Scottish Diocese Welcomes Community of Marian Franciscans – Thank You So Much, Bishop Robson!

Scottish Diocese Welcomes Community of Marian Franciscans – Thank You So Much, Bishop Robson!

From the website of the Diocese of Dunkeld

The Lawside site, the original campus of Lawside Academy and the Mercy Convent has been up for sale for a good while now, as the Convent and Pastoral Centre have become sadly surplus to requirement.

Once the Mercy Sisters diminished in numbers and left the Diocese of Dunkeld, the property was purchased by the diocese for pastoral use, both for the diocese and for the diocesan Offices. However, with the realisation that at least the main buildings of convent, and pastoral centre, were no longer of use to the Church, the diocese has been endeavouring to find a good potential use and price for these buildings.

Bishop Stephen Robson said, “One criterion which I, as Bishop, certainly believed ought to be taken into consideration is the fact that it would be good to be able to hand on the property to an organisation which would use it well, and keep it, in Catholic hands, given its past history. The Trustees of the diocese were all involved at crucial moments.”

“Once the site was offered for sale, we eventually had six bidders. Some were from developers who wanted to develop the whole site for housing or other less suitable purposes. Others wanted to renovate the buildings for flats for re-sale; others again wanted to clear and demolish the buildings and develop the land, but the convent was problematic. It is listed as a building of significant character and historical interest, and therefore there would be little the developers would be able to do with it. Two of the bidders were religious congregations, both traditional Catholic religious communities. One of these communities wanted only the convent and nothing else but bid a low price. The other bidder pulled out and lost interest.”

“Then, almost out of the blue, another religious congregation expressed interest. They came up from Portsmouth in the south of England, fell in love with it, and offered to buy it. However, the sale was even more propitious than this, because they wanted to purchase not only St Joseph’s Convent, but also the Pastoral Centre.”

Photo courtesy of Eddie Mahoney

The Community of Franciscan Sisters and Friars, known as the Franciscan Family of the Immaculate – or the Marian Franciscans; or more formally the Sisters of the Immaculate and St Maximilian Kolbe and the Friars of the Immaculate and St Francis, have lived for a number of years down in Portsmouth Diocese under Bishop Philip Egan. Even though they are coming to this diocese, they will also be present in Portsmouth, to which technically they still are attached. The Convent buildings they used to occupy were both too small and their lease had ended, and the building was placed up for sale. For the past year the Community has looked the length and breadth of the country looking for a suitable home. And then they discovered Lawside, St Joseph’s. It was just what they wanted, and they fell in love with it. It was a building designed and built precisely for the religious life. And it was a perfect size. They were able to have a full convent life in St Joseph’s and make the pastoral centre a Franciscan Friary.

Bishop Stephen added, “the Marian Franciscans, their shortened name, have been around for a while in the Diocese of Portsmouth. They are an Old and New Rite traditional Catholic Community. Though among themselves and in their own community they celebrate Mass and the Office in the Old Liturgy, they are also able to celebrate Mass in the so-called Novus Ordo or New Rite as in all our parishes in the diocese. As from last week, and because of their special, urgent circumstances, they all arrived in Lawside.”

“The friars just now are three priest-friars and four simple professed friars preparing for the priesthood in their first year of theological and philosophical studies. They are all quite young.”

Photo courtesy of Fr Pio

“The Sisters are a relatively new community and are all quite young. There are, presently, 20 Franciscan sisters in total: 10 sisters are professed, six are novices and four are postulants. They are a very impressive community, and the Mother Superior, Mother Veronica, is Italian and the deputy, Sister lraenea is American. Five of the community are American, two English, three Polish, two Italian, one Filipina, two Indonesians etc; “

“The friars are from County Durham, London, Italy and Nigeria.”

“The Franciscans will also be able to look after the Latin Mass community from now on, so keeping them all together for Mass at Lawside. And supply work by the friars, if they are asked, will be possible in our parishes. They will also concelebrate with us at the Chrism Mass with the rest of our priests.”

“Let us offer them a welcoming hand; love and tolerance; and a realisation that our wonderful Catholic Church is so much bigger, wider, and more inclusive than we sometimes even realise, allow for, or are even aware of. It will be good to have young religious about the place.”

“The Friars will, of course, remain incardinated in Portsmouth and the Sisters, as the religious community was founded as such by Bishop Egan of Portsmouth. But they will all live among us and in buildings built for the very purpose of religious life once again. They are our guests, but we also want them to feel part of our diocesan family.”

“I do hope you will make them feel welcome. They are young, impressive and a pleasure to meet.”    Source…

      Bishop Stephen Robson

Editor writes…

This is wonderful news.  Let’s hope and pray that this new religious community feels at home in the Diocese of Dunkeld – and, who knows, may find themselves looking for Houses in other parts of Scotland…. not least, my own home Archdiocese of Glasgow!   Your thoughts…

Comments (30)

  • Josephine

    I’m really pleased to read this news. It’s a pity the friars don’t just say the traditional Latin Mass, but I suppose that would have prevented them being allowed into any diocese so it’s a case of “wise as serpents”. It’s great news that there is a traditional religious community in Scotland – anywhere!

    I echo that “thank you, Bishop Robson”!

    November 29, 2022 at 6:27 pm
    • Margaret Mary

      Oh, goodness – that is terrific news. I remember that Order from a while back when they were investigated by the Vatican for being traditional leaning or something like that. Thank the Lord they have been rehabilitated, LOL!

      Welcome to Scotland!

      November 29, 2022 at 6:49 pm
      • Fidelis

        Welcome to Scotland from me, too. I sincerely hope this religious community settles here and prays hard for this godless nation.

        November 29, 2022 at 10:45 pm
    • Bernie

      “Wise as serpents” – how true. Under Pope Francis, it doesn’t pay to be too upfront if you want to spread the Latin Mass and faith. God bless Bishop Robson.

      November 29, 2022 at 10:04 pm
  • Lily

    I’m always pleased when a new religious community appears in any diocese. We need more religious communities these days, the more the merrier.

    The Marian Franciscans, sisters and friars, look lovely and I wish them well.

    Their arrival in Scotland, and the sign of a statue of Our Lady of Fatima on the table in the photo at the top, gives me a great sense of hope. This is really good news.

    November 29, 2022 at 6:54 pm
    • Michaela


      I totally agree. The disappearance of the religious life is something that has greatly saddened me, so this is fantastic news. Not just a religious order, but one dedicated to Our Lady! It can only be a blessing for Dunkeld, and for Scotland.

      November 29, 2022 at 10:13 pm
  • Catherine

    Wonderful news. I’m delighted. Welcome to Scotland. This does give hope for the future.

    November 29, 2022 at 9:55 pm
  • Laura

    I agree with everyone – this is marvellous news. I do hope the Marian religious come to Glasgow, at some point!

    We are blessed to have Bishop Robson – he has always supported the TLM, as far as I know.

    November 29, 2022 at 10:02 pm
  • Michaela

    I think this is the same Order – this video is dated 20 years ago and is absolutely beautiful. If this is the same Order, there are graces aplenty in store for Bishop Robson and Dunkeld!

    November 29, 2022 at 10:10 pm
  • Michaela

    Sorry, 10 years ago, not 20!

    November 29, 2022 at 10:11 pm
  • Fidelis

    I, too, think this is wonderful news. However, I’m a bit surprised that editor thinks so. No disrespect, editor, but I can remember a time when you would say to steer clear of the non-SSPX groups because they were compromised by being in the diocesan structures, so they would have to agree to say the novus ordo.

    I don’t like the idea of traditional priests saying the novus ordo myself, but I think things are so bad now that there has to be a bit of cutting some slack. I’m guessing you’ve come to the same conclusion, LOL!

    November 29, 2022 at 10:42 pm
    • editor


      You are correct. At one time I was unequivocal in my belief that it would be better to attend an SSPX chapel in order to avoid the confusion – especially for converts and parents of young children – that may result from attending diocesan-provided traditional Masses.

      Having attended the diocesan-provided traditional Masses myself for some time now, I am a tad more reflective on the subject.

      The Church is in an unprecedented crisis – worse, even, than the 4th century Arian crisis – and so, as in any war, the “rules” change. It must be up to everyone to inform themselves about the liturgical revolution that has taken place in the Church since 1969, with the introduction of the Novus Ordo Missae (NOM) and, as with every other concern arising from this crisis, parents need to find ways to protect their small children, and educate older children, to avoid any confusion.

      If it is possible to attend the TLM in a diocesan parish to fulfil our Sunday obligation, then that is good. Indeed, I find myself speaking to people who are missing the parish life of old and would like to return to it, albeit not, sadly, in their own parishes. I am increasingly asked for my opinion on this, and my response is always the same: as long as you are fully informed about the issues, e.g. the origins of the new Mass, and steps are taken to avoid the young becoming confused, e.g. about ecumenical activities or other modernist events (if these are advertised in parish bulletins) then – given that we are living in an imperfect world – that is surely acceptable. I always did acknowledge that it was acceptable, just not ideal, but there is nowhere – SSPX included – that is ideal these days. This crisis-apostasy is to be found everywhere and it is very deep. I hear from friends whose only wish is to attend Mass as it was just prior to the Council, simple Low Mass, beautifully served, brief, to the point sermons, lovely hymns expressing love of the Sacred Heart and Our Lady etc. But, as one of said friends has often opined – that’s all long gone now.

      Ideally, of course, it would be best to have a parish where only the traditional Mass and sacraments are offered but I suspect it will take time for that to happen. I can’t see there being a sudden switch – as there was when we were suddenly presented with a new Mass at the end of the Second Vatican Council. I would say this is all very unfair but, hey, who am I to judge 😀

      November 30, 2022 at 1:20 pm
  • Athanasius

    Bishop Robson is the only Bishop in Scotland who retains a true sense of the Catholic Faith and what it means before God to be a bishop of the Catholic Church. This is really good news, albeit tainted by the Novus Ordo part.

    November 29, 2022 at 10:51 pm
  • graeme taylor

    God bless Bishop Robson, a thoughtful man who in undertaking this ( not without raised eyebrows from his brother bishops) is putting his head above the rest.
    These Friars if the Immaculate are a blessing for Scotland, may Our Lady continue Her protection in these diabolical times.

    November 30, 2022 at 11:42 am
    • editor

      Athanasius and graeme,

      I agree – a definite “thumbs-up” for Bishop Robson.

      And there can be no doubt that the religious of the Immaculate will bring graces to Scotland. Deo Gratias!

      November 30, 2022 at 1:23 pm
  • RCAVictor

    “Though among themselves and in their own community they celebrate Mass and the Office in the Old Liturgy, they are also able [emphasis mine] to celebrate Mass in the so-called Novus Ordo or New Rite…”

    Very interesting choice of words! “Able” doesn’t mean they “will” – unless, of course, they are forced to.

    December 1, 2022 at 9:11 pm
    • editor

      RCA Victor,

      Well spotted. That is something I did notice when I first posted the news, and I just prayed that the modernists didn’t! It’s called being wise as serpents and simple as doves…

      I just wish you could get within an arm’s length of the Third Secret of Fatima. I’m convinced if you could only get hold of that envelope, we’d have the scoop of a lifetime on this blog 😀

      December 4, 2022 at 8:54 pm
  • Watersider

    Dear Editor,
    Thank you for posting this. We are blessed here in Angus to have Bishop Robson, and welcome these great Religious orders to Dundee. The Chapel in Lawside is one of the most beautiful and holy places in Scotland (in my humble opinion!)
    Have no fears, our good Bishop states above “they will look after the Latin Mass (Requirements) in our area’ – please note they will CONTINUE to provide Latin masses in Dundee. So have no fears and God Bless.

    December 4, 2022 at 11:36 am
    • editor


      You are, indeed, very blessed to have Bishop Robson but more than that I will not say, because praise from Catholic Truth is not something any priest or bishop wants on his CV 😀

      December 4, 2022 at 8:51 pm
      • Watersider

        Dear Editor,
        Thank you. Understood, over and out.

        December 5, 2022 at 6:56 am
  • Bernard Cooper

    The Editor says that the new Mass was suddenly sprung upon us by Vatican II – but it was not. It was phased in, in stages, bit by bit, and initially by choice……with the old Mass being allowed to run alongside. I remember it well.

    January 15, 2023 at 12:18 pm
    • Athanasius

      Bernard Cooper

      I don’t know what parish you attended when the New Mass appeared but it certainly wasn’t phased in with options in most parishes. When the New Mass was promulgated by Paul VI in 1969, he made it quite clear that this was to be the standard for all parishes going forward. Vatican II did not actually give us the New Mass, it was the invention of Father (later Archbishop) Bugnini working in concert with Paul VI. Indeed, when the New Mass was first tested out on the bishops gathered in Rome for the Bishops Synod (1967), they overwhelmingly rejected it. Still, Paul VI forged ahead and worded his promulgation in such a way as to suggest (dishonestly) that his new rite was now the only one to be celebrated universally. Hence, if what you suggest for your parish is true then the local ordinary and priests must have decided to disobey Paul VI. Nowhere else was the New Mass introduced by degrees with options, other than the carefully orchestrated few months to get the unwary used to their new Protestant service.

      January 15, 2023 at 6:01 pm
    • editor

      Bernard Cooper,

      Sorry to be so late replying to your comment.

      When I said “suddenly sprung upon us by Vatican II” I didn’t meant literally so. I was 21 in 1969 so – like you – I remember it all quite well, although I have no memory of a general phase-in – yes, up to a point but it really was stark: one Sunday we were leaving the TLM and the next Sunday everything seemed to be different. Maybe my memory is flawed – but I do remember saying “Goodness, one minute we have to wear something on our heads, and the next minute we don’t!” So, as ever, my young mind was filled with thoughts of fashion, not exactly the raising up of my heart and soul to God and the fact that we were here attending a brand new Mass. “How dare they take away my mantilla” was really the foremost thought, if I remember correctly, which I probably don’t. 😀

      When I refer to the restoration of the ancient Mass, I do often make the point that it won’t happen as “suddenly” or “overnight” as did the imposition of the New Mass. In that regard, I speak, in the main, figuratively, because even if it took four years to implement the New Mass (and it didn’t seem that way to me) they’d make excuses to spin out the return of the old Mass; four years would become forty at the meetings of the Liturgy Commission(s) the world over, trust me on this. Nor do I recall the option of the TLM remaining – no way did that happen in Glasgow although if anyone else comes on with evidence to contradict me I will, in the spirit of the apology thread elsewhere on this blog today, grovel and find a good cover-story to pretend I knew that all along 😀

      Your closing “I remember it well” reminds me of this entertaining clip, although I am not at all casting aspersions on your memory… Enjoy!

      January 15, 2023 at 8:51 pm
  • Bernard Cooper

    Thank you, but, at 70 years of age, I remember distinctly in my diocese and surrounding parishes that I frequented and it was phased in, starting with the liturgy of the word before moving on to the rest of the Mass. I also lived in a parish with a large community of religious order priests and often we had 8 or more different versions occurring at the numerous Sunday Masses where I served as an altar server almost daily. God bless, Bernard

    January 15, 2023 at 6:08 pm
    • Athanasius

      Bernard Cooper

      I don’t doubt that there was a very clever transition period given to the imposition of that horrendous rite, but it was not long in duration. By 1970, the New Mass was the universal norm. It matters little anyway because it doesn’t alter the fact that it is an illegitimate liturgy at odds with the liturgical tradition of the Church, the decrees of the Second Vatican Council and the objections of many senior prelates. It has almost destroyed the priesthood and the Church in just 50 years.

      January 15, 2023 at 6:47 pm
  • Bernard Cooper

    Thank you again, but I will agree to disagree about the legality or otherwise of the Novus Ordo, sadly recalling the widespread Aboyne of the celebration of the Mass prior to the new rite, and I prefer to defer to each Pope of Rome’s authority. End of matter. God bless you, Bernard

    January 15, 2023 at 6:53 pm
    • Athanasius

      Bernard Cooper

      Thank you for keeping this charitable on this touchy subject, however I would remind you that there is a world of difference between legal and licit. I did not say that the New Mass is illegal, I said it was illegitimate in the sense that it was created and imposed illicitly on the Church, as was Communion in the hand.

      Unlike your good self, I do not blindly obey any and every Pope. I judge everything in accordance with the perennial teaching handed down, which is what Our Lord will judge me on. If I were to obey the whims of Popes then I would be pro-Pachamama (idolatry) and pro-Assisi (the heresy of syncretism). Thank God, I have the guidance of the Church and saints in these matters. St. Robert Bellarmine, for example, tells us that if some contageon of heresy afflicts the Church under a given Pope then our recourse is to cleave to Tradition. That’s all I do in order to save my soul. I left a modern(ist) parish to return to Tradition because, thanks be to God, I saw the falseness of the new religion they were imposing. We see now how utterly destructive Pope Francis is to the moral teaching. Our obedience in such cases is first to God in what He has revealed and handed down for 2000 years.

      I think Archbishop Lefebvre summed it up perfectly when he said: The martyrs sacrificed their lives for the faith. Now they sacrifice the faith”. This is the wisdom of a saint and a true son of Holy Mother Church. There was no blind obedience to Popes on his part when the faith was threatened. God bless.

      January 15, 2023 at 7:14 pm
  • Bernard Cooper

    Thank you again and let’s just leave it that we will pray for each other and for guidance by the Holy Spirit in a non-judgmental way.

    January 15, 2023 at 8:31 pm
    • editor


      Without getting into a debate about what Christ meant by “don’t judge”, He did give us clear instructions about speech: He’s recorded in St Matthew’s Gospel (5) exhorting us – “Let your yes be yes, and your no be no. Everything else comes from the Evil One.”

      So, tap dancing round issues to avoid confrontation is not being “non-judgmental” – with all due respect.

      In any event, yes, let’s leave it there. Last word to me, please and thank you 😀

      January 15, 2023 at 8:57 pm
    • Athanasius

      Bernard Cooper

      Quite happy to leave it there, as you request, but will sayng in closing that while we are obliged in charity to be “non judgmental” in relation to individuals and their motives, we are likewise obliged in accordance with truth and justice to judge the tree by its fruit. The fruits of the Conciliar revolution are evident and very bitter indeed. Paul VI himself warned of what was coming in his 1972 observation that: “through some fissure in the walls the smoke of Satan has entered the Church and set her on a path of auto-destruction”. That destruction is all to obvious today and we must judge on that and take the necessary measures for our own salvation’ sake. God bless.

      January 15, 2023 at 9:02 pm

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