The first Gilbertines were anchoresses attached to the Sempringham church. They had prevailed upon St. Gilbert
to be their spiritual director, and he advised the current trend of anchoritism.
One thing led to
another, and lay sisters were started to care for the anchoress' needs. A wall was built for privacy. Lay brothers
were started for the sake of the farming. Canons were founded to minister to the spiritual needs of the Order.
monasteries were then built according to St. Gilbert's constitutional specifications.
Today's renewal efforts begin with the lay associates. From there, those drawn to the religious
community will separate for their experimentation time.
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