“If I knew things would no longer be, I would have tried to remember better. “
This is Sam Krichinsky’s lament from the 1990 movie Avalon about life in his in his beloved Baltimore. Sam, who had come to Baltimore in 1914, had stayed the same as the world around him changed.
Long before the fictional Sam came to Baltimore, in 1872 actually, a group of Anglican Sisters, the All Saints Sisters of the Poor, came to Baltimore to live a life of poverty, chastity, and obedience. They sought to live this live as orthodox Christians and Episcopalians. But like Sam and his beloved Baltimore, they found that while they tried to stay the same as the world around them changed.
Most acutely, they found themselves swimming against the tide in the Episcopal Church which they belong increasingly sought relevance in adapting to the whims of the culture while the sisters sought the orthodox Christian faith.
As Sam’s world changed, his memory of what once was became his last refuge and when it began to fail him he knew it was lost forever and he voiced his lament. Rather than offer the same lament, the All Saints Sisters of the Poor have decided to join with those who have not forgotten, the Catholic Church.
After an intensive, years-long period of prayer and discernment, the order of All Saints Sisters of the Poor will be received into the Roman Catholic Church by the Archbishop of Baltimore on Sept. 3.
“We are very sorry for any pain that this move might cause our friends,” said the Rev. Mother Christina, superior of the order, told The LivingChurch. “But everyone must try to follow where they feel God is leading them.
“We want to be sensitive to those who do not believe as we do. We don’t want to point fingers. We are after all sinners in the eyes of God.”
“We tried to be faithful in The Episcopal Church as we understand scriptures, but we seem to be drifting farther and farther apart,” she said. “For the past two years in particular we felt as if we were no longer making a difference in this church. We felt as if we no longer belong.”
Mother Christina said that the order discussed its situation with a number of other Anglican groups, including the Anglican Mission in the Americas, the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, and the Anglican Church in America led by the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan. The sisters also met with the Antiochian Orthodox Church in America.
“The Roman Catholic Church was the last one we thought about asking,” Mother Christina said, but added that the order felt a strong kinship almost immediately.
When Sam Krichinsky got off the boat in 1914 and saw Baltimore for the first time all lit up he was overcome with its beauty and knew he had found his new home. I imagine the All Saints Sisters of the Poor feel share Sam’s joy at finding their new home.
Sisters, welcome home.