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Convent welcomes first English Sister in 40 years

The Norfolk community has gained two Sisters, two novices and a postulant (Daughters of Divine Charity)

A Norfolk convent has welcomed five prospective Sisters in a ceremony, almost doubling its numbers.

The ceremony is usually private but an exception was made because it marked the first addition to the order from England for almost 40 years.

The additions to the Daughters of Divine Charity brings the total number at the Swaffham convent from seven to 12.

A prospective novice from Yorkshire, postulant Judith Charmak, was welcomed into the congregation at a private ceremony before the Mass.

Two novices, Sister Mary Goncalves and Sister Anna Yeo, were admitted to the order on the same day as two Sisters – Sister Renata Pivarnikova and Sister Michaela Switaj – took their first vows at a Mass celebrated by the Bishop of East Anglia at Our Lady of Pity church in Swaffham.

The Sisters run a nursery, a care home and the Sacred Heart school in Swaffham. The school is one of the top 10 schools in West Norfolk for GCSE results.

Sister Anna explained: “In the parishes where our convents are situated, many of the Sisters are Eucharistic ministers, visiting the sick, the elderly and housebound, working in youth ministry such as confirmation groups, university, parishes and youth events among other needs. All our work is to make God’s love visible.”

The ceremony was attended by members of the Sisters’ families from Poland, Slovakia, East Timor, Derbyshire and Yorkshire. The order was founded in Vienna in 1868.