The History of Littleway
Littleway is a gift that has grown rapidly since 1996 out of the shared healing ministry of Father Laurence. Fr. Laurence had been involved in healing ministry, as had Pauline with her husband Peter who died in 1992. Pauline was asked by Fr. Laurence if she would visit Clare Priory. Since it was such a long distance to travel, she didn’t think that she would, but she agreed that provided Fr. Laurence wanted to invite people from her area she would do so.
In the meantime Pauline went to stay with her future daughter in law, Berni. Knowing that she was looking for a venue to take the prayer group for a weekend, Berni mentioned that Clare Priory was only a few miles away. Pauline went to investigate and there she met up again with Fr. Laurence. That October the Wellspring Prayer Group went for a retreat to Clare Priory. Later, at Fr. Laurence’s request, she took a small group from the South of England there.
At the time, a new experiment was taking place at the Priory. Because there was a dearth of Augustinian vocations, and the Augustinians didn’t want to close the Priory, lay people were brought in to be part of the community.
The Augustinian Mother House, which is Clare Priory in Suffolk, was founded in 1248. It was seized by King Henry VIII at the time of the Reformation and as part of the dissolution of the monasteries. It was transferred into private ownership. In 1953 it was sold back to the Augustinians at a reasonable price. Nowadays it is a mixed community of friars and layfolk.
Pauline was asked to join the community mainly to look after the charismatic dimension of the Parish, including the prayer group, since Fr. Laurence was going to Ecuador. She joined the community fully in 1994. Surprisingly and unexpectedly, Fr. Laurence returned to England and Clare Priory.
The Prior, Fr. Malachy Loughran, had seen the way in which Fr. Laurence and Pauline had ministered individually and as he saw that their gifts were complementary he decided to put them together to minister under the auspices of the Augustinian Community.
Although Pauline left the community in the spring of 2000, she and Fr. Laurence continued to minister together under the auspices of subsequent Priors and Provincials. Through their ministering together and sharing the way that they prayed with people for the healing of their painful memories, Littleway Healing Ministries, now known as Littleway, evolved and has grown steadily. They and their leadership team have trained many people in Britain and Ireland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
The non-residential community that has grown out of this ministry has become is known as New Spring. This community, with its teams, feels called to help parishes develop their own healing ministry. This then becomes a powerful and permanent witness to the Lordship of Jesus. We work across the United Kingdom.