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BBC carries feature on Dereham based religious sisters

The popular BBC online website has carried a feature about the vocational stories of the sisters of the Community of Our Lady of Walsingham near Dereham. The story, titled “I wanted seven kids but instead I became a nun”, shares the journeys of Sr Catherine, Sr Theresa, and Sr Camilla.

At 26, Sr Catherine, initially dreaming of marriage and motherhood, found her calling through experiences of profound peace in prayer. “I can remember those times where I’d come across a chapel or a church and have that real sense of deep peace – almost a sense of being held – in God’s presence,” she shared.

Her life in the convent, though challenging, is deeply fulfilling. Paul Moseley, BBC News, reports: “A typical day involves at least three hours in prayer and silent contemplation. But Catherine and the other sisters are also involved in the community, giving talks in schools, working in prisons, and also with university students.” The sisters also enjoy crafting, baking, and movie nights, creating a balanced life of contemplation and community engagement.

Sr Theresa, now 39, has been with the community for almost 15 years. She recalls her initial hesitation but also a deep-seated joy when considering the religious life. “I had an inkling when I was about 18 that God was saying ‘You know, you could be a sister.’ And, at first, I thought ‘Oh no Lord, surely not,'” she explained. Her work as an assistant chaplain at a local university allows her to nurture young people’s faith, fulfilling her motherly instincts in a spiritual context. “There’s that idea of nurturing others and helping them to grow and really flourish,” she says.

Sr Camilla, who has been a sister for almost 40 years, found a different expression of her vocation in religious life. Formerly a palliative care nurse, she sees her role as a continuation of her love for God and people. “I think if I had been a nurse and got married, I would have had a similar kind of freedom. But the possibility to serve others – and the breadth of experiences I’ve had because of this life – has made it even more beautiful in many ways.”

The community’s convent, known as ‘House of the Divine Will’, was a former family home converted in 2018. The sisters hope to expand in the future to include men who wish to join them as brothers. “We are seeing more women interested in this kind of life and also some men approaching us, with an idea of becoming brothers in the future,” Sr Camilla noted.

The Community of Our Lady of Walsingham exemplifies a life of joy, service, and deep faith. As Sr Camilla puts it, “I do believe that if young people knew just how beautiful this life is, many more would choose it. It’s almost a sense that people just don’t know how beautiful the interior peace is when you have a life and relationship with God.”

Pictured above, from the left, are Sr Camilla, Sr Catherine, Sr Gabriela and Sr Theresa from the Community of Our Lady of Walsingham.

Credit to BBC, original story: