A new community of contemplative religious Sisters has arrived in the Diocese of Portsmouth.
The Sisters of Maria Stella Matutina will be based in the parish of St Joseph’s, Grayshott, Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth announced on Sunday in a letter to parishes.
In his letter Bishop Egan said: “The Sisters, although contemplative, are not enclosed and therefore will participate in various evangelistic activities both in the parish and in the diocese. The Sisters are supported financially through donations received and also through their manual work including craftwork, pottery, leatherwork, candle-making, carpentry, bee keeping, calligraphy, picture framing, jam making and fruit harvests.”
The community, which is named after “Mary the Morning Star”, was founded in Spain last year and already has 225 Sisters worldwide, representing almost 20 nationalities.
Their primary aim is to pray for the work of the new evangelisation. Their daily routine is mostly dedicated to prayer and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and they spend each weekend recalling the Easter Triduum, beginning with Holy Hour every Thursday evening, meditating on the mystery of the Agony in the Garden.
The lives of the Sisters are based on a balance between solitude and community life. For this reason, they say, they “like to have priories with seven to 15 Sisters, which allows these two dimensions of our contemplative life to develop.”
The Sisters add: “We live in buildings that do not require expensive investments not maintenance expenses that would go beyond our resources, and we often make the necessary repairs ourselves. We incarnate our vow of poverty through our manual work and service.”
They continue: “We live in convents that are uniquely reserved for us. We offer monastic hospitality proper to our contemplative life, which allows us to share with others what is most essential to our life: prayer, the Word of God and the search for truth.”
In his letter to parishes Bishop Egan wrote: “Let us give thanks to God for the presence of this new community in our diocese, especially this year as the Church celebrates the Year of Consecrated Life.”