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Female secondary school teacher, with a calling to priesthood, Catholic 40s, UK

Discerning a calling to the priesthood ended up with excommunication

I came into the Catholic Church through working with a wonderful order of nuns when I went to university. They were inspirational and brought my faith alive. I began my formation to be a lay oblate with them. 

As part of my degree, I worked in France as a lay chaplain in a boarding school. One night a group of girls came and told me of abuse perpetuated by one of the priest chaplains. The next morning I went to the police. The priest chaplain was instantly removed and prosecuted. I have never understood then or now why what worked then did not work in so many other contexts where children were harmed.

I returned to England and worked and volunteered with my order while teaching and was very happy. But I had begun to discern a calling to the priesthood – a gift from being allowed to preach and lead prayers in that school. I joined Catholic Women’s Ordination and campaigned. 

In 2005 I travelled to Canada and supported the first ordinations of RC women in North America. On my return to England, I was called into the Provincial’s office and dismissed as a lay oblate, and later excommunicated