The Little Company of Mary

A number of people attended the welcoming but socially-distanced event, including Fr Martin Sylvester. There were local representatives from other Christian traditions too.

Theresa showed the group three short films made by Pact. In one piece, Lewis, a former prisoner, performs his own powerful spoken word poetry.In another, two former prisoners speak movingly to each other about their experiences, how faith helped them to make a fresh start and how Pact staff and volunteers treated them: ‘They didn’t judge me. They spoke to me like a human being’.

Pact Services Manager, Lesley Ward, also attended the event and explained the life-changing work she leads covering a number of prisons and community hubs in the diocese and further afield. Lesley shared important insights into the challenges of the prison environment, particularly during the pandemic. She was able to give more information about some of the learning opportunities Pact provides, such as the parenting skills training, shown in another Pact short film. Pact works to strengthen family relationships where appropriate as this gives hope and the real potential of living a better life together in the future. Those leaving prison with strong family bonds are 39% less likely to return to crime.

The discussion led to several useful action ideas. While sharing the distressing ‘hidden sentence’ a family can live through alongside their loved one in prison, Theresa highlighted the National Prisoners’ Families Helpline which Pact provides. Fr Sylvester suggested that a poster giving details of the Freephone Helpline number ought to be in every church porch. Theresa agreed to take this forward.

Pact welcomes support from parishes and individuals. To keep in touch, if you have not already signed up to our magazine, Fresh Start, you can do so here: Sign up to Fresh Start | Prison Advice and Care Trust

There are opportunities to work as a volunteer supporting a number of Pact's services in the diocese. Pact has an established training and support programme for volunteers.

Parishes in the diocese may like to think about becoming ‘partners’ to prisons in the region where Pact has a presence. This has worked well in other areas recently. For example, parishioners have worked together to provide gift cards which prisoners can give to their children, sharing a little love and joy and strengthening family bonds this Christmas - as part of Pact's Operation Elf.


Founded by the Venerable Mary Potter in Hyson Green, Nottingham, on the 2nd of July 1877, the Little Company of Mary includes vowed members and the Greater Company of Mary, which is comprised of associate and affiliate members.


Our Congregation takes its name and spiritual model from the ‘little Company’ that stood with Mary at the foot of the cross on Calvary. As Sisters of the Little Company of Mary, we are called to be her companions - one with her in mind and heart - as we live our lives with and for Christ. We are women who make visible His healing love by our prayer, presence, compassion, and care for those around us, particularly those in need, especially the sick and the dying.

At the 18th Congregational Chapter in 2017 we affirmed our commitment to this mission: we are impelled to be contemplative women of the Gospel, who are one in the Heart of Mary. We empower one another to be open to new initiatives to meet emerging needs and be a healing presence in our broken world.

We are present across the world in Australia, Aotearoa in New Zealand, Tonga, Ireland and Italy, South Africa and Zimbabwe, South Korea and the Philippines, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and in support missions in Albania and East Timor.

In the Nottingham Diocese, we are present at:

  • the Mary Potter Heritage Centre, 32 Regent Street, Nottingham
  • Ribblesdale Road, Sherwood
  • The Sanctuary, Radford Road
  • S. Barnabas Cathedral

Please visit our website:, or contact Sr. Anita MacDonald at the Heritage Centre at 0115 950 5167, or by sending e-mail to