Introduction to the community
As Sisters of CSMV, we are called to respond to our life in Community in the spirit of Mary, Mother of Jesus: “Here I am, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Our common life is centred in the worship of God through the Eucharist, the Daily Office, in personal prayer and reflection on the Scriptures. From this all else flows. Some will be involved in spiritual direction and retreat work; others in arts and crafts, CSMV archive study, gardening or music making. There is a good connection with the parish church & there are opportunities to relate with children & staff in our local schools.
Since 2016, when we agreed corporately to stay in Wantage, we have been building our life again in the Convent with a much appreciated staff & with contacts in the fast expanding market town of Wantage & in Oxford through clergy & university links. The first phase of building work & refurbishment has been completed & a service of blessing has recently occurred for our striking new Reception & for a large light & airy office space for staff of the Oxford Diocesan Trust (ODST). The new Conference area, to be called the Mother Maribel Centre, will be completed in 2020 together with the renewal of the Guest Wing. There is alternative quiet space for small groups & some individuals in the Convent as well as in our Arts & Crafts period house, White Lodge, while the construction work continues.
We have a wide-ranging list of friendly & dedicated clergy who preside for us, sometimes preaching & bringing us stimulating news.
Address: St Mary’s Convent, Wantage, Oxfordshire OX12 9AU, UK
Bishop Visitor: Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, Bishop of London
A Hundred Years of Blessing, SPCK, London, 1946.
Sister A. F. Norton, A History of CSMV, Parts I & II (1974 MA thesis) & Parts III & IV (1978 MPhil thesis), available for reading in the Convent library.
Third Order, Fellowship, Associates
The Oblates of the Community respond to their vocation in the same spirit as Mary: “Here I am, the servant of the Lord. Let it be with me according to your word.” Oblates may be married or single, women or men, ordained or lay. Most are Anglicans, but members of other denominations are also welcome. There is a common Rule of Life, based on Scripture and the Rule of St Augustine, and each Oblate is encouraged to draw up a personal Rule. There is a two-year period of mutual discernment by the Novice Oblate and the Oblate Council; the Promise made at Oblation with life intention is renewed annually. In addition to a close personal link with the Community, Oblates meet where possible in regional groups and gather annually for a day’s summer meeting. A monthly letter and information is sent out as part of prayer and support for the Oblate Fellowship, and there are annual retreats and quiet days.
Associates are those who wish to be received as ‘friends’ of the Community. Along with the Sisters, they too seek to live in the spirit of Mary’s ‘Fiat’. They live by a simple Rule of Life and undertake to pray regularly for the Community and for one another. The Associates’ Link Sister acts as a bridge between the Associates and the Community, but she delegates the running of the Associates’ fellowship to a Steering Group which keeps in touch with Associates by means of a quarterly newsletter, regular retreats and an annual Associates’ Day held at the Convent.
Sister in charge: Sister Stella CSMV
Assumed office 15 August 2016, re-elected 6 August 2019 (for 4 years)
Sister Phoebe Margaret
Sister Jean Frances
Sister Christine Ann
Sister Elizabeth Jane
30 Apr 2018 – Sister Barbara Noreen, aged 97, professed 66 years
15 Jul 2018 – Sister Helen Philippa, aged 98, professed 57 years
5 Mar 2019 – Sister Catherine Naomi, aged 103, professed 63 years
13 Sep 2020 – Sister Honor Margaret, aged 96, professed 64 years,
Revd Mother 1975-1986