Clarke's background was in accounting. A major problem for those remaining Anglican was that we eleven sisters were in the main, but not exclusively, the able bodied members who provided the work and management to keep the Community going. The Diocesan Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Mercy was established by Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz May 4, 1999. Some aspects derived from the wider Church of England over which we had no control, impacted upon our community. Now as a Catholic, I KNOW.”. Province When Presentation congregations in Ireland, England, India, Pakistan, Africa and the Philippines came together in 1976 to form the Union of Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 17 of the Irish motherhouses and the English congregation had branch houses in the United States. They settled in Birmingham after their reception into Full Communion with the Catholic Church last year. When the conclave was electing Pope Francis I, we were not on the outside looking in; they were electing OUR Pope, OUR Holy Father. No more was said that day but the generous, open hearted Abbess consulted her community and they unanimously agreed to open their home to us. Share our vision: to build the House of God. Every sister in the community had the opportunity to participate in these explorations. But at least there was absolute clarity – once Catholic there could be no return. The gentle and loving Abbess of Saint Cecilia’s opened her Abbey, locked the door behind us and gave us the peace we needed. I have always felt that if at any point God was asking me to transfer or to be in the Catholic Church it would have to be as strong and clear as this. The coach sat on the ferry, packed with tired nuns. At last, we could be received, and on 1st January! I will describe some of the tensions that surface when Anglicans and Catholics emerge from the same community but for a time the two groups have to continue living together in the same building. The discernment process Our experience was that over the passage of time Religious Life in the Church of England, this ‘best kept secret’ had been pushed to the margins. “Let my people go!” It was ringing in my ears silently, and we were crossing the sea. We had reached the point where the community needed to be reformed at a deep spiritual level. In fact some of what CSMV traditionally did best, our Divine Office and our English Plainchant, is precisely what was being welcomed by Pope Benedict as -in his words -‘a treasure to be shared’ with the whole of the Catholic Church. I care very much about Christian Unity. Over the next several decades, community leaders directed significant resources on improving the education of the sisters, who were responsible for teaching a large number of students. There were harrowing moments particularly when those we had considered good friends turned against us. There seemed no human way forward. A priest there said to me: ‘Let’s face it, you’re not just a middle of the road Anglican are you …’ – it was a statement rather than a question and I had to agree. Eleven of us were from the same community. We were going to the Benedictine Abbey of Ryde, across the Solent. At this point there were significant legal issues. These times together as Catholic minded sisters became a lifeline for us as the negotiations between the Community and the Anglican authorities dragged on month after month. Since its beginning, the community has responded to the current needs of the day. The Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a worldwide religious community of Catholic women dedicated to serving God by responding to the needs of God’s people. One of the sisters describes our departure as follows: This discernment was reached after constant prayer and in discussion with spiritual advisers. But He called, and once again they responded in the spirit of the Blessed Virgin Mary with their “fiat”. One of the sisters shares her sense of calling in the following words written in 2011: Ministries of the sisters include working as hospital, hospice, and prison chaplains, working with those with addictions, people with AIDS, pastoral service, spiritual direction, counseling, and education. We have been given our beloved sisters at Ryde. To help sisters understand exactly what Pope Benedict was proposing, I called the whole Community to a meeting with representatives from the Catholic Church, who would be able to answer any of their questions.