Friday, June 17, 2011

New monastic group growing strong: Celtic “Soul Friends”

From Delaware-

The Wilmington, DE based religious community “Anamchara Fellowship” is meeting this week for their annual gathering. Founded in 2003 by just 2 women, and canonically recognized by the Episcopal House of Bishops in 2008, this “new monastic” group has been growing yearly and already has 27 members plus external companions.

We strive to be an inclusive community, welcoming men and women, clergy and lay, married, single, or partners in a committed relationship. Members of the fellowship may live in their own homes or in groups as the ability for that arises. Each member must be self supporting, and we are bound to each other by common ideals and a commitment to prayer and service. Our primary ministries focus on catechesis, pastoral care and spiritual direction. (Anamchara Fellowship, home page)

The fellowship follows a Celtic tradition where each new member is assigned by the Formation Guardian, Sister Julian, a one-on-one Anamchara. This “soul friend” according to Abbess Barbara Jean Brown (Sister BJ), “seeks to walk with the seeker and may act as a guide, mentor, and confessor.” Although initially a guiding role, Sister BJ relates that often these relationships develop to the spiritual benefit of both “soul friends.”

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