As readers are only too well aware, we have been trying to obtain permanent premises for the monastery for a long time. At last, we have positive news to report. God willing, we will soon be blessed with ‘a local habitation and a name’!
A monastery is not quite the same as a ‘normal’ house. We don’t need, indeed don’t want, the latest in creature comforts, but we do need somewhere big enough to admit those who want to join the community, with good facilities for guests who, as Benedict rightly remarks, are never lacking in a monastery. We need a chapel or oratory for prayer, room for a library, space to work. The list is daunting, and it all has to be achieved on a very slender budget.
Together with the Friends of Holy Trinity Monastery, we have devoted a lot of time, money and effort to this quest. Several times we have found what we thought was a suitable property and come close to getting substantial help with a mortgage, but each time our hopes have been dashed. Earlier this year we came to the conclusion that local property prices were always going to be prohibitive so we must look further afield — not as easy as it sounds because of the ecclesiastical permissions needed.
A New Home
We are delighted to tell you that we have found a barn conversion on the edge of the Golden Valley in Herefordshire which promises to be exactly what we need. There will be room for Denise, our first postulant, entering later this summer, and several companions; also room for guests in a very pleasant annexe. We shall be near Belmont Abbey, which means we shall be able to give our novices a good grounding in Benedictine liturgy.
We have also been able to obtain that most necessary thing, a mortgage! It may mean we have to work until we are 150 to pay it off, but at least we have one.
Sadness and Joy
We are sad to be leaving our friends in the diocese of Portsmouth but we are looking forward to contributing to the life of the Church in the diocese of Cardiff. Like prayer, our online engagement is independent of place, and we hope that once we are settled we shall be able to give effect to all the plans for development that have had to be put on hold during the past three years. So, expect some exciting things in the future!
For the time being, we are hoping to continue to run Veilaudio from Hendred with the help of our wonderful team of volunteers.
The date of our move is not yet fixed but is likely to be the end of May.
What we most want to say, of course is ‘thank you’: first to God, who has upheld us during the past eight years, especially during the difficult times when everything looked very bleak; to our friends and benefactors who have given time, money and talent to help us in ways too numerous to be counted; to Bishop Crispian, who has always been supportive and has given us his blessing for the move; and Archbishop George Stack who has generously welcomed us to his diocese.
Please pray for us as we do for you. There are likely to be many ‘White Rabbit’ moments during the next few weeks, but we trust that, with God’s help, all will work out. While, of necessity, we think about material things, we shall also keep in mind St Benedict’s injunction nihil amori Christi praeponere, to prefer nothing to the love of Christ. Pray for those who have no homes or sleep rough on our streets.