The Cloister Walk

2015-11-12T10:15:18-04:00November 12th, 2015|Categories: Suburban Hermit|Tags: , , , |

The cloister is like the heart of the monastery. From the outside the monastery is imposing like a fortress. The walls rise up and the windows are small. When you enter the feel at first is like a great old school or university. It is perhaps intimidating. You are small and alone. The church inspires and [...]

Downside Abbey

2015-11-11T10:04:57-04:00November 11th, 2015|Categories: Suburban Hermit|Tags: , , |

Downside Abbey, England, UK Downside Abbey in Somerset in Western England is where I was an oblate for about seven years. The Benedictine Order is comprised of various "congregations". Each congregation has its own history and charism. Downside is a major abbey in the English Benedictine Congregation. As a member of the English Benedictine [...]

On Serving in the Refectory

2015-11-10T13:27:10-04:00November 10th, 2015|Categories: Suburban Hermit|Tags: , , , |

The Refectory, Quarr Abbey, Isle of Wight, UK Let the brethren serve one another, and let no one be excused from the kitchen service except by reason of sickness or occupation in some important work. For this service brings increase of reward and of charity... The one who is ending his week of service [...]

On the Ordering of Time and Place

2015-11-10T09:46:21-04:00November 10th, 2015|Categories: Suburban Hermit|Tags: , , , , |

Monks in Chapter Everything will be done at the proper time. -- Rule of St Benedict Idleness is the enemy of the soul, and so monks should be occupied at some times with manual labor, and at certain times with holy reading. -- Rule of St Benedict The monk renounces a life of agitation [...]

Morning at Fountains

2015-11-07T06:55:40-04:00November 7th, 2015|Categories: Suburban Hermit|Tags: , , , |

  Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire, England After a dispute and riot in 1132 at the Benedictine house of St Mary's Abbey, in York, 13 monks were expelled (among them Saint Robert of Newminster) and, after unsuccessfully attempting to return to the early 6th-century Rule of St Benedict, were taken into the protection of Thurstan, Archbishop of York.[3] He provided them with land in the [...]

Closed to the World. Open to Heaven

2015-11-06T16:53:03-04:00November 6th, 2015|Categories: Suburban Hermit|Tags: , , , , |

Cloister, Mont St Michel, France When I lived in England I made my annual retreat with the small community of Benedictines at Mont St Michel. The architecture is a Gothic marvel of economy and engineering brilliance. The lower levels with thick walls support common rooms with thinner walls and pillars and the whole living [...]


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