Religious community finds a new home near Dereham
- Credit: COLW
The newest religious community in the country has just received the keys to its very first convent – a converted barn complex near Dereham.
With its monastic features including cloisters, double staircase and upstairs loft that makes a beautiful oratory, the sisters of the Community of Our Lady of Walsingham (COLW) are settling in well to their new home which has been funded by benefactors and a loan from the Discalced Carmelite Fathers.
The house is also very eco-friendly, running on a biomass boiler, and has the running costs of a small terrace house.
Sister Camilla Oberding, leader of COLW, said: 'It comes with four acres of grounds and a large outdoor barn, but is also surrounded by some moors so there is a peaceful solitude and silence that will really enable the community to live out its contemplative vocation.
'It is miraculously suited to our needs - so much better than all the other properties visited that it seemed to be made for us.'
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The new house will be called the House of the Divine Will and the aim is not only to provide formation for novices there but also accompany young people discerning their vocation and support married couples and young families in the vocation they are already living, sharing with them the rich spirituality of Walsingham.
They are still fundraising to pay off the loan from the Carmelites and also to finish renovating the house so that a suitable library and chapel can be built.
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The community was entrusted with a Carmelite library and this will be available for members of the public to access.
They will continue their work in Walsingham running the Dowry House Retreat Centre which opened last year and at the Catholic National Shrine.
As one of the new forms of consecration recognised by the church, an ecclesial family of consecrated life, they welcome women and men.
Dedicated to Our Lady of Walsingham they pray and work for the re-evangelisation of England and the western world.
* The community is also looking for a volunteer office administrator at the Dereham base so that they are freer to welcome visitors to the shrine and retreatants at Dowry House.
For further information visit www.walsinghamcommunity.org or call 01328 801019.