Anglican monastic orders

Episcopal monastery life gets a spotlight from Religion News Service, noting that “unlike Catholic counterparts, they enjoy independence from church hierarchy.” The article points out how many people don’t realize there are Anglican or Protestant orders, and gives a short summary of the history of monasticism during and since the Reformation. Central to the revival of monastic practices was the influence of women in the latter of the 19th century, according to the article.

While it’s mentioned that Anglicans were seeking to bring back “some of the elements of the tradition that were lost at the time of the Reformation,” it’s interesting to note that said revival took on some distinctly Anglican characteristics:

Friar Gregory Fruehwirth of the Order of Julian Norwich in Wisconsin said that there is great variety to be found within both Episcopal and Catholic communities. Episcopal monasteries, he said, have a “similar breadth, just on a much, much smaller scale.”

The monastery to which he belongs, for example, has men and women living side by side, which he said “provides a balanced atmosphere psychologically” and sets them apart from other monastic communities.

Fruehwirth said that like Catholic communities, each Episcopal community decides how and to what extent they participate in local church life. Some may supply parish priests while others might take part in mission work. Still others may choose to remain more isolated, making prayer their main contribution to the church, he said.

The Washington Post has the whole thing here.

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