Diocese of Portsmouth

    New Mother Superior for Southsea religious community

    8 Nov. 2019

    OUR diocese’s only Anglican religious community has welcomed a new Mother Superior.

    Mother Mary Joy SSB was installed as Reverend Mother of the Society of the Sisters of Bethany by their episcopal visitor, Bishop Trevor Willmott, on November 6. She has taken over the role from Sister Rita-Elizabeth, and her term of office is expected to be five years.

    The Sisters of Bethany is a religious order for women within the Anglican Communion. It was founded in 1866, and celebrated its 150th anniversary with the Archbishop of Canterbury in Portsmouth Cathedral two years ago. The society was the first to offer religious retreats for women, and they follow the Rule of St Augustine. 

    The Sisters feel called by God to live as a family in Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit, under vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Through their prayers and activity, they seek to share in the work of reconciling Christian churches, loving each other after the example of Mary, Martha and Lazarus – Jesus’s friends who lived in Bethany. And they continue to offer quiet days and retreats for clergy and lay people in our diocese.

    The installation of Mother Mary Joy happened during a Sung Mass of the Saints and Martyrs of England. Representatives from Church of England churches and other denominations attended, including members of the local Indian Orthodox Church, as well as associate members and oblates, and Sisters and Brothers from other Anglican religious communities. After the service, they shared lunch.

    The community will also welcome a new Chaplain General, Canon Norman Boakes, at Vespers on the evening of their Advent Carol Service, on December 4.

    Bishop Trevor Willmott with members of the Sisters of Bethany and others who attended the service

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