In the Church of England, several communities of women devoted to works of charity have been organized in the present century.
1. Sisters of Mercy were founded at Devonport, about 1845, by Miss Lydia Sellon, and were at first under the visitorial control of the bishop of Exeter. The society is composed of three orders, viz. those living in the community and leading an active life; those unable to take work, but who wish to lead a quiet, contemplative life; and married and single women who live in the world, but are connected with and assist the community. The Sisters are bound only by the vow of obedience to the superior, and are free to abandon their vocation at will.
2. A sisterhood for nursing the sick at their homes, or in hospitals, etc., was founded at East Grinstead by Dr. John Mason Neale in 1855. In 1874 it had houses in London, Aberdeen, Wigan, and Frome-Selwood.
3. Sisterhood of St. John the Baptist was founded at Clewer in 1849, and embraces
(1) choir and lay sisters living in community;
(2) a second order (formed in 1860) of those who enter for periods of three years, to be renewed at their own desire and with the consent of the Sisters;
(3) associates, who live in their own home and render such assistance as they may.
4. Sisterhood of St. Mary, Wangate, was established in, 1850, and has branch houses at Bedminster, Plymouth, and other places.
5. Sisterhood of St. Mary the Virgin was established at Wymering in 1859, and consists of sisterhood (residents) and ladies of charity (associates). It has branches at Manchester and Aldersholt.
6. Sisterhood of St. Thomas the Martyr has its parent house at Oxford, and branches at Liverpool and Plymouth,
7. Sisters of the Poor were founded in 1851, and have their parent house in London, with branches at Edinburgh, Clifton, Eastbourne, and West Chester. In the Protestant Episcopal Church, the Sisters of the Holy Communion were founded by the exertions of the Rev. W.A. Muhlenburg, in connection with the Church of the Holy Communion in New York. They are under no vows, and leave whenever they please. They are usually received between the ages of twenty-five and forty years; if under twenty-
five, they must secure the consent of their parents or guardians. Since 1858 they have had charge of St. Luke's Hospital, New York.
There is also a community of four or five sisters associated with the "House of Prayer," Newark, N.J.