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A Passion for Intercessory Prayer: The Historic Vocation of the Society of the Companions of the Holy Cross

Fredrica Harris Thompsett


At a time when the “bonds of affection” might well be prayerfully strengthened within the Anglican Communion, a relatively unknown and certainly an unheralded group of Episcopal women may be an available resource. The Society of the Companions of the Holy Cross, with its long history, practical theology, structure, and practice of intercessory prayer, continues to embrace its passion for building a community of prayer. As this essay highlights, the Society’s history reveals a growing and evolving institution whose members, called Companions, exercise their theological authority and societal awareness in study and discussion of economic, social, industrial, and global concerns leading to informed intercessory prayer. The two founding pillars of the Society—Emily Malbone Morgan and Vida Dutton Scudder—shaped the conscience of the Society and insisted that prayer and action were religious obligations for meeting the social problems of their day. Responding to this vision, the Society was a lead planner and participant in the March 2014 conference “Anglican Women at Prayer: Weaving Our Bonds of Affection.” The success of this conference suggests that the Society, whose membership is located primarily in North America, might extend its vision and passion for intercessory prayer internationally and take on a more public presence within the Anglican Communion. Clearly, women’s practices of prayer and evolving practical theology are alive and well, and deserve the further attention this essay seeks to encourage.

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