“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation.”
The Community of Our Lady of Walsingham (COLW) was founded in the Slipper Chapel on the Feast of the Epiphany, 6th January 2004, with the aim of living and spreading the spirituality of Walsingham.
As one of the new forms of consecrated life, an Ecclesial Family of Consecrated Life, the community will eventually have three branches: one of vowed sisters, one of vowed brothers and one of married and single people as well as diocesan priest associates. The sisters at Dowry House sisters, together with the help of the lay branch, offer hospitality, spiritual accompaniment, retreats and formation to groups and individuals visiting the shrine. They also give talks in schools and parishes and do missions around the country, bringing the beauty of their charism to many beyond Walsingham.
COLW promotes a vocational culture in the Church, accompanying others that they may also experience the joy of Mary in her Yes, her ‘Fiat’ to God’s love and plan for her at the Annunciation. As our Mother, Mary teaches us how to live this ‘Fiat’. The poor little wooden house she asked Richeldis de Faverches to build in her honour was to serve as a tangible reminder that a joyful ‘Yes’ can only come from a humble and docile heart, open to receiving the Holy Spirit. Richeldis herself spent many years praying in silence and solitude within this Holy House of Nazareth and we too are asked by Our Lady to make this Holy House our own – not by praying within its walls, but by praying within the Holy House of our heart. Here it is that we can offer up all things joyfully to God in the poverty and mess of our lives. Here it is that we can imitate Mary with our own ‘Fiat’: accepting, doing and surrendering to God’s Will so that we can live moment by moment in the Divine Will, in whatever state of life we find ourselves in. This is the gift that Walsingham has for each one of us.
For further information about this new community please visit www.walsinghamcommunity.org