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The Sisterhood of St John the Divine is a monastic community of women within the Anglican Church of Canada. Founded in Toronto, we are a prayer- and gospel-centered monastic community, bound together by the call to live out our baptismal covenant through the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. These vows anchor us in Jesus’ life and the transforming experience of the Gospel. Nurtured by our founding vision of prayer, community and service, we are open and responsive to the needs of the Church and the world, continually seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our life and ministries. St John’s Convent nurtures and supports the life of the whole Sisterhood. Our guest house welcomes individuals and groups who share in the community’s prayer and liturgy; offers regularly scheduled retreats and quiet days, spiritual direction, and discernment programs for those seeking guidance in their life and work; and provides Sisters to preach, teach, speak, lead retreats and quiet days. Our programs help people build bridges between secular culture, the Church, and the monastic tradition. The Sisterhood witnesses to the power of Christ’s reconciling and forgiving love through the gospel imperatives of prayer, spiritual guidance, justice, peace, care for creation, hospitality, ministering to those in need, and promoting unity, healing, and wholeness.
The Sisters advocate for a vision of health care at the St. John’s Rehab site of Sunnybrook Hospital which expresses SSJD’s values in a multi-faith, multi-cultural setting. The Sisters provide spiritual and pastoral support for patients, staff and volunteers.
St John’s House in the Diocese of British Columbia is a community of Sisters committed to being a praying presence in the Diocese. Prayer, intentional community, hospitality, and mission are at the heart of our life in the Diocese and beyond.
DETAILS OF ASSOCIATES, OBLATES, ALONGSIDERS AND COMPANIONS:
Our approximately seven hundred Associates are women and men who follow a Rule of Life and share in the ministry of the Sisterhood. The Sisterhood of St John the Divine owes its founding to the vision and dedication of the clergy and lay people who became the first Associates of SSJD. A year of discernment is required before being admitted as an Associate to see if the Associate Rule helps the person in what she/he is seeking; and to provide the opportunity to develop a relationship with the Sisters and to deepen his or her understanding and practice of prayer. The Associate Rule provides a framework for the journey of faith. There are three basic commitments: belonging to a parish; the practice of prayer, retreat, study of scripture, and spiritual reading; and the relationship with SSJD. Write to the Associate Director nearest you for further information.
The 23 Oblates of the Community are women who wish to make a promise of prayer and service in partnership with the Sisterhood. Each Oblate develops her own Rule of Life in partnership with the Oblate Director, her spiritual director, and a support group. A year of discernment is also required, as well as an annual residency program. Write to The Reverend Mother at the Convent in Toronto for more information.
An Alongsider is a woman who lives “alongside” the community of the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine, moving back and forth between the monastery and the world outside. She lives in the cloister with the Sisters and participates in many of the community activities (including worship, conference and recreation) and shares in household tasks. Alongside the Sisters, she is committed to a daily practice of personal prayer, spiritual reading and reflection on sacred Scripture and assists the Sisters in their ministries.
Companions are young women (ages 21 – 39) who have a desire to deepen their relationship with God, a willingness to follow Jesus in his radical obedience, and an openness to the leading of the Holy Spirit in the path of life. They live on the edge of the enclosure, join in the community worship, conference and recreation, form community among themselves, assist the Sisters in their work and ministry and have the opportunity to take courses at Wycliffe College, part of the Toronto School of Theology.