A Norfolk convent has welcomed five prospective Sisters, almost doubling its numbers.
The additions to the Daughters of Divine Charity brings the total number at the Swaffham convent from seven to 12.
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 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 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.”
A prospective novice, postulant Judith Charmak of Yorkshire, was welcomed into the congregation at a private ceremony before the Mass. After two years in the novitiate, Sisters profess the vows of poverty, obedience and chastity for the first time, as Sister Renata and Sister Michaela did on Sunday. The ceremony was attended by members of the Sisters’ families from Poland, Slovakia, East Timor, and the UK. The order was founded in Vienna in 1868.
Ampleforth abbot steps aside over abuse complaints
The abbot of Ampleforth has “temporarily stepped aside” while police investigate abuse claims from four former pupils at Ampleforth College.
North Yorkshire police are investigating claims dating from the 1990s.
Ampleforth College said in a statement: “Fr Abbot [Cuthbert Madden] denies any wrong-doing and will be cooperating fully while the allegations are investigated by the appropriate authorities. In the interests of transparency, we want to ensure the Ampleforth community and friends are aware of the current situation.”
The statement added: “This course of action accords fully with established civil and ecclesiastical protocols, and is a neutral action, which will remain in place for the duration of the investigation.”
A spokeswoman for North Yorkshire Police said the investigation was “ongoing” since the allegations were reported in August, and it had “triggered safeguarding measures which have been put in place while it continues”.
Fr Terence Richardson, the prior of Ampleforth Abbey, will act as superior. Fr Madden has been at Ampleforth for 30 years.
Rita Ora honours Mother Teresa
Pop star Rita Ora performed in Rome on Saturday in honour of Mother Teresa’s canonisation.
Ora sang at the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls at a concert celebrating Mother Teresa’s Albanian heritage.
The singer, who has Albanian parents, came to Britain as a refugee.
After a rendition of the song What Child Is This? Ora tweeted that it was “a moment I cherish forever”.
Welby to mark Assisi anniversary with the Pope
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will join Pope Francis in Assisi to mark the 30th anniversary of the first World Day of Prayer.
According to a schedule published by the Vatican, other religious leaders attending include Patriarch Bartholomew, Syrian Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II, and leaders of the Muslim, Jewish and Tendai Buddhist communities.
The event, to be held on September 20, is entitled “Thirst for Peace: Faiths and Cultures in Dialogue”.
Several victims of war will join Pope Francis and the other religious leaders at a luncheon in the Franciscan friars’ convent. In the afternoon, the Pope will hold private meetings with many of the religious leaders, including Archbishop Welby and the patriarchs.
Pope Francis will participate in the concluding ceremonies of a three-day event sponsored by the Rome-based Community of Sant’Egidio.
He will also participate in an ecumenical prayer service in the lower Basilica of St Francis.
After their prayer services, the Pope and religious leaders will meet in the square outside the basilica to listen to the testimony of a victim of war, to share their thoughts about peace-making and to sign a common appeal.
The first World Day of Prayer, organised by St John Paul II, brought together leaders from 32 Christian organisations and 11 other religions for prayer and fasting. It marked a new era in inter-religious understanding.
But, it was criticised by traditionalists who said it promoted the idea that one religion was no better than another.