Little Saint Mary’s Church, Cambridge

Catholic Societies

Religious societies and guilds have a long history in the Church of England. Before the Reformation, every parish had a number of societies and guilds, some national, many very local. These societies and guilds would often provide a continuous light burning before, for example, the aumbry or a favourite statue of the Blessed Virgin or a popular or local saint, or maybe flowers as well. They were an important focus of devotion, usually having their own office (set of prayers) that was recited in addition to the Daily Office. One particularly good example of these voluntary offices is the Little Office of the BVM, which was very popular in the late medieval period as a devotion for the laity, very often a daily one.

With the revival of Catholic spirituality in the mid-19th century, a number of societies and guilds sprang up again in the Church, many of which are still going strong today. Four such societies and guilds are represented in 21st-century Little Saint Mary's. All are very welcome to attend any of their events, and you are warmly encouraged to do so.

Download the Catholic Societies' complete Diary for Ely Diocese in 2020-21.


The Society of Mary — Ward of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
To promote devotion to the Mother of the Lord
Ward Superior: Fr Stephen Anderson (01223 843859)
Fr Stephen is Priest in Charge of LSM's neighbouring parish of Saint Botolph's.
All events take place on Tuesday evenings at LSM and usually conclude with refreshments.

  • Tuesday 10th November at 7pm: Vespers & Benediction
    Preacher: Fr Simon Talbott, Rural Dean of Granta
  • Tuesday 8th December at 7pm (Feast of the Immaculate Conception): Mass followed by Ward AGM

You are also very welcome at the Masses which take place at LSM on all the major Marian festivals throughout the year and are usually followed by refreshments:

The Guild of All Souls 
To promote prayer for the departed and care for the dying and bereaved
All are welcome to all events

  • Thursday 19th November at 7.15pm at LSM
    Vespers of the Dead, followed by Requiem Mass for all departed members

There will also be Requiem Masses at LSM on the following dates:

  • Wednesday 7th October at 10am (streamed)
  • Monday 2nd November (All Souls' Day): times to be announced

Chaplain: Fr Robert Mackley
More information from Bill de Quick or Julia Norman (01223 313658)

The Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament — Ward of Our Lady & Corpus Christi
To encourage devout and frequent celebration and reception of the Holy Eucharist
Ward & District Superior: Fr Robert Mackley
Meetings are usually on Thursday evenings in Cambridge.
More information from Paul Huskinson

  • Thursday 11th February 2021 at 8pm (Feast of St Radegund) at LSM
    Vespers & Benediction

The Guild of the Servants of the Sanctuary — Chapter of Saint Etheldreda
To promote reverence and fellowship among altar servers
Those who do not serve in the sanctuary are also very welcome to join as Friends of the Guild.
Meetings are usually on Thursday evenings, at various locations.
More information from Dr Tim Adams


Each of these societies and guilds serves a different purpose. At Little Saint Mary's the membership varies; members of one guild or society are not necessarily members of another, though members of each society are strongly encouraged to attend all the other societies' events and non-members will also be made very welcome on each occasion. Each of these societies and guilds meets several times a year, either at LSM or elsewhere in the region, usually for an office, though the annual Requiem Mass of the Guild of All Souls in November also serves as the opportunity to pray for departed members of all the societies and guilds that have ever met at LSM.

Other national societies include: