“There is a good zeal which separates from vices and leads to God and to life everlasting.”
Our Gilbertine community has its roots in the Sempringham Order founded in 1131 — the only medieval Religious Order of English origin (commonly known as the Gilbertines), but our contemporary expression started to take shape in the mid 1990s in South Dakota. Blue Cloud Abbey, a Swiss-American Benedictine Congregation located near the town of Marvin, had a lively Oblate programme which included many Anglicans, some of whom in 1996, felt called to form their own Benedictine association. This association, which still exists today, came to Canada a decade later where both Bro. Robert-Charles and Bro. Sean-Patrick joined in Vancouver. Bro. Robert-Charles was ultimately elected the First Prior General of the small association of Anglican Benedictine Canons in North America.
The Brothers established a Religious House on the Feast of St. Monica, 2010, in Manitoba in the Anglican Diocese of Brandon. They were originally established at the Rectory in Carberry, but the community began to grow when they had the opportunity to establish their Priory, Charles House, in the See city. This group, under the leadership of Bro. Robert-Charles, soon after their arrival to Manitoba, began a long process of discernment regarding the Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum coetibus, promulgated by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009. This document provides a path for groups of Anglicans to become fully Roman Catholic, while retaining elements of their worship traditions and spiritual heritage. This process of discernment reached a new stage when Bishop Lopes became the first bishop of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, and a more decisive stage after the Anglican Church of Canada held a controversial Synod in Toronto in the Summer of 2016; three members of the community were in attendance. It was decided then, that the path towards full communion would be begun. This, by the grace of God, has now been accomplished though the community has been fractured by the decision.
It was hoped that the Community could remain intact with both Roman Catholic and Anglican members, but the Superiors’ Council of the Anglican Association determined that this could not be the case. Bro. Robert-Charles resigned as the Prior General of that wider association of Anglican Benedictine communities in October 2016, he renounced Anglican Orders as well as the doctrine and discipline of the Anglican Church of Canada, and begun (upon the advice of the first Bishop of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter) the revival of the Gilbertines which now come together as a Roman Catholic Private Association of the Faithful.
Unfortunately the membership of our community (which was already small) dwindled all-the-more as a result of the decision towards full communion. Those who could not join us in becoming members of the One, Holy, Catholic Church, were transferred to other Anglican Benedictine communities in Canada and the United States, and yet others were released from their obligations.
Our little Catholic community, currently include two Brothers and one Sister, each members of the original community established in Manitoba, as well as three Companion members.
We moved from Brandon, Manitoba and established ourselves in Calgary, Alberta on 1st July in service of St. John the Evangelist and the surrounding neighbourhood of Inglewood. We are eagerly developing our friendship with the Catholic parish of St. Thomas More in Toronto with whom we enjoy a prayer partnership. And of course, we joyfully continue in our ministry of prayer, presence and service.