canonisation of Mother Saint Mary and anything about her life should be widely circulated. The book will also be used for the formation of Religious Sisters who need to be familiar with the spirit and life of our Mother foundress. Any profit from the sale of the book will go towards the canonisation of Mother Saint Mary.

We have been very privileged to receive a number of vocations from India and have formed the Sisters in Religious Life and also trained them professionally. Now the time has come to enable some Sisters to return to India and serve the people. To this end we are negotiating the purchase of two pieces of land in Varandgrappilly and Bangalore in India to begin two small communities there. The cost of the land and houses will be in the region of £600,000 and any donations will be channelled into this cause. To order the book or enquiries re. vocation please contact:

Sister Bernadette Davey, Convent of Our Lady of Fidelity, 147 Central Hill, Upper Norwood, London SE19 1RS, Tel: 0044 (0) 7760 297001 • Fax 0044 (0) 208 766 6579 • Email:


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