An ecumenical religious community in the charism of Saint Philip Neri
Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you. -Habakkuk 1:5
ABOUT We are an ecumenical religious community based in Reading, Berkshire, with a threefold charism of prayer, study, and spiritual and intellectual formation. By listening attentively and responding in obedience to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, we hope to equip Christians of all traditions to respond better to the challenges of modernity. With our commitment to active life and ministry among the people of Reading, we strive to be beacons of light and hope in an increasingly confused secular world. We are catholic in the fullest sense, accepting women from Roman, Anglican and Orthodox backgrounds.
OUR LIFE AND MINISTRY In the spirit of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri, our sisters will ultimately live together under a shared rule of life, but without taking formal vows, instead being bound together by the bond of charity. Once we succeed in obtaining a community house, the community will be geographically anchored in Reading, UK. However, we are currently dispersed and much of our ministry is carried out remotely with the use of current technologies.
The sisters and tertiaries pray together three times a day, using the Office of the Church of England as laid out in the Book of Common Prayer. Our ministries include spiritual direction in the Ignation tradition, grounded upon the great literary and philosophical foundation of western civilisation, retreats, theological education, funeral ministry and running a Scriptorium for students in Reading.
A WITNESS TO THE FRACTURED BODY Our sisters live, pray, study, worship, and minister together. That we are not able in good conscience to commune in one another's traditions in spite of this provides a striking witness to the need for greater efforts to be made to unite the Body of Christ. When unable to approach the Lord's table, we offer our sense of loss in reparation for the discord in the Body and with the supplication for reunification.
VOCATIONS We accept vocations from single Roman Catholic, Anglican, or Orthodox women who are in reasonably good health and under the age of forty-five. After a time of walking alongside the community as a tertiary, a woman may apply to join the community as a sister. Since formal vows are not taken, she will keep her own possessions and income but be expected to contribute towards the running of the Oratory if she is able to do so. Celibate chastity is practised as a discipline while a sister is living in community; however, since she is not bound by formal vows she is free to leave should she wish to marry, or if she discerns that the Lord is calling her elsewhere.
TERTIARIES All sisters initially join the community as tertiaries; this period of formal discernment allows them to begin praying with and getting to know the community, while deepening their catholic Christian lives.
FRIENDS OF THE ORATORY Friends are committed clergy, laymen, and laywomen, married and single, who embrace the Oratorian charism in their daily lives. They may join us for the Daily Office at the Church of Saint Giles in Reading, or form local chapters if distance and time zones make this impossible.