Stages of the Order of Our Lady

These are the stages of the Order, set forth for all chapters worldwide by the Episcopal Synod of The Liberal Catholic Church.

The Stage of Purity
At stage one the member is asked to direct her self–endeavor at the physical body: “Therefore it becomes your duty in this Stage of Purity to hasten the process of fully controlling your physical body and of learning rightly to express yourself through it. As far as is possible, therefore, your body is to be kept in perfect health and cleanliness, and you are to see that it devotes its energies to God’s service in harmony and rhythm. In your gesture, in your manner and your speech strive to show forth the ideal of beauty, never forgetting that our physical bodies are temples of the Holy Ghost.”

Realistically linking the temple of her physical body symbolically with the physical church building, it is recommended that the member at the Stage of Purity should take on responsibility for the cleanliness of the Church (including, of course, the Sanctuary into which she should be formally admitted as a server), and the orderliness of all things therein, “striving to show forth the ideal of beauty.”

Stage of Devotion
The self–development undertaken at stage two concerns the emotional nature. “In this Stage of Devotion you offer your heart to the Holy Lady Mary, our heavenly Mother, to be moulded in the image of her own heart of love for all and compassion for all who suffer... Thus will you receive empowerment of your heart for the life of service.”

Regarding the heart as symbolizing the gateway to the spiritual life, it is recommended that the member at this stage takes up the responsibility for the entrance of the Church — unlocks the doors before the service and locks them when the church is empty, also its cleanliness and overall appearance (taking into account local procedures and protocols).

Stage of Knowledge
At stage three the self development is directed at the mind: “In this stage — that of Knowledge — it will be your duty at once to train your mind and to influence for good the minds of others. To this end you must develop the power of concentration… In addition to holding the mind under control, it should be kept pure… Also in this stage of Knowledge, your mind should be employed effectively in study.”

It is recommended that the Sister in this degree takes care of the liturgies and hymnals before and after the service. She ensures that the epistle and gospel books are available, with the proper texts of the day made visible: also the hymns to be sung are shown clearly. Responsible for protocol and church statistics, also for collecting the lists of prayers for the sick and the dead.  The Sister must always, again after proper and satisfactory training, be prepared to say/sing Prime or a Complin whenever this is needed.

Stage of Love
Stage four is for the development of the faculty of Intuition: “This Stage of Love is to help you quicken your spiritual faculties, especially the Intuition, through which the light of divine love and wisdom may illumine mind and heart. So will you begin to perceive your oneness with your fellowmen and with all living creatures, and to cultivate and strengthen your power of love… Whatever is in consonance with love that you will think and feel and do with all your strength: from whatever is against the spirit of love you will turn firmly aside.”

In fostering that inner light of divine love and wisdom within the sanctuary of her own soul, it is recommended that in the physical temple, the member should light the sanctuary light and put on other lights before the service and extinguish them after the service. It may also be considered appropriate, especially if there is a Service to Our Lady prior to the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, that one of the Order leads the servers from the Lady altar to the High altar for the lighting of the candles.

Stage of Will
Learning to be resolute in overcoming human weaknesses and ultimately submitting the human will to the Divine Will is the purpose of the Stage of Will. It is recommended that in symbolic resistance to evil, the member at this Stage sees to it that the celebrant prepares the holy water and that this water is available at the church entrance. She ensures also that the thurible is ready for use and also learns how to cense with the right intention, if so needed.

Stage of Wisdom (Office of Deaconess)
The Sister has now to participate actively in the work of the Parish. This includes assisting the priest, when necessary, to visit the sick and all those who need counseling. She should also assist the priest in other pastoral activities.

© OOL-NM 2011-2016