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.