New Dereham convent is blessed by Bishop Alan

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New Dereham convent is blessed by Bishop Alan

The country’s newest convent – a converted barn near Dereham in Norfolk – has held a first Mass, a family day and been blessed by Bishop Alan Hopes. Sr Theresa reports.

The Community of Our Lady of Walsingham (COLW), the newest religious community in Britain, hosted its second family day at its new convent, House of Divine Will, on Tuesday September 4.

These days are intended to support families who are home-schooling and other lay people who would also like to find out more about the COLW charism.

The afternoon started with Mass in the barn – the first Mass celebrated there – on an altar donated by the Missionary Franciscan Sisters who recently closed their house in Clacton, Essex. All then enjoyed a picnic lunch in the grounds.

Then COLW sisters, assisted by the Ignite mission team, looked after the 40 or so children who were present, whilst Sr Camilla gave a talk to the parents about the spirituality of Walsingham.

Then earlier today (September 5), Bishop Alan came to bless the House of the Divine Will – the first convent acquired by COLW. Thanks to the generosity of many generous benefactors, the sisters, who also run Dowry House Retreat in Walsingham, now have a base in which to grow and expand.

Bishop Alan celebrated Mass in the community chapel which overlooks the beautiful moors. In his homily he spoke of the example Jesus gave us in how to cope with the demands and stresses of life and ministry – that he would go and find a lonely place to pray, to be alone with his Father. This relationship was the source of his energy to respond to the needs of the people who came to him.

The sisters certainly find that time in their new convent recharges their spiritual batteries so they can continue to serve well all those they meet, especially in their work at Walsingham.

After Mass, Bishop Alan walked throughout the house blessing each area with holy water. He then joined the sisters for a delicious lunch, courtesy of Sr Gabi.

The Sisters’ work at Walsingham includes hosting a series of retreats on the Spirituality of Walsingham which focus on helping people to accept, surrender to, fulfil and live in the Will of God as Mary did.

Anyone interested in the 2019 dates for these retreats can find out more by looking on the events page of the Dowry House website:

Pictured top is Bishop Alan with the COLW sisters and, above, the family day and Mass in the barn.