Little Saint Mary’s Church, Cambridge

Catholic Societies, Confraternities & Guilds


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. The Guild Chapel of the Holy Cross at Stratford upon Avon, founded in 1269, is well known; and at Uxbridge the Guild of Saints Mary & Margaret in the late 15th century added an enormous south chapel (Pevsner calls it "incongruously large") to the existing church, dwarfing the original nave and with a roof almost as high as the earlier tower. A Guild of the Blessed Virgin is known to have been active at LSM in the Middle Ages.

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.

All events take place at LSM unless otherwise indicated.

The Society of Mary
Ward of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
To promote devotion to the Mother of the Lord

Ward Superior: Fr Robert Mackley (01223 356641)

  • Monday 9th December (Feast of Conception of BVM transferred) at 7pm
    Solemn High Mass followed by Ward AGM & refreshments
  • Tuesday 25th February 2025 at 7.30pm
    Vespers & Benediction

You are also very welcome at the Masses celebrated at LSM on all major Marian festivals throughout the year.

The Guild of All Souls
GAS was founded in 1873 to promote the two great doctrines of the Apostles' Creed: the Communion of Saints and the Resurrection of the Body to the Life Everlasting; to pray for the departed and to care for the dying and bereaved.

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

  • Saturday 10th August at 3pm at Saint Peter's, Broad Street, Ely
    Vespers & Benediction
  • Tuesday 19th November at 7.15pm
    Vespers of the Dead
    followed by Requiem Mass for departed members of all the Catholic Societies

The Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament
District 8 (East Anglia), Ward of Our Lady & Corpus Christi
CBS is the oldest devotional society in the Church of England for both clergy and laity, founded
in 1862 to encourage devout and frequent celebration and reception of the Holy Eucharist.

Ward & District Superior: Fr Robert Mackley
More information from Paul Huskinson

  • Saturday 14th September (Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross) at 12 noon
    Sung Mass, Luncheon, Ward AGM, Solemn Vespers & Benediction at 2.30pm
    Celebrant & Preacher: Fr Richard Stanton (St John Baptist Timberhill, Norwich)

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.

More information from Dr Tim Adams 

  • Tuesday 11th March 2025 at 7.30pm
    Guild Office & Benediction followed by Chapter AGM


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.

Download the Catholic Societies' Diary for the year.

Other national societies include: