Our spiritual life
“There is a Rock under the foundations of our life which shifting circumstances do not affect.”
Lavinia Crosse (Our founderess)
This Anglican Community, founded in 1855, lives out its calling to a way of life which has at its heart a commitment to prayer. Prayer expresses itself communally, in our shared four-fold Office and daily Eucharist together; and independently, through our personal meditation and spiritual reading and in both our daily life together and through our work with others.
We take our meals together in the St Michael’s refectory, usually in silence. Visitors staying at Lavinia House, Ditchingham, join us for the lunchtime meal and also take part in this silence. These periods of quiet, along with regular retreats help to sustain us. We are replenished and prepared to fulfil our duties to the very best of our abilities and serve the Lord in the life he has chosen for us.
It’s not all prayer and silence here at All Hallows, we like to have some fun. We have monthly ‘community days’ out together, and renew bonds enjoying a short recreational period together each day and meeting regularly to discern our future, to share our thoughts and feelings and to support each other in all we do.
We commemorate our patronal festival, All Hallows or All Saints Day, annually, and we invite our extended family: our Friends, Contact Members, Associates, Oblates and Companions to all come together for worship and fellowship. We have a sale after lunch selling our produce: honey, home baked bread and cakes, our handmade cards and other goods that have been donated to us. The money raised on the day is split between two charities.
Our working life
Our days are punctuated by the rhythm of prayer and work as we go from one to another. Daily work routines differ for each Sister. Some are involved in hospitality; others provide individually guided retreats and spiritual direction. We give talks about All Hallows to groups within the community, we make pastoral visits to All Hallows Healthcare hospital and nursing home. We write letters of support and encouragement to those in captivity, letters of injustice to politicians and government leaders and letters of friendship to orphaned children we have ‘adopted’ in third world countries. This coupled with domestic chores, bee keeping and gardening keeps us quite busy.
Welcome has always been an important part of the All Hallows ethos. We open up our hearts and home to those in need. Beginning with the House of Mercy penitentiary in 1854, All Hallows has continued to be a source of comfort and shelter to many. The nature of our work has changed with society and the numbers of Sisters in our Community, but our desire to help others has remained a constant.
As a smaller Community now, we have fewer resources than at other times in our history. We have adapted to meet the different needs and circumstances of those we serve. We now provide guesthouse accommodation and quiet days and retreats for individuals wishing to stay for a short while. Our accommodation is basic, but comfortable and our gardens have formal and informal areas, providing abundance, beauty and variety for those in need of peace and a place to reflect.
The Community supports and is supported by our Oblates and Associates.