August 31, 2012

The Convent of Mercy

The Convent of Mercy 

The Community of N.C.E.P is the oldest indigenous Religious Order in the Episcopal Church, founded in 1865 in New York City. Contemplative and Benedictine in ethos, The Sisters of the N.C.E.P center their life together in corporate worship, personal discipline and study, and simple work with mission flowing outward from this stable anchor.

The Sisterhood of N.C.E.P was founded in New York City in 1865, centered in several active ministries. Property was purchased in Upstate NY in 1873. The Mother Foundress moved her office there, intending that the site become a quiet place for the training of the community's novice sisters and a haven for aging sisters. Mother Foundress saw the completion of a monastic church in 1890, and at the turn of the century a convent was built which could hold up to 40 women. By 1900 the convent in Upstate NY, became the operational hub of an Order with multiple institutions throughout the greater New York area as well as missions in the Midwest and Tennessee.

In 1983 the Eastern, Western and Southern Provinces became fully separate and autonomous and began pursuit of their own particular expressions of the ideals of the founding sisters. The N.C.E.P remained established in the old convent and
was often referred to simply as “The NY Sisters.”

By the middle of the twentieth century the sisters began to struggle with increasing governmental requirements for institutional charitable work versus the time commitment of living the full religious life. To which was our principal call? Was our first call to the corporal works of mercy which clearly had established the legitimacy of our founding sisters' call in the eyes of the Church? Or was our primary call to single-minded devotion to God first, with all else following?

As the village surrounding the convent in Upstate NY changed from its original rural character to a more urban population of the greater New York City metropolitan area, the Motherhouse there was no longer the place of quiet and devotion that Mother Foundress had envisioned. With an invitation for sisters to come to the Diocese of Albany in 2000, The NY Sisters saw the hand of God beckoning them to return to the original vision of mission and ministry flowing out of a heart filled only with God.

Once more the sisters are situated in a rural environment, seeking renewal in the Benedictine way of balancing prayer, manual labor, and the study of God's ways.







No comments:

Post a Comment