Sister Stella                  Novice Sister Lizzie Ruth                  Sister Elizabeth Jane

On Thursday 30th July we had the joy of our Postulant Lizzie Hartley being clothed in our CSMV habit to become Novice Sister Lizzie Ruth.  The sun shone and it was a lovely day in every way. 

The Clothing took place within a simple Eucharist in which Sr Valeria read the lesson, Sr Stella gave an address and Sr Honor Margaret led the intercessions.

As part of the Clothing Liturgy, Lizzie was asked:

“Do you desire to discover, by living as a Novice Sister, whether you are called to give yourself entirely to the service of Christ in the Religious Life?”    To which she replied:  “I do”.

Lizzie’s habit was blessed and presented to her by Sr Stella with the words:

“Lizzie Ruth receive the habit of this Community of St Mary the Virgin, a sign of the putting on of the Lord Jesus Christ, and be clothed with humility.”

Lizzie Ruth then went out of chapel to change – accompanied by Sr Elizabeth Jane as Novice Guardian.  It is always a striking moment when a new Novice Sister returns to chapel wearing her habit for the first time.

As a Novice Sister, Lizzie Ruth will continue her discernment and formation for up to two years as God leads, before any further step is taken.  This formation takes the form of study classes given by Sr Elizabeth Jane and others – and includes inter-novitiate study weeks.   Equally important, is the process of osmosis – that living day by day with Sisters who have faithfully lived the religious life for more than fifty or sixty years – and who enjoy sharing their wealth of experience over a cup of tea!

Novice Sister Lizzie Ruth writes:

“As I prepared for Clothing, and on the day itself, the support I felt from across Oxfordshire, across the country, and across the world, even, was almost tangible. I felt profoundly upheld in prayer by a vast network of Associates, Oblates, local priests, and members of other Anglican religious communities. I was also very moved by the many lovely email messages and cards I received.”

Please do continue to pray for N Sr Lizzie Ruth as she continues her journey of exploration.

(Photo taken by our Alongsider – Sarah Jane)