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» Stretched, & a Catalogue

Douai Abbey
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» The community is significantly stretched at the moment, a combination of more than usual numbers of monks away at once on holiday or work, and illness. Please be patient if any requests are not answered immediately.

» Today Frs Abbot and Austin are visiting Fr Richard at his parish in south-west Wales.

» At last we have more information on concerts in the abbey church, which can be found on the Concerts page.

» For some years some Dutch academics at the University of Nijmegen have been working on the catalogue of our monastery in Paris, compiled by Dom Benet Weldon. Next year it will be printed in a limited run. However, it can be delved into online thanks to their tireless efforts. You can have a look to see what our monks were reading in the 17th century by following this link. The catalaogue will be permanently linked from the Library page.

» Fraternity

Douai Abbey
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» In the week just passed we happy to welcome more than 30 clergy of Portsmouth diocese, along with Bishop Philip, for a five-day retreat led by Fr Nicholas King SJ. Aprt from the obvious spiritual importance of such an occasion, it was clear that the week allowed for some renewal of camaraderie among clergy most of whom live alone and do not always get to see their brethren in the diocesan presbyterate.

» Such fraternal spirit is no less vital in the monastery. During the past week Fr Abbot has visited the brethren on the midland parishes, bringing back a supply of apples from Fr Francis at Kemerton; and Frs Alban and Benjamin visited Fr Benedict at Studley. As part of a different sort of fraternity, the Society of Our Lady of Winton, the fraternity of Catholic parents at Winchester College, held their annual dinner in London last Friday, at which Fr Hugh represented the community and gave the address, speaking on the place of boys in the Rule of St Benedict.

» In the coming week a number of the resident brethren will be away at various stages, most of them seizing the opportunity to grab some holiday, but some to attend the funeral this coming Thursday of Joan McLarnon in Ormskirk, who has died after a long battle with lymphoma. Two days before she died Fr Boniface received her oblation to the monastery on her deathbed. May she rest in peace. On Tuesday night Fr Hugh will be at Hinsley Hall in Leeds to speak to the national conference of diocesan financial secretaries.

» Also this past week, the display at the entrance to the monks' refectory of 19th-century Minton tiles depicting the medal of St Benedict, relics of old Stanbrook Abbey, has been enhanced by the addition of a spotlight, which is governed by a timer. It makes an even more striking feature as we enter for meals.

» Into Autumn

Douai Abbey
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» Autumn is here and the community is quietly busy. Several of the brethren are having flu jabs for what is predicted to be a bad season for flu.

» School visits continue, most recently last Thursday when 40 pupils from the Oratory Prepartory school came for the day, looked after by Fr Benjamin. Fr Benjamin will go to Thorngrove School on Monday to answer questions about Catholic and monastic life from the senior pupils.

» Another of our ducks ash been mauled to death by a dog. We still see people bring their dogs to walk in our private grounds, letting them off the leash. We would remind people that our grounds are not open for dog-walking without prior and explicit permission from the Bursar, and dogs should never be off their leash, for the safety not only of our poultry but also of monks and their guests.

» Today Fr Alban is travelling to Ormskirk where Joan McLarnon, a long-time friend of community and the parish at Ormskirk, is in hospital, gravely ill. The community is praying for her actively, and for others who have been brought to our attention.

» Today four Friars of the Immaculate leave us after making a long retreat in our Cottages.

» Yesterday we celebrated the 75th birthday of Fr Finbar, and the Golden Jubilee of Abbot Geoffrey's monastic profession. Ad multos annos!

» Last Monday we took delivery of a dalmatic to match the chasuble and cope we acquired late last year, made in an Italian silk fabric, "Musical Anegls", by Mary Collings of Norwich. It was partly funded by gifts to our vestment fund. The dalmatic and its accessories are the kind benefaction of Rev Christopher Walters and family of Jersey, to whom we offer thanks and remembrance in prayer and Masses, as for all our benefactors. This new gold set will be used for major solemnities likle Christmas and Easter.

» Of Books, Schools and Sisters

Douai Abbey
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» Last Friday Fr Abbot was at Blessed Hugh Faringdon School in Reading to offer Mass for the beginning of the school year. It was the beginning of a week of heightened contact with the school. On Monday this week the new headmaster of Bl Hugh Faringdon, Dr Simon Uttley, came to speak to the monastic community about his mission at the school and how Douai might be help foster the Catholic life of the pupils. To that end today and yesterday about 50 year 7 confirmandi from the school came to visit the monastery, hear a little spiritual input from Frs Alban, Peter and Gabriel, enjoy some lunch and celebrate Mass. This may become a regular feature of the school year.

» Also last Friday the Turner Collection returned to Douai after half a century on permanent loan to Reading University. The collection comprises about 250 pamphlets from late 18th century France, all of which relate to one of our monks, Dom John Turner, who was much involved in the revolutionary politics of the time (when our monastery was, of course, in Paris).

» Wednesday just passed about 17 Aussmption sisters left after spending 10 days in retreat at Douai. It thr first time in many years the sisters had enjoyed a retreat together. We feel cinfident they spent a pleasant and rewarding time with us as today we were happily surprised to receive a delivery of a case of wine from the sisters. They know the way to a monk's heart!

» Falling into autumn

Douai Abbey
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» Last Friday the monastic community concluded a very engaging annual retreat led by Mgr Roderick Strange. After the last conference, the non-resident fathers returned to their homes and the resident community began again to normal round of activity. This week 16 Sisters of the Assumption are with us on a 10-day retreat.

» On the Thursday before the retreat ended Fr Finbar travelled to the Isle of Wight for the funeral of Mother Mary David Totah OSB, prioeress of St Cecilia's. Mother Mary David had been enduring cancer. May she rest in peace.

» Last Monday Fr Abbot was at Ealing Abbey for the first Regimen meeting with the new abbot president, Christopher Jamison OSB. Yesterday Abbot Geoffrey was at Oulton Abbey in Staffordshire for the opening of its new aged care facility. Also present were Abbot David Charlesworth of Buckfast and Bishop David McGough, fellow trustees of Oulton with Abbot Geoffrey.

» On the Retreats & Courses page you can find for download two new brochures, one for the remainder of 2017 and another for 2018.

» Holiday & Retreat

Douai Abbey
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» The community tonight finishes three weeks of constitutional holiday and resumes its full regime of monastic obervance and work.

» Starting tonight is our annual retreat, for which the mission fathers will join the resident brethren, as well as Fr Edmund from Rome and the Anglican Benedictines from Salisbury. Our retreat master this year is Mgr Roderick Strange of St Mary's University, Twickenham.

While we are on retreat please avoid contacting the monks except for when absolutely necessary. Emails would be preferable to phone calls. The retreat ends Friday morning, when we will be back to normal. We thank you for your understanding.

» New Abbot President

Douai Abbey
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» This morning the General Chapter of the EBC gathered at Worth Abbey elected Abbot Christopher Jamison, abbot emeritus of Worth and currently director of the UK National Office of Vocation, as the new Abbot President of the EBC. He replaces Abbot Richard Yeo, who has served as president for 16 years. Ad multos annos!  Abbot Geoffrey has been re-elected as First Assistant to the President, and Abbot Edmund has been re-elected Procurator in Curia, although his title is to change to Procurator General. The General Chapter will conclude this quadrennial session today.

» As the monastery prepares for its summer recess in August, it is a good time to be getting overdue repairs done. Near our refectory some subsidence in the paving stones has required them to be dug up and a new foundation laid for them. In the abbey church, a roof leak in the sanctuary is to be repaired this week. The leaks in the nave await another day. This coming Friday the monastery will be connected to nigh-speed fibre broadband.

» Last week a lime tree near the guest carpark had to be chopped down after it was found to be near death and in danger of toppling onto the library roof in high winds. The main trunk was largely hollow. Fr Bernard took the opportunity to step in and see for himself.

» General Chapter

Douai Abbey
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Today the abbots, abbots, officials and elected delegates of all the houses of the English Benedictine Congregation will assemble at Worth Abbey for the quadrennial EBC General Chapter. From Douai Abbot Geoffrey, Abbot Edmund and Fr Godric will attend. One of their duties will be to elect an abbot president. Please pray for the work of the General Chapter.

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