There will be an opportunity to Gift Aid your donation, and/or to direct your gift to the brothers, or sisters or a particular house, after you have completed the final page on PayPal (PayPal account not required).

Sisters of Bethany celebrate centenary of death of their mother foundress

The Society of the Sisters of Bethany, now based in Portsmouth, recently celebrated the centenary of the death of their Mother Foundress Etheldreda Anna Bennett, at St. Clement’s Church in Bournemouth, adjacent to the community’s former convent and orphanage. The founder of The Community of St. Francis, Sister Rosina, was a member of The Society of the Sisters of Bethany for 21 years before leaving to found CSF in1905, so SS.B and CSF have some shared history.

The congregation on the Feast of Bethany included Sue CSF and two SSF brothers who travelled over from Hilfield: Br. Vincent, and Br Stephen from Korea, who was staying at Hilfield at the time. The Benedictines from Alton Abbey attended and took part in the liturgy. The large congregation also included sisters and brothers from various other communities, and many long-term friends of SS.B.

The day began with the Eucharist of the Feast of Bethany, at which Bishop Trevor Willmott, the Community’s Bishop Visitor presided and preached. After coffee there was a Service of Thanksgiving which traced the Community’s history from its foundation nearly 150 years ago up to the present day. This was followed by the blessing of a memorial stone in the church yard, and a buffet lunch in the church hall, formerly the convent chapel.

 Dr Peta Dunstan at the Service of Thanksgiving, speaking about the Anglo Catholic Revival at the time of SS.B's foundation in 1866


Dr Peta Dunstan at the Service of Thanksgiving, speaking about the Anglo Catholic Revival at the time of SS.B’s foundation in 1866

 Mother Rita Elizabeth SS.B and Bishop Trevor Willmott at the blessing of the memorial stone


Mother Rita Elizabeth SS.B and Bishop Trevor Willmott at the blessing of the memorial stone