In 1992 the Company had over 40 members; but the decision of the Church of England’s General Synod in that year to proceed to the ordination of women to the priesthood caused a crisis of conscience for many. As a result, in 1994 over half of the members withdrew in order to seek admission to the Roman Catholic Church.
During 1994 and 1995, the remaining members engaged in a serious and prayerful re-examination of the Company’s life and purpose. This led, among other things, to a recognition of our affinity in spirit, and work, with the original body of Mission Priests, founded by St. Vincent de Paul in 1625, and, then, to our joy, to a growing affiliation with the worldwide Vicentian family, which includes the Congregation of the Mission, the Daughters of Charity, and our own Anglican Sisters of Charity, as well as the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and some other bodies. We have gained much from this ecumenical closeness, and we are very grateful to our confreres and sisters for their help and guidance.
Since 1995 we have grown again. We can still be found working primarily in the big housing estates and inner-city areas, engaging in mission, but a great change has meantime come over us. Once we were well known for operating “clergy houses”, where two or more of our members lived and worked together. Now, because of the shortage of clergy, the needs of the Church are different; so very many of our members live and work separately. However, we try to arrange for such members to be able to share with others nearby, wherever possible, in some elements of common life, prayer and recreation, as well as in the regular meetings of the Company in its regional and general Chapters.
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