April Digest - Mucknell Abbey
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April Digest

Welcome back to another month’s news here at Mucknell. After the enforced ‘pause’ in March due to our covid outbreak, it’s been all systems go for Holy Week and Easter – here’s a look at what we’ve been up to.

It was a delight to welcome guests for Holy Week this year, having been without them the previous two years. The good weather meant that we could have an outdoor set of Stations of the Cross up on Wednesday afternoon for guests and community to explore, one of which can be seen below. The images used are from the set ‘Bread Broken‘. Our Easter Vigil began at 4.40am with a magnificent fire created by Br. Stuart. By my estimation, we were hearing the Easter Gospel at the ‘official’ moment of sunrise, which seemed fairly appropriate. Br. Philip and his team worked hard in Chapel, including some beautiful Easter flowers, and Sr. Sally and the various cooks produced a variety of delicious treats, including the famous Simnel cake!

The week following Easter – the Easter Octave – is kept as Community ‘holiday’ time; we’re able to invite friends and family for lunch on a couple of days, and go out with them on other days. We also managed a Community day out for the first time since before the pandemic. We paid a visit to Burford Priory, where the Community lived until 2008. It’s now a private residence, but the owner is happy to welcome us back occasionally. It was especially interesting for both myself and Br. Adrian, as we hadn’t previously visited the Priory; it was great to see the scenes of many of the stories we’ve heard! While there we paid a visit to the graveyard where many of our departed Sisters are buried, and celebrated the Eucharist in the Lenthall Chapel.

The Eucharist was interrupted a couple of times by the resident cat – after it’s second time jumping up on the altar we decided it was perhaps safer to shut the doors. After Eucharist we enjoyed our packed lunches in the sun.

After lunch we had some time to explore the gardens and grounds, including several of the artworks near to the house.

During our day, we also had time for a quick visit to Burford Parish Church:

Back here at Mucknell, we have been enjoying the roe deer who are very frequently seen around the estate. We’re not quite sure whether they live here full time – we suspect not – but their presence is a frequent delight. Some of them have become much more used to us, and although still quite skittish, will tolerate us walking past them quietly and gently.

With the end of the Easter Octave comes the reopening of our Guest Wing; we’ve welcomed several visitors from other communities this past week. For a few days we’ve had Sr. Karin and Sr. Rose from Alsike Kloster in Sweden staying with us; Sr. Karin is a long time friend of the Community, but it was Rose’s first visit to us. It’s been lovely to see both of them, and to hear about their work with refugees in Sweden. We’ve also welcomed Enock from the Community of St. Anselm, who’s joining us for a month – hopefully you’ll hear more from him in next month’s digest. For now, here’s a picture of the Community with Sr. Karin and Sr. Rose.