Wednesday, December 05, 2012

A traditional Benedictine house in the UK?

St Benedict of Nursia
The Benedictine vocation is of special importance in these islands. Monasticism was the bedrock of Christianity here from the late Roman period into the Middle Ages in the continuing Christian populations of Wales, and in the evangelisation of Ireland, Scotland, and England. Both Irish and Roman missionaries to England brought monasticism with them, the latter, led by St Augustine of Canterbury, direct from the Roman monastery of St Gregory the Great, connected closely with St Benedict, whose biography St Gregory wrote. The Normans found Benedictine monasteries serving Cathedrals in England, an arrangement without parallel in Europe, which they nurtured and spread. The Benedictines and Cistercians had an enormous impact on the social, political, agricultural and industrial life of this country. (I've blogged about the ruins of their great Abbeys here and here.)

After the Dissolution, and with the help of some surviving monks, new foundations were made on the Continent so Benedictines would once again go on mission to England. Their missions and parishes, and in time the communities themselves, when they moved to England, never ceased to have a large role in Catholic life here. Their communities supplied a good number of our bishops, and their schools a good proportion of the Catholic educational elite.
Door into Jervaulx Abbey Church

This vocation, in the context of the Mass and Office as it has been said for so many centuries in Benedictine houses, is impossible today in the UK. A group of young men who are discerning a vocation to the traditional Benedictine life would like to hear from others who might be interested. They are having a year of discernment, starting now. Please pray for them.

They have a blog, and can be contacted by email:


  1. "This vocation, in the context of the Mass and Office as it has been said for so many centuries in Benedictine houses, is impossible today in the UK." Er ... what about Farnborough? Splendid place, Latin mass and offices, prints traddy books, could do with a vocation or two. Why don't these aspirants go there?

  2. Because they want a spiritual life built around the Traditional Mass and Office. Its not just Latin.

  3. Anonymous10:05 am

    Where will they do their canonical novitiate? Who will act as superior of this community until one of their own is solemnly professed and experienced enough to do so? Monasticism cannot be learnt from books. Enthusiasm is great, but experience is necessary too. They might be better joining an overseas community such as Clear Creek. They could do so with the intention of later starting a house in England.

  4. I assume these are among the questions they will be addressing this year. They aren't rushing into anything. And they are in touch with an existing traddie monastery. One way of doing it would be to get such a community to found a daughter house.