On 25th June 1861 a new Anglican religious community began. Founded by Benjamin Lancaster, a London businessman, the community was to be actively engaged in health and care provision. Susan Oldfield was appointed as the first Reverend Mother for the Sisterhood.
The Sisterhood of St Peter was originally based in Brompton Square in London, moving to Kilburn in North London a few years later in 1869. St Peter’s Home, Woking was built in 1883. It became the Mother house of the Community during the Second World War when the Kilburn Convent was destroyed by bombing.
Over the decades the Woking complex had a convent, a hospital, a home for the elderly, a guest house, a home for adults with learning difficulties and a retreat house. At its height there were a number of additional houses around the country and a new community was established as a mission order in Seoul, South Korea in 1925. Today the Community of the Holy Cross in Seoul continues to thrive as an independent order with close links to the Sisterhood of St Peter.
By the late 1980s the numbers of Sisters in England had dwindled and the old Convent was sold. A new modern nursing home and convent building was opened in 1988. Sadly in 2002 it too had to close. The charity continues to support and provide care for the remaining Sisters, who are now dispersed.
The Charity’s retreat house, St Columba’s House, was founded in 1967 and continues its work today. St Columba’s was extended and refurbished in 2009 to provide high quality en-suite accommodation and attractive meeting spaces. It remains a place of welcome for those of all faiths and none.