Anglican Monasticism

Fr. Marshall Scott of Episcopal Chaplain at the Bedside has a great article up at the Episcopal Cafe on Anglican monasticism. Two points struck me in particular.

First, the monastic orders are one of the Episcopal Church’s best-kept secrets—and they shouldn’t be… Those of us who have experiences with them need to talk about them and invite other people to learn about them too.

Second, I confess that in the past I’ve sometimes considered the Anglican orders to be something less than the Roman ones—that the Roman ones were somehow more real or authentic. But the lives and commitments of modern Anglican monastics are no less real and no less earnest than those of Roman monastics.

Today I’d like to lift up in particular three groups who have influenced me and who have taught me about the monastic heart of Anglicanism:

  • The Order of the Holy Cross. Also, don’t miss the blog by the Prior. From my time in New York and afterward, I’ve met or have corresponded with a number of people connected to the order either as monks or associates.
  • The Order of Julian of Norwich. This is an order whose cause is close to my heart—it values tradition in its worship and common life and seeks to make the riches of the contemplative life better known and meaningful to those of us on the outside.
  • The All Saints’ Sisters of the Poor. This is a very Anglo-Catholic order of nuns who maintain the traditional hours of prayer and are situated on a beautiful rural campus (more than suitable for retreats…)

Those of us who are devoted to the Daily Office and to the Benedictine way of life in general owe it to ourselves to not just be in conversation with books. And, as great as blogs and blog communities are, even they are no substitute for actually spending time absorbing the monastic spirit from those who have really committed to living that way. Look some of these up. Look over the full range, see who’s near you, and start making some connections.

7 thoughts on “Anglican Monasticism

  1. Marshall Scott


    Thanks for the reference and comment, here and at Episcopal Cafe.

    I appreciate the importance of folks looking at the CAROA web site. I would also encourage looking at the National Association of Episcopal Christian Communities (NAECC) site. These communities, while not living together, also live lives of common discipline and mission.

  2. Michelle

    How do the Third Order Franciscans compare to these non-residental orders?

  3. JTFS

    In my neighorhood we have a school and retirement home run by the Sisters of the Transfiguration. They are such a blessing. I try to make it over as often as possible for Evensong…the sense of peace and holiness is palpable.

    Grace and Peace,

  4. Marc Meinzer

    I’ve lived with both Episcopalian and Catholic monks for a total of 14 months in three foundations. I wasn’t impressed at all so then converted to Eastern Orthodox. I decided to refuse an offer to join a Greek monastery as they were not using standard prayer books and consequently everything was quite confusing. I think that all these churches are now in bad shape and will not do well in the future. The Russians though seem to be doing quite well at both Jordanville and the Skete for converts who speak English in West Virginia. The problem with western monasticism in recent decades seems to be stemming from abolition of the separate status of lay brothers who formerly did all the manual labor. It appears that in foundations where everyone is a choir monk no work gets done. The Carthusian hermits would be the only exception since they alone remained the same after Vatican II.

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