Merry Chrismas 2020

Dear friends,

I want to take advantage of these few lines to wish you a merry Christmas on behalf of the CIR Team. These last months will not have spared us, and undoubtedly these holidays will have for some a taste of frustration, of not being able to get together with their friends, their family, and even for many of us of not being able to celebrate these days with our parishioners. Many of them had already been deprived of the Easter celebrations and now these new deprivations have an air of deja vu.

But we should not despair, because God always reaches us in our darkness to give us his light, this is what many of us will hear on Christmas morning with the proclamation of the prologue to the Gospel of Saint John: “He is the true light which gives light to everyone”(Jn 1:9).  And this light that we receive again at Christmas, we in turn have the mission of transmitting it around us.

This light has taken for me, in recent months, a renewed desire for unity. This health crisis has unfortunately brought to light many obscure areas in our societies: disunity, cacophony, selfishness, but it has also revealed new forms of creativity and solidarity.  For example, this has taken the form in Lund (Sweden) where I live of a chain of prayer between priests and pastors to support each other but also to show together a common solidarity in the face of the crisis by broadcasting ecumenical vespers on the internet.

We have been reminded of this encouragement for unity again by Cardinal Koch of the secretariat for the promotion of Christian unity with the publication of the ecumenical vademecum entitled: the bishop and the unity of Christians where in paragraph 23: we read “Consecrated life, which is rooted in the common tradition of the undivided Church, undoubtedly has a particular vocation in promoting unity. Established monastic and religious communities as well as new communities and ecclesial movements can be privileged places of ecumenical hospitality, of prayer for unity and for the exchange of gifts among christians.”

We will be able to live this in a concrete way in January with the week for prayer for Christian Unity with material prepared by our sisters of Grandchamp which has the theme “Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit” (Jn 15:5-9).

And as for us, we hope to be able to meet with you in 2022 for our ecumenical gathering. Until then, let’s pray for one another, and let’s be carriers of light.

On behalf of the Team, once again I wish you a merry and blessed Christmas.

Fraternellement ,

Br. Pierre-André

News 2018

Meeting of the CIR committee in Montserrat abbey – June 2018

The CIR team met (29th – 31st June 2018) in Montserrat abbey in order to prepare the next gathering. We were six: brother Nicolas and Jacob from , sister Christine from Christusbruderschaft in Selbitz, sister Paula, osb, from the monastery of Bouzy-la-forêt, brother Pierre-André, op, from Sweden and sister Thérèse, op, from Langeac, to gather in this magnificent Marian sanctuary which is going to celebrate its millennium.

We were welcomed by sister Marie-Benoît, osb, from the Benedictine monastery of Sant Benet (6 km from the Abbey of Montserrat, on the slope of the same mountain), and by brother Carlos, osb, monk in Montserrat. They will be our referents our gathering next year and they’ve participated in our meeting. CIIR. Montserrat june2018

News 2017

The 20th Interconfessional Conference of Religious took place from 24 to 29 August 2017 in Franconia, Bavaria at the Schwanberg where there is a lively community of Lutheran Nuns who live according to the spirit of St Benedict. They sing the Divine Office in Germany quite beautifully, with nobody dominating the music. The community is quite near Wurzburg.

Divine Office taking place in the modern Church

There were roughly 60 of us present and among us men and women religious who were Lutheran, Evangelical Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox and Catholic. Countries represented were USA, France, Belgium, Sweden, England, Northern Ireland, Germany, Greece, Spain, Switzerland, India, Czech Republic, Australia, Malta and Italy.

More than once it was as though a smaller version of Pentecost was taking place among us: the Spirit seemed to hang over the whole group not only in Church during the Divine Office and Eucharists, but also during our meetings. After a final gathering on the last evening, Monday 28 August when we shared a prayerful moment there was as full a silence as anyone will ever feel. It seemed as if the Holy Spirit was taking us into the life of the Trinity as many seemed to become one. The first Pentecost there was a rushing wind and tongues of fire: here, silent full contemplation, and somehow there was Mary the mother of God among the disciples.

Sister Adelheid giving her foundation talk

The theme, background and context of the Conference was the 500th Anniversary of the start of the Reformation with Martin Luther. A foundation talk was given by Sister Adelheid, a Lutheran sister whose monastery in Hanover is inspired spiritually both by St Ignatius of Loyola and Luther. It was entitled surprisingly “Ignatius of Loyola and Luther – the discovery of a spiritual relationship.”

Read more:

Report on 20 CIR Conference, Jonathan Cotton

News 2015

Read about Rome oecumenical meeting at 22 to25 january 2015 messaggio INGLESE RIVISTO

Read Brother Nicolas Stebbing account N.Stebbing article pilgrimage in Rome CIR


« On February 25th 2014 , 8 of us will arrive in Rome to talk with people about CIR. What do we hope to achieve?

1. We are so delighted with the new Pope’s priorities for a church that cares for the poor that we want to show we are part of that.

2. We would like to invite the Pope to join with other church leaders in promoting the religious life.

3. We want to talk with the Benedictines at Sant Anselmo and with other religious such as the Congregation for the consecrated life about how the search for unity can be a feature of religious life.

4. We also want to draw on their resources to strengthen our life.

5. We want to share the experience we have had over the past 40 years (almost!), that religious life binds us together in a common experience and commitment to follow Jesus; we are bound together by far more than divides us. How can we make that more a reality in our lives?

6. And of course we will pray: 8 religious from 5 different Christian communions praying togethr in Rome, the historical centre of our faith, can only be good can’t it?

Do please pray with us, that this visit turns out to be as profitable for unity and for the Kingdom of God as we hope. »

Nicolas CR