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Bishop Peter’s Christmas Message

In his first Christmas message as the new Bishop of East Anglia, the Rt Rev Peter Collins looks at good news that enlightens a world threatened by darkness.


(Click on above link to hear the video message. Otherwise read it below)

‘Once more we celebrate the nativity of Jesus Christ. This is my first Christmas in your midst as Bishop of East Anglia. Together we rejoice to hear the proclamation of the angel: “today in the town of David, Bethlehem in Judea, a saviour has been born to you.”

fering the embrace of his love to the whole world. As heralds of peace, let us embrace one and all.

In all humility, we accompany the shepherds and approach the stable. We encounter Mary and Joseph, then, kneeling in adoration, we behold the Christ child, enveloped in swaddling clothes as he lay in the manger. We adore thee, o Christ, and we praise thee. Here we behold the good news that enlightens the whole world, bringing fulfilment to the prophetic message proclaimed by Isaiah of old: “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; on those who live in a land of deep shadow a light has shone.”

Our world is ever threatened by darkness. As a global community, we recognise that the balance of our environment is being lost; the stability of the international order is undermined by the violence of warfare; the wellbeing of our brothers and sisters is jeopardised by widespread injustice, malicious intent and selfish indulgence.

We are all facing the challenges of economic hardship. We are all experiencing uncertainty as we strive to chart our future course. We can all ask the question: “Where is the light to be found?”

Once there rose a star in the east which guided the wise towards the source of all light. We profess and proclaim that the divine word made flesh was, and is, the true light that enlightens all people. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, with the spiritual acceptance and loving embrace of the blessed Virgin Mary, the only-begotten son of the eternal father came into our midst. In absolute humility he was, and is, embedded in the world, embedded in our hearts.

This child will grow to his maturity and he calls us to accompany him. We are invited to undertake the journey of our lives in his company. There will be days of joy and there will be days of sacrifice. It will be His ultimate sacrifice that will lead us all to glory. Only when we are bathed in the light of His resurrection can we begin to comprehend our own existence and our eternal destiny.

As we celebrate Christmas, we are charged with a great responsibility. We are called to be ‘heralds of peace’. This Christmas, let us recognise how interconnected we are, how interconnected is our world.

From all points of the compass – north, south, east and west – the human family is drawn together in Christ. The child in the manger will become the man upon the cross, offering the embrace of his love to the whole world. As heralds of peace, let us embrace one and all.

“Glory to god in the highest heaven and peace to all people who enjoy his favour.”

I wish you a blessed, joyful and peaceful Christmas.’

Carols at the Convent

In Silence and Hope


In silence and hope

‘In silence and hope shall your strength be’ (Is 30:15) and so it has been these past 5 months, since the end of June, when allegations were presented against two of our sisters. For several weeks we carried on with our work at Dowry House and suddenly at the end of July we were told to leave immediately all Walsingham Trust property. It was a traumatising experience for us all and one which we offered up for priests who are unjustly accused. The following months we lived at our formation house in Dereham where we allowed the purifying work of the Holy Spirit to continue unimpeded in our hearts as individuals and as a community. Thank you, Lord!

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church.” (Col 1:24) This is not easy to say, let alone live. The psychological and emotional pain of these months cannot be underestimated and yet the spiritual fruits are also undeniable.  A Colwelian (i.e. a member of COLW in whatever branch he or she is) is one who ought to mediate with Christ, to be another humanity in which he can renew his whole mystery, in which he can perpetuate his life of reparation, sacrifice, praise and adoration and offer it all especially for the Shrine and for the conversion of England.

The support of our closest friends made up for the lack of support from elsewhere and enabled us to allow the chiselling action of the Father’s Will to do his work in our hearts and minds. In effect we really started Advent extremely early in this waiting, adoring of his will in the situation and silently allowing our hearts to be hollowed out – to create more space for the love of God to enter in and do his gentle work of purification. How much hubris we carry! How deep is the root or our personal sin! How much expiation we need to do before we can even think of offering up sacrifice for others! So it is when he allows the unexpected to happen, when he ruptures our daily living with a tsunami of grace, throwing us upside down and inside out. When all we can cry out is Abba! Father! Not my will, but yours be done! When our humanity is crying out ‘enough’ even as our spirit desires to surrender! When the flesh is weak and longs for comfort even as the spirit is strong and cries out ‘Thank you God’! How St Bernadette’s spiritual testament speaks into this. How wonderful it was to be able to visit her relics and pray before them when they came to Norwich Cathedral during this difficult time.

One of the most painful things was being exiled from our spiritual home, not being able to go to the Slipper Chapel – where the inspiration for the community was received. Only a Colwelian can understand the pain of this especially for those sisters who had no accusations made against them. And yet how much greater is their merit in the eyes of God when united in the Divine Will to the sufferings of Christ. Only in heaven will we be able to understand the gift of God’s mercy in all this. So, thank you Lord even for this!

In this hollowing out of our hearts you are making us into a true Holy House wherein you can dwell and take your rest. We often put obstacles to this inflowing of God’s love, and it is only in the situations of life where we feel that we are losing control that such obstacles are removed. So, we write also to encourage those who feel caught in untenable, unjust, painful or difficult situations to trust God’s time in your life. He always answers eventually. Truth and love always win in the end. We must just be silent and allow him to work. All he asks for is our love and our trust even when nothing is clear or certain.

Then as he fills us with his love, we can slowly learn to love like him, as Pope Francis said recently in Bahrain ‘Love everyone and love always’. No one excluded. Friends and enemies, people who like us and people who don’t like us. We will never be liked or understood by everyone, so we must never aim for this. Yet, we can try and love everyone… which means to think well of everyone. And to fight against the gossip that kills people’s reputations and does so much damage to the building up of community. An image from the film ‘The Nativity’ often comes to mind: when Mary and Joseph leave Nazareth for Bethlehem, they pass by neighbours who whisper in a derogatory way about her pregnant state. Both Mary and Joseph are unperturbed, entrusting with a laugh the secret they carry within to the Heavenly Father. Small villages, neighbourhoods etc can sometimes be like that. So please pray as we return to our spiritual home to always share the love of God that we have experienced in these months of ‘retreat’ in Dereham. Even and especially when the gift that COLW hides within is often not recognised because it is carried in such poor vessels. For nothing can separate us from his love. (Rom 8:31-39)

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

Live Alongside Formation Weeks

Mon 15th – Mon 22nd AUGUST or

Tues 30th AUGUST to Tues 6th SEPTEMBER

Who is this live alongside experience for?

We are currently able to offer spaces to a maximum of seven people aged 18-34, this number is based on people sharing. We will be moving between our bases in Dereham and Walsingham depending on the schedule each day. However, we hope that next year we can extend our invitation to more people and publicise it more widely.

What will you be doing?

You will be living alongside the community at Dereham and also occasionally staying in Walsingham at our house there when the occasion arises. It will be a time of sharing in our daily life, which generally runs according to the following schedule:

6:50 Adoration (an hour of adoration can also be had later on in the day)
7:50 Breakfast
8:30 Morning Prayer or departures for those working at the Shrine
9:00 Work/study
12:00 Angelus, Mass and Midday Prayer
13:00 Lunch with time for exercise or rest. Work/study
16:30 Evening Prayer and Fiat Rosary
18:00 Supper
19:00 Recreation (time for fun and sharing as a community, what we do varies according to the day)
20:45 Night Prayer and Great Silence begins until adoration the following day

You will have accompaniment with one of the Sisters, and there will be times of structured formation and input each week along with space for study. This will be customised as far as possible to suit your personal needs and the needs of the group, but some areas we
will explore include:
– Walsingham: its history, message and spirituality.
– Discernment: growth in freedom.
– Human formation: called to the fulness of our humanity in and with Christ.
– Scripture: deepening our love of the Word.
– The Eucharist: our source and summit.
– The New Evangelisation: becoming missionary disciples.

There are a few hours each day given to work, either for the Shrine, House in Dereham (which includes groundwork), or the wider apostolate of the Community. This may entail helping out with work at the Shrine occasionally. You are encouraged to take part in the prayer life of the community which includes all that is listed in our horarium above but also includes seeking to do all our tasks in, through and with God so we
more and more become prayer.

When and for how long?

This live alongside program will run from Friday 15th August – Monday 22nd August  or Monday 29th – Monday 5th September 2022 for a week. We accept applications until all spaces are full or up until the start of August, whatever comes first. Informal interviews will take place remotely via zoom over the course of that month.

How much will this cost?

Board and lodging would be provided. However, we are religious community and most of our income comes from the charity of others. We suggest a donation of £10 per night for students and £20 per night for waged to help the Community cover food and living expenses, but please don’t let financial constraints be an obstacle. If you have any concerns about this, do contact us! You are encouraged to approach your parish, people you may know etc. to obtain funding, we can provide some help and suggestions regarding this matter.

For further information and application forms email Catherine:

Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

On the 25th March 2022, Pope Francis in union with all the bishops of the world, consecrated humanity and especially the Ukraine and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It was a particularly moving experience for Sr Camilla. who having been in an Institute dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima before being part of this new community, has waited some 35 years for this to happen. Here are some photos of the day and the words of the consecration:


O Mary, Mother of God and our Mother, in this time of trial we turn to you.  As our Mother, you love us and know us: no concern of our hearts is hidden from you.  Mother of mercy, how often we have experienced your watchful care and your peaceful presence!  You never cease to guide us to Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

Yet we have strayed from that path of peace.  We have forgotten the lesson learned from the tragedies of the last century, the sacrifice of the millions who fell in two world wars.  We have disregarded the commitments we made as a community of nations.  We have betrayed peoples’ dreams of peace and the hopes of the young.  We grew sick with greed, we thought only of our own nations and their interests, we grew indifferent and caught up in our selfish needs and concerns.  We chose to ignore God, to be satisfied with our illusions, to grow arrogant and aggressive, to suppress innocent lives and to stockpile weapons.  We stopped being our neighbour’s keepers and stewards of our common home.  We have ravaged the garden of the earth with war and by our sins we have broken the heart of our heavenly Father, who desires us to be brothers and sisters.  We grew indifferent to everyone and everything except ourselves.  Now with shame we cry out: Forgive us, Lord!

Holy Mother, amid the misery of our sinfulness, amid our struggles and weaknesses, amid the mystery of iniquity that is evil and war, you remind us that God never abandons us, but continues to look upon us with love, ever ready to forgive us and raise us up to new life.  He has given you to us and made your Immaculate Heart a refuge for the Church and for all humanity.  By God’s gracious will, you are ever with us; even in the most troubled moments of our history, you are there to guide us with tender love.

We now turn to you and knock at the door of your heart.  We are your beloved children.  In every age you make yourself known to us, calling us to conversion.  At this dark hour, help us and grant us your comfort.  Say to us once more: “Am I not here, I who am your Mother?”  You are able to untie the knots of our hearts and of our times.  In you we place our trust.  We are confident that, especially in moments of trial, you will not be deaf to our supplication and will come to our aid.

That is what you did at Cana in Galilee, when you interceded with Jesus and he worked the first of his signs.  To preserve the joy of the wedding feast, you said to him: “They have no wine” (Jn 2:3).  Now, O Mother, repeat those words and that prayer, for in our own day we have run out of the wine of hope, joy has fled, fraternity has faded.  We have forgotten our humanity and squandered the gift of peace.  We opened our hearts to violence and destructiveness.  How greatly we need your maternal help!

Therefore, O Mother, hear our prayer.
Star of the Sea, do not let us be shipwrecked in the tempest of war.
Ark of the New Covenant, inspire projects and paths of reconciliation.
Queen of Heaven, restore God’s peace to the world.
Eliminate hatred and the thirst for revenge, and teach us forgiveness.
Free us from war, protect our world from the menace of nuclear weapons.
Queen of the Rosary, make us realize our need to pray and to love.
Queen of the Human Family, show people the path of fraternity.
Queen of Peace, obtain peace for our world.

O Mother, may your sorrowful plea stir our hardened hearts.  May the tears you shed for us make this valley parched by our hatred blossom anew.  Amid the thunder of weapons, may your prayer turn our thoughts to peace.  May your maternal touch soothe those who suffer and flee from the rain of bombs.  May your motherly embrace comfort those forced to leave their homes and their native land.  May your Sorrowful Heart move us to compassion and inspire us to open our doors and to care for our brothers and sisters who are injured and cast aside.

Holy Mother of God, as you stood beneath the cross, Jesus, seeing the disciple at your side, said: “Behold your son” (Jn 19:26).  In this way he entrusted each of us to you.  To the disciple, and to each of us, he said: “Behold, your Mother” (v. 27).  Mother Mary, we now desire to welcome you into our lives and our history.  At this hour, a weary and distraught humanity stands with you beneath the cross, needing to entrust itself to you and, through you, to consecrate itself to Christ.  The people of Ukraine and Russia, who venerate you with great love, now turn to you, even as your heart beats with compassion for them and for all those peoples decimated by war, hunger, injustice and poverty.

Therefore, Mother of God and our Mother, to your Immaculate Heart we solemnly entrust and consecrate ourselves, the Church and all humanity, especially Russia and Ukraine.  Accept this act that we carry out with confidence and love.  Grant that war may end and peace spread throughout the world.  The “Fiat” that arose from your heart opened the doors of history to the Prince of Peace.  We trust that, through your heart, peace will dawn once more.  To you we consecrate the future of the whole human family, the needs and expectations of every people, the anxieties and hopes of the world.

Through your intercession, may God’s mercy be poured out on the earth and the gentle rhythm of peace return to mark our days.  Our Lady of the “Fiat”, on whom the Holy Spirit descended, restore among us the harmony that comes from God.  May you, our “living fountain of hope”, water the dryness of our hearts.  In your womb Jesus took flesh; help us to foster the growth of communion.  You once trod the streets of our world; lead us now on the paths of peace.  Amen.

For a reflection on the titles of our Lady used see this link: A prayer from the heart of the great Marian tradition


Easter Monday – Monday 18th April 2022

Midday until 3pm


Enjoy the space at our convent/formation house in Dereham. Bring a picnic and gather with other families and individuals to enjoy the spring flowers on what will hopefully be a lovely sunny day. Donations invited for tea/coffee and homemade cakes. It may be a good idea to bring your own chairs and rugs in case loads of people turn up and we run out of such items.

Catherine becomes a novice

A message from Catherine: on October 7th I entered novitiate on the Memoria of Our Lady of the Rosary. I am incredibly grateful for the past 503 days (not that I’m counting….!) with this community and for all those who have kept me in prayer so far and continue to do so as I carry on this journey of discernment, please be assured of my prayers for you as well 😊

COLW Pilgrim Journey to the Holy House

A virtual journey to the Holy House for those interested in the COLW charism. After three years of work (in between duties at the shrine and getting our first convent up and running), and with the indispensable feedback from lay members and priest friends, the Book of Life saw the light.

This first edition will still need editing but it is the first of many texts that will help us understand how we can live Walsingham Spirituality in depth and share the beauty of the message of Walsingham for England and the world at these times of pain and confusion. The world needs a message of hope. A message of joy – rooted in the knowledge that despite how things look God wishes us to live with peace and joy. A joy like that of Mary at the Annunciation and rooted in God’s real presence within us and around us.

Men and women from any state of life are welcome to join us as we all try to say ‘YES’ to God’s love and his will in our own lives. Young adults especially are invited to join us (with breakout groups for them led by Catherine or sr Theresa). As we learn to say a deeper yes to his love and will in the little circumstances of each day we will be able to make life-defining choices that correspond to our heart’s deepest desire – God’s dream for us.

Please check out the pilgrim bog here and contact Lizzie, who leads the lay branch with the support of Brian her husband, is you wish to join these sessions going through the Book of Life. Please note that if you have miss some of the sessions you can always catch up as they are recorded and can be sent to you.

Schedule of Zoom Sessions (at 8pm) – dates and detail

1. 6th  October 2021

    Introductory Session – Origins and Charism

    Reading before November meeting – pp. iv-ix and 1-15
2. 3rd November
    Mary Our Model
    Reading before December meeting – pp.16-23
3. 1st December
    FIat in the Divine Will
    Reading before February meeting – pp. 24-31
   8th January 2022
    COLW Epiphany celebration in Dereham
4. 2nd February
    Reading before March meeting – pp. 32-38
5. 2nd March
    Reading before April meeting – pp. 39-47
6. 7th April
    Reading before May meeting – pp. 48-58
7. 4th May
    Apostolic and Life in Community
   Reading before June meeting – pp. 59-75
8. 1th June
    The Rule and Next Steps
    Reading before the July plenary – The COLW Rule of Life
  16th July
    COLW gathering in Dereham

Lay Branch Established

With the approval of the Rule of Life for the lay branch, Lizzie (with the support of her husband Brian) has been asked to be the leader of the lay branch of COLW.

As a member of the original founding group in 2004 and now married with 3 beautiful children, she has always longed for a place in the community. So when the new decree was granted on 16th July 2017, using the new canons which allowed communities of consecrated life to have lay members more closely associated with them, this was another pivotal step on the way to realising the original inspiration: to be a community of men and women from all sates of life living in depth the spirituality of Walsingham for the conversion of England and the western world.

It was also the perfect opportunity to begin starting to write the Book of Life – which took two years of prayer and work. This Book of Life begins to explain the spirituality of COLW and is the first of other texts which will be developed in the coming years.

This is the spirituality we now try to live as vowed sisters, lay members and diocesan priests (and one day, vowed brothers and priests) and which we try to share more widely for the good of the Church to whom the charism has been given.


Called to the Fullness of Love

18th – 20th November 2022

A weekend Retreat for young adults aged 18-35 who wish to grow in self-knowledge before God the Father.

Experiencing his love in the reality of our being, we open ourselves to developing healthy psycho-sexual relationships, learning to receive and give love in a chaste manner and according to our particular state in life.

Sexuality affects all aspects of the human person in the unity of his body and soul. It especially concerns our affectivity, the capacity to love and to procreate, and in a more general way the aptitude for forming bonds of communion with others.” CCC 2332

Join others in asking the questions needed to live a consciously chaste / celibate life. Option of personal accompaniment is also available.

Sr Camilla COLW is a graduate of the Institute for Sexuality Studies (at the Catholic Theological Union/Chicago University), and the Regina Apostolorum University in Rome.

Booking a Place


This retreat is for young adults aged 18 – 35 and we are delighted to announce the following special rates:

Share a standard twin: £85

Share an ensuite twin: £100

Single standard: £125

Single ensuite: £150

Bursaries are available for those whose financial situation would prevent them from attending. Please email us for further information, letting us know at the same time how much you can manage to pay.

These rates are per person for the whole weekend! This price includes all your meals from Friday supper to Sunday lunch as well as refreshments. You can enjoy the beautiful house and grounds of Dowry House Retreat as well as access to the stunning Adoration chapel. There is also the opportunity for spiritual accompaniment from a Sister. An extra donation of £15 – £20 is invited for the work of the sisters and any resources that are provided – this can be given over the weekend. If you would like to join us, please email Dowry House.

PLEASE EMAIL DOWRY HOUSE: to register for this weekend retreat 


If you would be relying on public transport to get here, do let us know when you enquire as we’ll be able to send you info about bus links from King’s Lynn or Norwich train station. On the Sunday, we’ll be able to help arrange shared lifts / taxis or minibus rides to help you save time and money on the journey home.

Walsingham Spirituality IV – THE JOY OF WALSINGHAM – Mary, Model of Thanksgiving

Starts: Friday 16 September 2022 @ 3pm
Ends: Sunday 18 September 2022 @ 2pm

Venue: Dowry House Retreat, Walsingham (

The forth in a series of retreats on Walsingham Spirituality and discovering from Mary herself how to receive and live the gift of the Divine Will with a spirit of thanksgiving so central to the message of Walsingham.

Retreatants can participate from the comfort of their homes via zoom or in Dowry House where personal accompaniment from one of the sisters will also be on offer.

For all the beauty of the Shrine of Walsingham, there is something much greater and it is contained in God’s Word. Over the weekend we will be invited  follow the example of Mary, to encounter God’s Word, to share in Mary’s joy at the Annunciation, and to say ‘yes’ to God, as Mary said ‘yes’: Mary, as the first disciple, invites us to share in her Joy at the Annunciation, when the ‘Word became flesh and dwelt among us’ (John 1:14).

This joy, which can only reside in our heart, in not simply an emotion, or strong feeling; it is the knowledge that we are loved, and this knowledge is the greatest antidote to fear and anxiety. We can’t always be happy, but we can always have the strength of joy in our lives. Our world still walks in darkness, for so many of our brothers and sisters have not seen the great light. This light is known only through a human encounter, for the Word became flesh and lived among us. Therefore, the world waits for women and men, who have said ‘yes’ to God in their lives, to be beacons of light to those who live in darkness. Each moment in history demands great sacrifices, acts of love and kindness, acts of graciousness and radical generosity to address the darkness that so besets our world. The challenge of renewal within the Church is not about administration, it is about a renewal of the personal and generous response in the lives of its members to say ‘yes’ as Mary said ‘yes’.

“Oh Mary, teach us always to say yes to God, every moment of our life.

Oh Mary, teach us always to give thanks to God, every moment of our life.’

Attend on a residential basis or via ZOOM



£170 ensuite

£150 standard

Prices are per person for 2 nights’ accommodation, full board, refreshments and use of the beautiful facilities of Dowry House. We welcome additional donations for the Sisters of around £20 per person for the input and resources given (Given separately once here).

Arrivals can be from 3.15 pm on the Friday and departures are 2.30pm on the Sunday.

Extend your visit: You are welcome to stay extra nights (Sun, Mon and Tues available) on a full board, half board or B&B basis as you prefer. If you stay for all 5 nights on a full board basis, you will save £25 – an ensuite room is £400 and a standard room is £350 for 5 nights full board. Please enquire by emailing


The zoom session timings will be given closer to the time. For now, it will be helpful for you to know that the first session is usually 7.30pm on the Friday and there may be a final session for zoom participants around 3pm on the Sunday. Our recommended donation rates are:

Usual donation range: £35 – £60

18 – 29 year olds: £20 – £35

If you are interested in attending, please email, letting us know whether you would like to attend residentially or via zoom.


Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th June from 3.30pm to 6.30pm

With every hope that we will have a sunny weekend we invite you to visit our grounds at Dereham and enjoy the large variety of trees, bushes and flowers provided by friends and benefactors.

Entry by donation (amount of your choosing) which will include cream teas!

As Covid rules still apply please email us to book a places as numbers will need to allow for social distancing


Help provide for our New Candidates!

After a difficult but very graced year we are glad to say that we now have five serious candidates who are at different stages of discerning their vocation with COLW. This is the first time that the community is in this amazing situation. So, firstly, we thank God for this wonderful gift.

Secondly, we are appealing to everyone to:

Keep all these young women very much in your prayers as they take these courageous steps forward.

Continue to support our vegetable garden which Catherine our novice always looks after so well (see picture on the left). We hope one day to be almost self-sufficient.

Consider contributing to the internal alterations needed to prepare rooms for these young women. Our enclosure area in the formation house does not currently have the rooms to welcome them. One will be joining next March so by then we will need to have made some partitions and divided the large rooms up into smaller ones. Quotes coming in put the cost at around £20,000. If you can offer a contribution to this development cost please do so here.

We also need to soundproof parts of the first floor (especially the room which will be for our chaplain) as all sounds move between the chapel and our guest rooms and bathrooms. It has been a long standing problem and we will need to use better specific materials for this. Quotes coming in put the cost at around £40,000. If you can offer a contribution to this development cost, again you can do so here.


If you have any questions about these particular requests please call us on 01362 421442 or 07733 385788

Emotional Maturity and Discernment

Friday 30th April – Sunday 2nd May 2021

We are called to love God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind and with all our strength (cf. Mark 12:30). Every part of our being needs to be transformed so that we can have the sentiments of Christ and so that our heavenly Father can see His Son in us.

This weekend is open to anyone who wishes to go deeper in living an increasingly authentic Christian life.

“Today we have “great brains” and “universities that teach concepts and ideas,”
and “are the heirs of liberalism and the Enlightenment,”
but “we have lost the three languages :
the language of the head – thinking
the language of the heart – feeling
and the language of the hands – doing” 

Pope Francis continued to explain that
“we do not carry forward this harmony in which
one thinks what one feels and does,
feels what one thinks and does,
and does what one thinks and feels.”
He labelled this as the “harmony of wisdom.”


Booking a Place

We are very grateful for any donation you can give to help support our work at Dowry House Retreat. We suggest the following rates per person.

Usual donation range: £40 – £60

18 – 25 year olds: £20 – £30

To register for this retreat, please complete this form

Your details will come through to us and we will send you the donation link. Please register by Wednesday 28th April 2021.

If you have already registered and have not heard back by 10.30am on Friday 30th April please email us directly at

Meet the Sisters!

A ‘Come and See’ on Zoom!

Saturday 27th June 3 – 4pm

For men and women aged 16 to 34

Curious about our life? – We’d love to meet you on Zoom!

Learn about consecrated life and the life of a Colwelian.

Opportunity for questions.

Meet and share with others who are also discerning.

If you’re interested please email Sr Theresa at

Prayer, Intimacy and Relationships Retreat

Four ZOOM MEETINGS on Thursdays 30th April, 7th, 14th and 21st May at 8pm

Please note that this retreat is now FULLY BOOKED

Looking looking at how the journey into a deeper prayer life enables us to love  the people in our lives, even the most difficult!

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and love your neighbour as yourself.” Lk 10:27

Why is it so difficult to love the people closest to us? To bring our real thoughts and feelings to God in prayer? To be honest in relationships? To enter into intimacy with God and with others? These are some of the questions we will look at over the course of the retreat.

As one of four talks looking at the journey into a mystical life of union with God, to which all of us are called, we will wait on God to reveal himself to us and reveal us to ourselves through others. Prayer is the route to purification of the ego, of the innate will to control the world, to control people in order to serve our own ends. And yet our relationships are the privileged field in which beginners in the spiritual life must learn to turn our innate selfishness into the selflessness of the Crucified. “Nothing so reduces the ego as the realities of living with others and not demanding that they change so as to suit ourselves.’ (Burrows in ‘Ascent to Love’ 40)

Email us to register your interest in this course

Participants are asked to make a donation to the community via this page

COLW Family Days

In early 2021, priests and lay people joined us from around the country for a triple celebration of the Epiphany (our founding day) of the New Year and of our first such gathering of the COLW Family. We were hoping to have an annual winter and an annual summer meetings but Covid put that on hold this past year. With the COLW Book of Life (explaining our spirituality) being published this year, a rule of life for lay members and diocesan priest associates is being worked on.

Once lockdown finishes in June we will have a meeting at Dereham of the core group to finalise the Rule of Life.At the same time, we are looking forward to starting our local family days again, when we have Mass in the barn, games for the children and space for the adults to spend quiet time in Eucharistic Adoration.


We will soon email people with options of dates for meeting up.

Rededication of England as Mary’s Dowry

2020 – The great year of the Rededication of England to Jesus through Mary has dawned. This is a very important year in the life of the Catholic Church here in England as our Bishops will be rededicating England as Mary’s Dowry, an ancient title, on Sunday 29th March 2020.

To discover how Mary’s YES to God is linked to our own YES to God as people of her land, visit this page.

Listen in to Mgr. John Armitage explains the importance of the spiritual preparation for this great and historic spiritual event to take place on Sunday March 29th 2020.

A dedicated website has been set up by the Shrine for this initiative.  If you’d like to follow it, visit


Sign up here to receive the daily reflections for to consecrate yourself to Jesus Through Mary. It starts on 21st February and ends with the consecration itself on Wednesday 25th March. This will be followed by a Tiduum of Prayer and the Prayer of Rededication on Sunday 29th March.

Let us pray that many graces will be poured on our country in the coming months,


Encountering Christ in Scripture

Friday 28th February – Sunday 1st March 2020

At Dowry House Retreat, High St, Walsingham, NR22 6BZ


There is more in scripture than simply ink on the page; this “word of the Lord” is able to bring us into the presence of the divine Word, the one who brought the spinning galaxies into being and whose nail-marked hands are stretched out towards us in love. Other books may speak of God, but the Bible uniquely is able to become for us a holy ground on which we actually meet with God.

A Word-Centered Life, a life which is evangelical in the very best sense of that word—shaped by the Gospel, and passionately seeking to hear Christ, know Christ, share Christ with others—such a life must always be deeply grounded in Scripture. Psalm 1 offers a perfect description of a Word-Centered people:

“their delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law they meditate day and night.
They are like trees
planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
and their leaves do not wither.” (v. 2-3)

This weekend will help us drive deep roots into the refreshing waters of the biblical text, so that we might become more deeply rooted and grounded in Christ. We need to learn to come to the Bible in order to meet Jesus, especially during this year dedicated to the Word.

In addition to the basic cost of board and lodging an extra donation of £10 per day (£20 for the weekend) will be invited as a contribution to the work of the COLW Sisters who will be leading the retreat. Please call 01328 801018 or email for further information.

Prayer, Intimacy and Relationships

Fri 22nd – Sun 24th November 2019

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and love your neighbour as yourself.” Lk 10:27

Why is it so difficult to love the people closest to us? To bring our real thoughts and feelings to God in prayer? To be honest in relationships? To enter into intimacy with God and with others? These are some of the questions we will look at as we end the liturgical year and prepare for Advent.

As one of two weekends looking at the journey into a mystical life of union with God, to which all of us are called, we will wait on God to reveal himself to us and reveal us to ourselves through others. Prayer is the route to purification of the ego, of the innate will to control the world, to control people in order to serve our own ends. And yet our relationships are the privileged field in which beginners in the spiritual life must learn to turn our innate selfishness into the selflessness of the Crucified. “Nothing so reduces the ego as the realities of living with others and not demanding that they change so as to suit ourselves.’ (Burrows in ‘Ascent to Love’ 40)

In addition to the basic cost of board and lodging an extra minimum donation of £10 per day (£20 for the weekend) is invited as a contribution to the work of the COLW Sisters who will be leading the retreat.

Venue: Dowry House, 47-49 High St, Walsingham, Norfolk NR22 6BZ

Tel: 01328 801018; Email:

The Hours of the Passion

Sunday 14th (5pm) to Thursday 18th (10.30am) April 2019

Venue: Dowry House Retreat, Walsingham, Norfolk.


At the age of 17, the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta wrote her first novena of preparation for Christmas with 9 hours of meditation. After finishing it, Our Lord invited her to meditate continuously on the last 24 hours that He suffered during the course of His Passion, beginning with the moment when He said good-bye to His Mother (that is, before instituting the Eucharist) and ending with the moment when Jesus was buried.

Therefore, meditating on one Hours of the Passion means to be united to the prayers and reparations that Jesus offered interiorly to the Father while He was being scourging, crowned with thorns, crucified, etc., and for this purpose, we follow the book, “The 24 Hours of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ.” In such a way that every time we read, meditate, and penetrate into every hour of the Passion, we must try to make Jesus’ prayers, intentions and reparations our own so that together with Him we can offer them to the Father for the salvation of souls and the benefit of all humankind.

After the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta had been living continuously the Hours of the Passion for over thirty years, Saint Hannibal Maria Di Francia, who had been appointed as the Ecclesiastical Censor for all her writings, commanded her under Holy Obedience to put them into writing. As a result we have this Book of Heaven. Seeing the wealth of its content and glimpsing all the good that they would do to our souls, Saint Hannibal printed the first four editions of this book in the years 1915, 1916, 1917 and 1924.

After the S.G. Luisa Piccarreta finished writing the original manuscript she sent it to St. Hannibal along with a letter. In this letter she speaks of the complacency that Jesus feels whenever we meditate on these Hours. She says, “as if Jesus heard His own voice and His prayers being reproduced in those reparations, just as the ones He raised to His Father during the 24 hours of His sorrowful Passion.” Also, Luisa included along with the manuscript and letter some additional notes in which she listed the effects and promises that Jesus makes to whoever meditates on these Hours of His Passion.

The retreat is led by Sisters from the Community of Our Lady of Walsingham and, in addition to the basic costs, you will be invited to make an additional donation of £25 to cover their costs.

Sharing in Mary’s Joy

We are most fortunate to have Fr Dominique Faure coming to us in Walsingham to preach a retreat on Sharing in Mary’s Joy.  The topics he will over the course of the retreat will include: 

  • Why Mary is full of joy? 
  • How we can enter into Mary’s Joy? 
  • How does Our Lady help us grow in Faith, Hope and Charity. 

Along with daily Mass and adoration, there will also be opportunities for confession and questions. 

Retreatants are invited to arrive on the Thursday evening and spend the Friday in silence meditating over some scripture passages which will fall the backdrop to the retreat.  The retreat itself will start on Friday evening at 9pm with the arrival of Fr Dominique and end on Sunday afternoon by 5pm. 

About Fr Dominic 

Fr Dominique Faure is an inspiring Missionary Religious Priest with a deep philosophical, theological and contemplative formation. At the personal request of Mother Teresa he spends most of his time travelling the world preaching retreats for the Missionaries of Charity and many other lay, priestly and religious communities. Recently based in New Zealand, he is also Chaplain and Professor to the Catholic Discipleship College in Auckland. 

Suggested minimum contribution to cover accommodation, full board and retreat giver costs is £200 (£100 for 18-25yrs, students and unemployed). Day rate option of £20 covering lunch and dinner also offered. Possibility of partially attending the retreat although priority will be given to full-attendees. 

To book, please call 01328 801018 or email or download this booking form: Sharing in Mary’s Joy and send it to Dowry House.

It is recommended that retreatants arrive at Dowry House Thursday evening 25th Jan.  Departures on Sunday 27th January around 5pm


This year we have been busy getting settled into our first convent so only now, to celebrate Our Blessed Lord’s birth do we have a newsletter ready – following on from that of last Easter.

We invite you to subscribe to them here. We aim to keep everyone up to date with news from the community, about our mission at Dowry House and on the Dowry Tour as well as provide food for reflection. The hope is to produce one at Christmas, at Easter and then in August/September.

As you read the newsletters you can join us in thanksgiving for all that the Father is giving us and in intercession for the needs of all those we serve, for those of the world and for those of our candidates and current members.


Advent Retreat

At this Christmas when Christ comes, will He find a warm heart? As we marked the season of Advent by loving and serving others with God’s own love and concern, let us spend some time in immediate preparation by listening and waiting with Our Lady at her shrine. Fr John Armitage, rector of the National Catholic Shrine of Our Lady, will lead the reflections over the weekend of 14th – 16th December 2018

The retreat will be at Dowry House in Walsingham and will include a pre-festive Christmas meal and the annual Advent Carol Service in the Chapel of Reconcilaition.

Costs: £138 ensuite room; £110 standard room. This includes all meals from Friday supper until Sunday lunch

Please book by emailing or calling the sisters on 01328 801018 to check availability.

Open Day

God blessed us with very mild weather on the 3rd October when we had our open day at the House of the Divine Will. This enabled our 130 plus guests to enjoy the grounds and cloister as well as visit the barn. It was good to meet many of the local people from the various churches and we look forward to developing our links with them over time. Quite a few also braved the journey from Walsingham, from London and various parts of Essex. See photos of the day on our facebook page here.

Joanna Bogle also gifted us with a hand embroidered kneeler which she personally presented to us on the day itself. It was inaugurated by Sr Camilla, in the chapel overlooking the Moors, as she offered a prayer for all our guests and in thanksgiving for having reached this day.

From 2pm until 5.30pm the stream of visitors touring the place and enjoying the scones and cream was constant and seemed unending. We could never have managed welcoming them all if it hadn’t been for the help of our great volunteers: Terry, Angie, Sarah, Sonia and Terri. So a BIG THANK YOU especially to them. By 6pm the flow of visitors had lessened and this made the viewing of the video clip on entering the chapel easier for everyone.





Walsingham Spirituality V

Starts: Friday 26 October 2018 @ 5pm
Ends: Sunday 28 October 2018 @ 2pm

Venue: Dowry House Retreat, Walsingham (

‘Your Will be done on earth as it is in heaven’.

We see Walsingham Spirituality as being especially important for helping everyone learn to accept God’s Will, do God’s Will and gradually to surrender to God’s Will so as to live constantly in the Divine Will. This is the last of a series of retreats aimed at helping everyone enter deeply into this spirituality which is important for the return of our country to its Christian roots.

During the weekend we will look in particular at the lessons received by Luisa Piccharetta from Our Blessed Lady of how to live in the Divine Will. This is what brings light and life to our souls and enables us to live in the joy Our Lady promised to all those who visit Walsingham. The Fiat is the source of true and lasting joy and will find its expression in a thanksgiving which will arise automatically in our hearts for all that God will send us.

In addition to the basic cost of board and lodging an extra minimum donation of £20 will be asked as a contribution to the work of the COLW Sisters who will be leading the retreat.

Family Day

We were blessed to have our first family day at the House of the Divine Will in Dereham. Seven couples with some 29 children between them recently graced the house and grounds on one of these amazing summer days.

We started with a picnic lunch in the only shaded part of the grounds – one of the reasons we really need to plant some tress this autumn! Then Sr Camilla gave a talk on Ecclesial Families of Consecrated lIfe that wetted the appetite of some couples. The thought of being part of a larger community, having spiritual formation and living in the Fiat is certainly something our society needs. One of the strongest and most attractive elements of communities like ours is the ‘spirituality of communion’ – something we tangibly experienced on this beautiful days.

The children in the meantime were entertained by Sr Theresa and Sr Johanna who kept them busy with a variety of activities. Once the talk was over everyone joined in the various conversations, games that spontaneously sprung up in various parts of the house and grounds. Our volunteers made everything go smoothly by keeping people hydrated and clearing up things. The children riding in the trailer driven by Sr Camilla was one of the highlights of the afternoon. The day ended with some families swelling the numbers of the Sunday vigil Mass in the local parish in Dereham and everyone left happy, looking forward to the next one.

Walsingham Spirituality IV – The Beauty of Living in God’s Will

Starts: Friday 13 September 2019 @ 5pm
Ends: Sunday 15 September 2019 @ 2pm

Venue: Dowry House Retreat, Walsingham (

‘Your Will be done on earth as it is in heaven’. All the saints, throughout the ages have taught the importance of doing God’s will and of Living closely united with God’s will so that His kingdom will come. St Teresa of Avila, in her commentary on the Our Father, points out that Jesus has asked, and taught us to ask, for something so highly valuable that it includes everything we can desire here below’ (Way of Perfection 32:1). Teresa takes these words very seriously indeed. She maintains that if Jesus had not made this petition on our behalf, we would not have dared to make it of ourselves: because, she says, ‘the task would seem to me impossible’ (WP 32:2). It is often easy to ask for something or to promise something to another, but difficult to follow it through by living it out. And when it comes to giving our will to another, this is much harder still – in fact, the most difficult thing of all.

We see Walsingham Spirituality as being especially important for helping everyone learn to accept God’s Will, do God’s Will and gradually to surrender to God’s Will so as to live constantly in the Divine Will.

The understanding of living in the Divine Will has made leaps and bounds through the mystical theology of Venerable Luisa Piccharetta. In the summer of 2015 the Vatican published the Italian version of the book ‘The Sun of My Will‘ and the English version appeared in January 2016. The Gift of the Divine Will, which God now wishes to give to the world is not only about doing God’s Will, but possessing God’s Will i.e. letting God carry out His own will, Himself, within us through our consent. This is what Adam was doing up until the Fall, and what Jesus did in His humanity throughout His whole life while on earth.

Jesus points out that Luisa, who received the Gift of the Divine Will on the 8th September 1889, marks the beginning of the era of the Kingdom of the Divine Will on earth. This gift is now available to everyone.

In addition to the basic cost of board and lodging an extra minimum donation of £20 will be asked as a contribution to the work of the COLW Sisters who will be leading the retreat.

Walsingham Spirituality III

Starts: Friday 9 July 2021 @ 5pm
Ends: Sunday 11 July 2018 @ 2pm

Venue: Dowry House Retreat, Walsingham (

Residential and Zoom Only options of attending

The third of a series of weekends to enable retreatants enter more deeply into the spirituality of Walsingham, learning in particular what it means to surrender to God’s Will in one’s life.

When we know we are loved by someone, deeply loved by them, we can trust their decisions regarding us, even if we don’t always understand their reasons. The same is the case in relation to God. The saying ‘Let go and let God’ is often quoted and yet so easy to accomplish. It is only when we stop relying on our need to control, to know, to be perfect, that we begin to taste the joy of allowing God to work freely in our hearts and lives.

This weekend will provide practical anecdotes and tools to help grow in a life-giving spirit of surrender to God. When our hearts are empty of self and the above needs, like the Holy House of Walsingham, God’s Spirit can enter in and take us to places we could never even begin to imagine.

Booking a place


Enjoy the weekend in Walsingham for £160 per person in an en-suite room or £140 in a standard room. This price includes all your meals from Friday supper to Sunday lunch as well as refreshments. You can enjoy the beautiful house and grounds of Dowry House Retreat as well as access to the stunning Adoration chapel. There is also the opportunity for spiritual accompaniment from a Sister. If you would like to stay with us, please email Dowry House. Please aim to book by three weeks in advance of your stay.


We are very grateful for any donation you can give. We suggest the following rates per person:

Usual donation range: £40 – £60

18 – 25 year olds: £20 – £30

To register to attend this retreat via Zoom, please complete this form

Your details will come through to us and we will send you the donation link. Please register by Wednesday 7th July 2021.

If you have registered and do not hear back from us within 3 days – or by 11am on Friday 9th July – please email us directly.

Sr Theresa’s Final Profession of Vows

On Saturday 7th April, at the midday Mass in the Chapel of Reconciliation, Sr Theresa made her final vows in COLW. After eight years of formation she took this definitive step, consecrating herself to God’s service for the rest of her life. Surrounded by family and friends she looked radiant as she said her ‘YES’ to God’s love for her, a God who has chosen her to be all His – warts and all as we so often remind each other. On the vigil of the Feast of Divine Mercy we thank God for the gift that Sr Theresa is to us and to so many people. Now the real work starts!

To watch the Mass again and hear Fr John’s superb homily visit the  Shrine live stream page and go to the Mass of the 7th April.

Please visit this link to see photos and share in the joy of the day.

We thank God for all our family, friends, benefactors and supporters who made Sr Theresa’s final profession a day to remember. God bless you all!

COLW’s First Convent

On the 8th December 2017, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, after 8 months of fundraising and thanks to the generosity of many benefactors, we acquired our first convent. This amazing gift, rendered even more heartwarming by the kindness of the sellers (two brothers who built the property by converting old barns) couldn’t have come at a better time.

With its simplicity and spaciousness, a central cloister area, eco-friendly wood chip boiler, a large outdoor barn and surrounded by 4 acres of land, it is perfectly monastic in style and miraculously suited to our needs. So much better than all the other properties visited it seemed to be made for us!. Please join us in thanking God for this amazing gift and Our Lady for obtaining it for us. For further information visit this page.

Walsingham Spirituality II (Residential and Zoom)

6th-8th May 2022

This weekend is the second in a series of weekends designed to help people enter in depth into the Spirituality of Walsingham. Through a series of talks, lectio divina, silence, spiritual accompaniment and liturgical prayer moments, the sisters will enable individuals to apply this rich spirituality in the reality of their own lives.

Walsingham exists to remind us of the mystery of Mary’s silent surrender, her self-sacrificing love, her joy and humility in bearing and believing the Word of God. The Spirit is ultimate freedom, total unpredictability. God lives not in a ‘house made with hands’ but in hearts that are, with Mary, ready for anything – ‘Be it done unto me according to your word.’ At the heart of Walsingham lies the mystery of the Annunciation.

The house symbolises stability. It was the house that made Nazareth permanently present in Walsingham, standing firm and strong, guaranteeing the future of the village and the Shrine. But this is balanced by the theme of the Annunciation which implies a radical openness to change and growth. Everyone of us carries within ourselves an element of unpredictability.

As she is presented to us in Luke’s gospel, Mary stands for the perfect disciple. Like Israel of old she is chosen and called simply out of love. She has not chosen God; rather God has chosen her. She is a child of grace, of choice, and so she is able to respond to God’s initiative with the words ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to your word.’

But that is not the end of the story. Mary had to be open to human growth and development, just as Jesus had to grow physically, spiritually, socially. She had to make choices, accept responsibility, and ultimately let her Son go his own way even when she did not understand.

Mary is our vocational model as one who responded totally, allowed God to do with her all that he wanted. When Jesus says that his mother, brothers and sisters are those who do the will of his Father in heaven we have a glimpse into the wholeness of Mary’s self-giving. It was not bearing Christ in the flesh that made her blessed. Her real motherhood lay in her surrender to the Father’s will; her ‘Be it done unto me (her ‘Fiat’, ‘Amen’, ‘Alleluia’) in sorrow and in joy, in diminishment and fullness.

Members of the Community of Our Lady of Walsingham will guide participants, through a series of talks and lectio divina, into what it means to imitate Mary’s FIAT, her YES to God’s love and will for her life.

This second weekend will look especially at what it means to ACCEPT God’s will in the difficult times of one’s life and what it means to fulfil his will.

Date: Friday 6th – Sunday 8th May 2020

Location: Walsingham

Venue: Dowry House Retreat (www.dowryhouse,

To book a place email:

Moving to Walsingham

At last we are all together at Walsingham. Having spent the last five years commuting to and fro from Brentwood to work at the shrine at Walsingham, we recognise the toll it has taken on us as individuals and as a community. With gratitude we recognise the gift that it has been to spend our first 13 years at Abbotswick – there couldn’t have been a better place for a founding group to consolidate and grow in self-undertsanidng of the charism given.

As you all know, our spiritual home is in Walsingham and we are overjoyed to be now living and serving the shrine as a community – providing together hospitality and a sung liturgy to those using Dowry House Retreat ( and partaking in the many events the expanding shrine is hosting. Being together as a community also means that we will be able to give more time to study, developing the charism and forming our lay associates now that we are on the road to becoming an Ecclesial Family of Consecrated life – open to people from every walk of life.

We celebrated this milestone with a community day out in Norwich as you can see from the photos – one taken on top of the tower of St John the Baptist’s Catholic Cathedral, one whilst walking through the cloister of the amazing Anglican cathedral where we also attended evensong and one at the Julian shrine. What a welcome we have been given in all these holy sites!

So please keep us in your prayers as we settle down to life in this beautiful village of Walsingham and as we continue to fundraise for our first convent. For updates on how that is going please subscribe to our newsletters on this page

Here I Am Lord!

Friday 1st – Sunday 3rd September 2017

Join us for this first weekend in Walsingham, exploring the beauty of consecrated life in the 21st Century.

‘Consecrated life ought to promote growth in the church by way of attraction. The church must be attractive. Wake up the world! Be witnesses of a different way of doing things, of acting, of living! … It is this witness that I expect of you. Religious should be men and women who are able to wake the world up.’  Pope Francis, meeting with the Union of Superiors General, November 29, 2013 

There are many ways in which people can choose to consecrate their lives to God in the service of the Church and the World. This weekend will explore some of the general themes related to consecrated life and look at the various ways in which men and women can offer their lives in service of God, the Church and their neighbour e.g. apostolic religious life, enclosed contemplative life, ecclesial families of consecrated life, hermits and consecrated virginity to name a few.

There will also be a Q&A panel on the Saturday afternoon …. so prepare already your questions for those who live the consecrated life in some of these forms.

‘God calls you to make definitive choices, and He has a plan for each of you: To discover that plan and to respond to your vocation is to move toward personal fulfilment.’ Pope Francis, 2013 World Youth Day 

Time: Any time from 3pm on the Friday until the afternoon of the Sunday. If you cannot make the whole weekend how about meeting up with us on the Saturday at Walsingham?  Please call us for any clarification needed.

Please download and display this poster in your parish:

Location: Dowry House Retreat Centre, 47-49 High St, Walsingham NR22 6BZ

What to bring: Personal items, writing materials, Bible, walking shoes/boots.
Donation: £40 (Students) £80 (wage earners) – includes full board

For further information call or phone Sr Carina on 01328 801013.

To book a place on this weekend fill out the booking form and send a £20 deposit (cheques payable to ‘RC National Shrine’) to Dowry House Retreat, 47-49 High St, Walsingham NR22 6BZ

Become a Founding Benefactor of COLW!

Please can you help us to purchase our very own house in Walsingham?

Please visit the appeals page for more information on this exciting adventure as we push out into the deep and trust in God’s Providence to provide the first house for the community 🙂

Walsingham Spirituality 1 – Accepting God’s Will in our lives

Friday 11th – Sunday 13th March 2022

The first of a series of weekends to enable retreatants enter more deeply into the spirituality of Walsingham, learning in particular what it means to accept God’s Will in one’s life.

One of the greatest obstacles to living in the Divine Will is the lack of acceptance of God’s Will in the reality of our daily lives. Over the weekend we will look at what in means in practical terms to accept his will as it manifests itself to us from moment to moment, especially in who we are as the beloved children of the Father and in our neighbour.

: Any time from 3pm on the Friday until the afternoon of the Sunday.

What to bring: Personal items, writing materials, Bible.

Dowry House Retreat Centre, 47-49 High St, Walsingham NR22 6BZ

See here for details of costs. Call 01328 801018 for booking information.

Annual Retreat with Sr Hettie Berflow O Carm

FullSizeRender-2 (1)We were immensely blessed to have Sr Hettie Berflow, a Carmelite sister from the O Carms in the Netherlands with us from the 14th – 24th May. She led the annual retreat for our sisters in formation, taken them into the depths of the Rule of St Albert. Her gentle way of being, her pondered considerations and sharing, her wise accompaniment meant that we were able to appreciate so much more the gift given us in this rule, the basis of all Carmelite life.

Albert, patriarch of Jerusalem, gave the first hermits on Mt Carmel a life rule (1206-1214) which, at the time of their expulsion by the Saracens in 1247, was adapted to new circumstances by pope Innocent IV. In consequence, the mystical space of Carmel with its contemplative life is experienced wherever they are given a place and God calls them. The commentary presents the Carmel as a spiritual model which is ideally suited as accompaniment on the spiritual journey of all who know themselves called to a life in God’s presence in the desert of their life.

The book she based a lot of her talks on was actually written by one of the priests in her community. Thank you Sr Hettie for helping us understand and appreciate more the gift of this rule and especially the importance of silence as a means to love our union with God.

Assisi and Carlo Acutis

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Our return from the conference in Rome took us via Assisi where we stayed with a friend whose generosity made the visit possible. The graces received in praying at the sites related to St Francis, St Clare and Carlo Acutisl, whose cause for beatification has already started was palpable to say the least.

Carlo was born in London in 1991 and died after a sudden and short illness in Milan in 2006. This teenager is a model for all young people and is certainly interceding for England. Please visit this site and be inspired by this holy teenager.

Conclusion of the Year of Consecrated Life

Sr Camilla and Carina were able to attend the concluding conference in Rome for the Year of Consecrated Life from the 28th Jan until the 2nd Jan 2016. On the theme “Consecrated life in communion. The common foundation in the variety of forms”, on these days there were meetings, prayer vigils, times for regrouping and examining in greater depth the specifics of each form, looking prophetically towards the future”.

The aims of the meeting were to get to know better the great mosaic of consecrated life, to live communion rediscovering the single call uniting the variety of forms (Ordo Virginum, monastic life, apostolic institutes, secular institutes, new institutes and new forms of consecrated life), starting out together on the path of the great Jubilee of Mercy that once more gives all consecrated people the specific mandate of their vocation: to be guided by the Father’s mercy, witnesses and builders of an authentically lived fraternity.

it was an unforgettable experience during which we met many friends and one that affirmed the way ahead for COLW. For those of you who can speak Italian enjoy the audience we all had with Pope Francis:

World Meeting for Young Religious

Four of us managed to go to Rome for the recent World Meeting of Young Consecrated men and women. Organised by the Vatican dicastery as one of the events for the Year of Consecrated life, t turned out to be an amazingly fruitful and graced time at so many levels.

It was Carina’s first visit to Rome and Sr Camilla’s first time to act as one of two simultaneously Italian to English translators. Having hired a chalet we managed to self-cater for the week and survive the 32C temperatures by downing plenty of the famous roman ice-cream. The audience with Pope Francis for the 5,000 plus participants was one of the highlights and this together with all the other presentations can be listened to in several languages on this link:


Bishop Alan Williams SM

We were so happy when Pope Francis last year appointed Father Alan Williams SM, the last Director of the National Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham, as the seventh Bishop of Brentwood. Now we have two dioceses, that of Brentwood and that of East Anglia, headed by men who have a deep love for Our Lady of Walsingham.

That couldn’t be better news for our little community. Mary is really moving things in England, her dowry. It also confirms our hunch that God is truly at work on the bigger picture (COLW being only a small part of this) and slowly but surely we will get more glimpses of the many graces he has destined for our land and beyond.

His episcopal ordination took place at Brentwood Cathedral on 1st July 2014 at 12 noon. You will find some highlights on this page.

Fr Alan says he thrives on working with people. “That brings out the best in me – we can learn together and go forward together.” He added: “I presume on the goodness of people. If you are open to people, they are open to you.”

Winds of Change Radio Show

Take a listen to a recent interview that Sr Theresa and Jim (our first brother to be) recently had in Chicago on the Winds of Change Radio Show.

Smile though your heart is aching

A Reflection from Sr Ruth Burrows for the Easter Tridiium

  • Download the article in PDF format by clicking here.

Year of Consecrated Life

We are currently celebrating the Year of Consecrated Life, which began on 30th November 2014 and will end on the 2nd February 2016. The theme given it by the Vatican is ‘Wake up the World’.

The year has a three-pronged focus

  • renewal for men and women in consecrated life,
  • thanksgiving among the faithful for the service of sisters, brothers, priests, and nuns,
  • invitation to young Catholics to consider a religious vocation.

As a community we will be offering some events before and during this year in order in order to highlight this three-pronged focus.

‘A Space for Silence’

A piece on Abbotswick in The Tablet, 23 November 2013.

  • Download the article in PDF format by clicking here.

Meeting with Pope Francis – Saturday 6th July 2013

We recently went with several discerners to a Year of Faith pilgrimage to Rome for novices, seminarians and those on a vocational journey. Pope Francis joined the 6000 people on this pilgrimage for a meeting in the Pope Paul VI audience hall. Before his arrival we were entertained by musicians (including The Priests) and heard several testimonies (including that of Fr Robert Barron). Go to the 1 hr 9 mins point of the video to see him arriving in the hall. Look out for Sr Theresa who managed to shake his hand!

Download the full text of Pope Francis’s address (translated into English) and read what he shared with the everyone during this meeting).

The very modern lives of our nuns in Essex

Echo – January 16, 2012

It’s hard not to be in awe of the dedication of modern-day nuns, whether or not you have faith. Unflinching in their quest to tackle difficult issues head on, a nun’s life is anything but sheltered. And, it seems, more young women are looking to devote their life to God. Of those choosing to become nuns, the number of women under 40 has risen from 42 per cent in 2006 to 70 per cent in 2010, according to the National Office for Vocation.

LOUISE HOWESON went to the Colchester Canonesses of the Holy Sepulchre and Our Lady of Walsingham in Brentwood to find out more…

  • Download the article in PDF format by clicking here.

Our Lady of Walsingham is yearning to save England – her dowry

Listen to Sr Camilla’s thoughts for the Sundays of Lent on BBC Radio Essex, each Sunday morning at around 6.50am and again at around 8.50am during the Sunday morning show hosted by Peter Holmes. Alternatively listen to them here where they will be uploaded each week once they have been broadcast.

Sunday Week 1:

Sunday Week 2:

Sunday Week 3:

Sunday Week 4:

Sunday Week 5:

Sunday Week 6:

Why Theresa chose to become a religious sister…

Interview on BBC Radio Sussex , recorded in April 2011. Listen to the interview:

Songs of Praise – 3rd January 2010

“In this clip we get a glimpse of life at Abbotswick as the community prepares to welcome a new member (who has since left after discerning that the community was not the right one for her)”

In Essex, the youngest religious order in the UK is welcoming new sisters… and its first man.

Interview on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme, recorded in December 2009. Listen to the interview:

Wrangler Sisters

It’s a busy Friday evening at Heathrow’s Terminal 5, and BA air stewardess Katie Colbran, 32, has just stepped off a flight from Milan. In September she’ll hang up her BA uniform for the last time, and in its place she’ll put on a powder-blue scapular and become Sister Katie of the Community of Our Lady of Walsingham…

Please Note: This interview was conducted before our first brother joined the community.

  • For the full article click here
  • If the link is inactive, you can download the article in PDF format by clicking here.

New Order

The Times Magazine, 10th May 2009

The number of women called to become nuns in Britain has shrunk to just a handful. Yet in Essex, the country’s youngest religious order is preparing to welcome new sisters – and perhaps even the odd brother – as the country’s first mixed convent takes shape

  • For the full article click here
  • If the link is inactive, you can download the article in PDF format by clicking here.

Running Out Of Nuns, 2nd June 2007

From oil-field workers to city traders, there has been a blaze of publicity in Britain about the need to bring more women into male-dominated careers. But far less media attention has been devoted to the fact that one of the few all-female callings is under threat. While more and more women are becoming nuns worldwide, the number of novices has fallen in Britain.

  • For the full article click here
  • If the link is inactive, you can download the article in PDF format by clicking here

“Now, how many Catholic nuns do you think there are in this country?”

On 24th June 2007, the Community of Our Lady of Walsingham was featured on the BBC Radio 4 Programme ‘Sunday’. Listen to the interview:

Of a quite different order

The Tablet, 28th April 2007

The new religious Community of Our Lady of Walsingham is the order that likes to say ‘yes’ – obedience, silent prayer,poverty and the rosary are in, but so are chilling out and trips to the movies. A distinctive departure from other orders, its statutes are designed to use the gifts of women more fully.

  • You can download the article in PDF format by clicking here.

Last orders

The Guardian, Friday 23 February 2007

Migrant worshippers are helping to swell Catholic congregations – and yet the ageing population of British nuns is teetering on the verge of extinction. Is there any hope for the religious sisterhood, asks Joanna Moorhead.

  • For the full article click here
  • If the link is inactive, you can download the article in PDF format by clicking here.