The interview of Sister Mary Joseph over at Ascent of Carmel, speaks powerfully. Here are some extracts:
Sister Mary Joseph is someone I am proud to call a friend. Having just come into the Church through the Anglican Ordinariate, I really feel that she is one of those hidden pillars holding up the Church.
Years ago, as an anti-Christian, I hated religion and Catholicism in particular so much that I remember seeing her one day and sneering at her audibly. I don’t know if she even noticed, but for years I carried it in my heart. Not only am I now truly humbled to be able to know her, but now, I am proud to present the following interview with this remarkable woman. The following is truly an opening of the windows and letting in a little fresh air of hope – enjoy.
1. Tell me a little about yourself, your conversion to Catholicism, and the Anglican Ordinariate.
My background is Anglican. Both my grandfathers were deeply religious men, one was an Anglican priest, he died when I was 9 yrs, and the other wanted to be an Anglican priest but was unable because he was profoundly deaf, he died before I was 2 yrs. I do believe their prayers have helped me in my own Christian pilgrimage. My father lost his faith during the war and was for many years very opposed to my vocation as a nun. It was only during his last years he became at first reconciled and then supportive of my vocation. Through my mother we went to church every week (and Sunday School for my siblings and me) as a family but that was the extent of our Christian education, no prayers of any kind at home. And yet, my earliest memory is when I was 2 1/2 years praying on my own. And when I was nine talking to my father and realising he didn’t believe in God and feeling very upset that I would not see him in Heaven.
When I was 11 yrs we moved to New Zealand and family church going stopped. I found the nearest Anglican church and started attending on my own. When I was 13 years I found the Catholic church in our small town and began to go there after school to pray before the Blessed Sacrament. Soon after I felt a call to the Religious Life. Somehow I acquired a manual on the Catholic faith put out by the Catholic Truth Society. I read and reread it gradually realising this was for me the whole truth. Over the years there was a continual pull to the Catholic Church but also a longing for unity between the Catholic and Anglican church. So I prayed for that unity and stayed in the Anglican church, though very much the Anglo-Catholic end of the Anglican Church. When I was 21 years I moved to England and still the pull to the Catholic Church., and still the prayer for unity. I entered the Religious Life and in time took my vows, at the same time feeling discouraged at what was happening in the Anglican church and the widening gulf between the Catholic and Anglican Church.
When I came to Canada at the end of 2000 I was dismayed to find an even more liberal atmosphere within the Anglican Church. Eventually I found it no longer possible to stay in the Anglican Communion. I was introduced to the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (ACCC) and was very attracted to its mandate for unity with the Catholic Church. I was required to assent to the Catechism of the Catholic Church which I was happy to do. I was very excited about the possibility of union with Rome and knew that some of the Bishops of the ACCC had traveled to Rome to present the request of the ACCC for this unity. The answer came in November 2009 with the ” Apostolic Constitution of Pope Benedict VI that establishes Personal Ordinariates for those of Anglican heritage entering into full communion with the Catholic Church while maintaining distinctive elements of their theological, spiritual and liturgical patrimony”.( taken from the web page of the Fellowship of Blessed John Henry Newman, http://www.blessedjohnhenrynewmanfellowship.ca) On January 1st the Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter was established for North America. Sadly some in our ACCC parish decided they did not want to take this step. If was hard to leave the church building, it was much much harder to leave many of our fellow parishioners behind, but we did and our small group kept the faith, formed into the Fellowship of Blessed John Henry Newman and was received into the Catholic Church on April 15th after the appropriate preparation. Our liturgy is Anglican Use which while being fully Catholic maintains elements of our Anglican patrimony.
2. What is your prayer life like?
As a Religious I pray the Divine Office…
There is much more here, including some spiritual advice, and:
7. What was it like to be received into the Catholic Church from the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada?
The desire for unity with Rome was what drew me into the ACCC. Of course I also loved the traditional liturgy and the Anglo- Catholic style of worship but the possibility of unity with Rome was the draw, this I had been praying for so many years. And then to be offered that unity while at the same time being given the opportunity of maintaining elements of our Anglican patrimony, that is such a generous and gracious gift of the Holy Father. So in answer to your question – it was pure joy, the fulfillment of so many years prayer going right back to when Iwas a teenager, I have come home and that is the best thing in the world!