Ancient prayer draws new interest in Canada

  • August 29, 2008

{mosimage}ACTON, Ont. - Lee Anne Berry calls herself a “lamb seeker.”

Berry, a retired special needs educational assistant, is a member of the contemplative prayer group the Intercessors of the Lamb and leads the group in Acton, west of Toronto. Berry said she named her group the “lamb seekers” because she and her group members want to bring those who are lost back to God through intercessory prayer.

At 62, Berry has survived poverty, a broken marriage and physical and sexual abuse as a child. What’s helped her healing in the past three years, she said, is being part of this prayer group.

“You notice that in the group, how they’re able to share their deepest hurts,” she said.

The teachings and contemplative prayer have led to greater awareness, healing and freedom, Berry added.

This association borrows from the ancient form of contemplative prayer which is attracting new followers, especially in Canada, according to the group’s founder, Mother Nadine Brown. Of the 349 groups worldwide, 45 groups are in Canada, 34 of them based in Ontario.

The Omaha-based Intercessors of the Lamb was recognized as a Public Association of the Christian Faithful 10 years ago. Its founder, Brown, who is known as Mother Nadine to her followers, said she was called by God to establish a new association after being a cloistered nun for 16 years.

“I saw the church had gotten away from authentic contemplative spirituality which left the door open for new age (spirituality), which the pope had warned about,” said Brown in a telephone interview from Omaha.

The association’s primary apostolate is to pray for priests.

“A renewed priesthood is a renewed church,” Brown said.

Prayer meetings consist of listening to religious music, scriptural meditation, a reading from one of Mother Nadine’s books and faith-sharing. It can last up to one-and-a-half hours.

Recently, the group has been making inroads in Ontario. Since two nuns from the Intercessors of the Lamb led a prayer retreat in Acton in April, five new groups have sprung up, including groups in Hanover, Milton and Burlington. Two more groups in Brantford and Kitchener will start in the fall.

Diana LeGree will be leading the newest group in Burlington. The group already has eight members.

“It’s enjoyable to be together, to pray together,” she said.

The 49-year-old mother of five said she feels called to “stand in the gap” and intercede for others through prayer, especially when she reads about tragedies in the newspaper.

Back in Acton, Berry said she and her seven group members consider Brown their “spiritual mother” and draw upon her writings on self-awareness, forgiveness and inner healing.

While many are most likely re-thinking vacation plans in light of skyrocketing fuel prices, Berry made the 20-hour drive to Omaha with two friends for the Intercessors of the Lamb’s 15th annual conference which ran July 13 to 18.

Berry, who attended the conference for the first time last year, said she was particularly moved when she and the other participants knelt before each of the 500 priests and prayed over them.

Meanwhile, in Ottawa, longtime member Susan Allen, 61, said she is drawn to Brown’s teachings on forgiveness because she had survived her father’s suicide when she was 17. Allen started the Intercessors of the Lamb prayer group in Mississauga five years ago after Brown visited an Ottawa parish. And Allen continues to participate in prayer meetings via telephone even though she now lives in Ottawa. The Mississauga group has multiplied to 10 groups, Allen said, and has included a recent workshop for teenagers.

“Most of the teachings are helping to heal different wounds in our soul,” said Allen.

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

  1. Posting comment as a guest.
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location