The Community of Reparation in Southwark

 Not far from the Ordinariate Church of the Most Precious Blood in Borough, is Rushworth Street, and there a passer-by with a taste for fine Edwardian architecture might observe Chadwick House. He is unlikely to realise that it was once an Anglican Convent, and the headquarters of the Community of Reparation to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

Convent of Reparation Rushworth Street SE1

Convent of Reparation Rushworth Street SE1

Less than thirty years after John Keble aroused the slumbering Church of England to consider again its Catholic roots, the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament was founded, with the Revd T T Carter of Clewer, as its first president. And here is another small link in the chain, for the present parish priest of Precious Blood, Fr Christopher Pearson, was himself Superior of the CBS in his Anglican days. In 1869 the Revd A B Goulden resolved to establish a group of Tertiaries “to repair as far as lay in their power the dishonour done to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar (1) by continual intercession for those who do not know Him under the sacramental veils of Bread and Wine (2) by active missionary work in our large towns.”

It was not long before some of the Tertiaries felt the call to dedicate themselves more completely to the object of Reparation and Fr Goulden arranged for two of them to serve a noviciate with the sisters at Clewer, near Windsor. In 1871 Fr Goulden was appointed priest of the mission district of St Alphege, Southwark, a desperately poor area where the sisters soon found themselves combining – in a way peculiar to Anglican communities – the active and contemplative life. Their chapel had perpetual Reservation of the Blessed Sacrament, which was unusual even in the Community Chapels of that time.

The Community grew in numbers, taking over a local orphanage and home for girls, and moving to their Convent in Rushworth Street in 1911. Sir Walter Tapper was the architect of the house pictured above, and the stately Renaissance chapel with its marble altar. A branch House was established in the parish of St Stephen, Upton Park and a Home of Rest at Pirbright, near Woking in Surrey.

My own small connection with the Community came in the early 1980’s. I was vicar of St Edmund, Forest Gate, the parish which had taken over St Stephen Upton Park after the Second World War. I met Reverend Mother Eunice CRJBS, when she came each year on holiday to stay with her sister. The Community had moved from Southwark to the Convent at Clewer when the community numbers had dwindled to five. She died just before I left Forest Gate and I attended her funeral at Clewer.

The Community of Reparation was part of that great flowering of Catholic spirituality and practise which transformed the Church of England. It helped to introduce Anglicans to Eucharistic belief and devotion which had been dormant since the Reformation. Ultimately it convinced Pope Benedict that he was meeting people who, had for years been living forms of Catholic life, although outside the Communion of the Universal Church. I am convinced that Mother Eunice and her sisters would be content that former Anglicans, now united in full Communion, were just round the corner from her Convent. Perhaps it will inspire us at Precious Blood to two things: the first is to renew our love of Jesus in the Eucharist and the Tabernacle; the second is to love and serve the people of our parish in all their needs and concerns, to love them as Jesus loves them, reaching out from his silent presence in their midst, from his Altar Throne.

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About Scott Anderson

Formerly an Anglican priest (ordained 1975) received into the Catholic Church in February 2012, and ordained to the Diaconate on 27th July 2013. I took early retirement, and divide my time between London and northern France. I am deeply committed to the Ordinariate as a gift of the Holy Spirit in the search for unity. Like many Ordinariate members I feel a personal gratitude to Pope Emeritus Benedict, together with loyalty to our Holy Father, Pope Francis. My blog tries to make a small contribution to the growth of the Ordinariate by asking questions (and proposing some answers) about the 'Anglican Patrimony'. I have always been fascinated by the whole issue of growth and decline, and therefore concerned for appropriate means of evangelisation in western Europe. I believe that the Holy Spirit is constantly renewing the People of God and that we must be open to him. My love of music and motorcycles will occasionally surface in my posts. On Saturday 19th October 2013, I was ordained to the Priesthood at Most Precious Blood, Borough, by the Most Revd Peter Smith, Archbishop of Southwark, for the service of the Ordinariate of our Lady of Walsingham. I continued to serve the Ordinariate group and Parish at Most Precious Blood until the end of 2014. Subsequently, I helped in the care of the Ordinariate Groups at Hemel Hempstead and Croydon, and in the Archdiocese of Southwark, until the beginning of September 2015. With the agreement of my Ordinary, Mgr Keith Newton, the Bishop of Amiens appointed me Administrator of the Parish of Notre Dame des Etangs (Pont Remy) in Picardie, France. This appointment is to last for a year, to give the Bishop the opportunity to assess the future of the parish.
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3 Responses to The Community of Reparation in Southwark

  1. Rhiannon says:

    Very pleased that you were at Clewer for that funeral – did yiou know that A Joyous Service has been edited ti bring CSJB’s history to the present?

    • Rhiannon says:

      Replying to myself as well as to you, it’s only now occurred to me that you probably met my parents at that funeral – they moved from Clewer in around 1992, but went back for notable occasions for several years

  2. Paul A Newman says:

    I still have some letters from Sr Katherine Mary CSJB whom I first met at the monthly Mass for deaf & deaf/blind people celebrated at St Laurence Catford in the Lady Chapel. Sr Katherine was a member of the St John Guild and finger-spelt for the visually impaired. In absence of the RADD chaplain it was my privilege to celebtrate a “Mass in slow motion” (apols to R. Knox?) so that my lips could be read. I also arranged for a thurifer for liturgical-sensory enhancement. Sr Katherine told me she’d been professed in 1948 and was the most recent CRJBS member.
    When at All Saints’ Forest Gate, among neighbours in Saints Drive were Mr Jack Cridge who was profoundly deaf and his wife Louie who was deaf/blind. They knew Sr Katharine through St John’s Guild Walsingham pilgrimages. Fr Scott might recall them from joint clebrations as I encourgaged them to attend whenever in addition to the Deaf Congregation held at All Saints West Ham.
    Jack was born in Anvil Point lighthouse beyond Swanage where is father was Lighthouse Keeper. My last meeting with Sr Katherine was in 1991 at the Clewer Infirmary (SJB) She also maintained letter contact with some Broadmoor patients. What a saint! and what a woman!
    Laus Deo….

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