The Brentwood Ursulines are an autonomous diocesan congregation. We were founded from Forest Gate in 1900, and for reasons now lost in the mists of time we did not join the Roman Union with Forest Gate and the other English communities. So although we share the same Ursuline charism and traditions and have many things in common, we also have a century of our own evolution.
Today we are a small group in the Brentwood, Essex area. We founded and staffed two schools in Kenya , and still have a presence there. We built and worked in primary schools in the Diocese, and the Brentwood Ursuline Convent High School, which Mother Clare came to Brentwood to start, is just up the road from where we live now.
The majority, including those who are frailer and more elderly, live in The Grange, in the heart of Brentwood, where the Generalate is based. Some Sisters work in day-centres for the homeless, a local hospice, a centre for asylum seekers and refugees, prison and hospital chaplaincy, parish ministry, with the Travelling community, and in one-to-one accompaniment.
We work with young people through Sacramental Preparation programmes, learning support and as School Governors. We have an ‘Ursuline Network’ group for associates from different walks of life, some of whom have made a formal commitment.
In recent years we have become more and more aware that 'it’s more about being than doing'. We have been reclaiming one aspect of Angela’s charism that speaks to us with particular emphasis: that the original Company of St Ursula was for laywomen. We feel we are on the threshold of something new and life-giving, as we open our home and our hearts to women of all ages and many lifestyles who are searching for meaning today.