Alsike kloster and the Sisters of the Holy Spirit
the first world war when borders were again open for travelling, the old
contacts with the Anglo Catholic branch of the Anglican Church and its
monastic life by priests and laypeople of the High Church movement within
Church of Sweden were renewed. Also many new Roman Catholic Orders had
settled in Sweden such as the Birgittines, the Dominicans and the
Carmelites. On the continent several Protestant communities were under
formation – the Taizé brothers, the Sisters at Grandchamp, the Sisters of
Mary in Darmstadt, the Reuilly Deaconesses at Versailles and many others.
There seemed to be a growing interest in monastic life
and also here in Sweden quite a few young men and women asked themselves if
God was calling them to this sort of life.Out
of it grew about ten smaller or larger communities of brothers and sisters
who tried to establish this kind of life in a Lutheran context and a more
and more secularised society.
The task was not easy. Convents were considered very “Catholic”. The Swedish Church had abolished all forms of monastic life under the Reformation century – to be a Roman Catholic was regarded as treason. Also the growing unrest within the Swedish Church because of the introduction of women priests and bishops contributed to the difficulties. About half of them preferred in the end to seek help from the Roman Catholic Church which resulted in the establishing of two Benedictine monasteries for women and one Franciscan for men. One large community accommodated to the new situation. The others are all to be found within the Traditional wing of the Church which finds itself more and more marginalized.
At the same time traditional monastic life was put under the scrutinizing eyes of progressive and feministic members of Roman Catholic Orders who wanted a life more conform to the new and equal status of women in society which led to much unrest, many desertions and some totally new conceptions of community life.
Our small community grew out of the vocation of sr Marianne Nordström. In 1948 she decided to learn more by entering the Anglican community of the Holy Paraclete at Whitby. In 1954 she decided to return to Sweden and pronounced her first vows to Fr Gunnar Rosendal, then vicar of Osby and quite a well-known High Church leader. In 1955 sr Ella Persson and sr Marianne started their community life in Stockholm, moved after a few years to Uppsala, took up work among students and in 1964 found their future convent in an old parish schoolhouse outside Uppsala. Their first visitor was the bishop of Visby, Olof Herrlin, at that time Dean of Uppsala Cathedral – their present one is the former Archbishop Gunnar Weman. Sisters and novices have come and gone - of them one has remained, sr Karin Johansson. Since 1978 the Sisters have been occupied in helping refused refugees to a new trial by taking them in as sanctuary guests and procuring a new and better procedure. Two police raids have drawn attention to this work and involuntarily caused a lot of positive reactions. The Sisters have also worked in the parish with children, music and retreats.
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