Monthly Digest: October 2018 - Mucknell Abbey
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Michael's profession ring

Monthly Digest: October 2018

  • The month began with our week-long Community Retreat. During this time the guesthouse is closed and we observe silence at all times, creating space for a more attentive response to God. Meanwhile Br Michäel was staying as a guest at West Malling Abbey in Kent, dividing his time there between the icon course at Canterbury and his own pre-Profession Retreat.


  • On Monday 8th and again on Tuesday 16th Sr Sally attended Anglican Religious Communities (ARC) meetings, first at the new convent built for the Sisters of the Church at Gerrard’s Cross, and then later in London. Sr Sally was recently re-elected to serve a two-year term on the ARC Committee.


  • On Friday 12th Sr Sally and Br Aidan were invited to return to our neighbours at Wolvercote Farm and pick as many cooking apples as we liked from their vast orchard. Many thanks to Kit Bamford for his generosity. There’ll be apple pies on the menu for many months to come. Many, many months…


  • The big event of the month took place on Monday 15th. In what was a very moving occasion for everyone, Br Michäel made his Solemn Profession, that is, a lifelong commitment to the monastic life at Mucknell Abbey. Bishop John of Worcester presided at the Eucharist, assisted by his Chaplain and the Cathedral’s Canon Precentor, Michael Brierley, whose sermon you can read here. There were about sixty guests in attendance, including many of Michäel’s family and friends who had traveled from France to be there. We had several rehearsals beforehand and all went off without a glitch on the day – well, almost! Afterwards everyone enjoyed a buffet lunch in the Refectory. The feature photograph (top) shows the ring that Michäel received as a symbol of his Solemn Profession.


Michael's Solemn Profession

Unfortunately the weather did not deliver what the forecast promised. Br Michäel and child (his niece, Anna), his family, the Community and visiting Religious.

Cake cutting

Br Michäel cuts the Profession cake (courtesy of Sr Sally). The French visitors described it as ‘formidable’, which we understand is high praise indeed.

Followed by a buffet...

Br Adrian & Br Aidan quality control the buffet…it was very good.


  • On Tuesday 16th Sr Alison attended a meeting in London about raising the on-line profile of Anglican Religious life.


  • On Wednesday 17th the Rev Alistair McKay, a friend of the Community who has spent many years working in the area of reconciliation with Bridge Builders ministries, gave us an afternoon workshop on conflict management.


  • On Saturday 20th three members of the Long family had their ashes scattered in our Garth in a simple ceremony led by Br Stuart. They are survived by David Long, our neighbour at Hill Farm House.


  • From Monday 22nd to Friday 26th Br Aidan and Br Patrick attended a Junior Professed Conference at St Oswald’s Pastoral Centre in Sleights, near Whitby in North Yorkshire. Other attendees included Sr Hannah Grace OHP, Br James Douglas SSF and Sr Janet SSC. Fr Thomas CR, who has been involved with an initiative called New Life, aimed at promoting vocations to traditional Religious communities, led us in several discussions on the subject of renewal. The weather and scenery was glorious and Br Aidan got very nostalgic for The North…


Sleights 2018

Front (left to right): Br Thomas CR, Sr Hannah Grace OHP, Sr Janet SSC, Br Patrick OSB Back (left to right): Br Aidan OSB, Br James Douglas SSF


  • And finally….making his bed the other morning Br Aidan noticed that a name had been embroidered on the flat sheet he was using. Charlesworth was the married name of one of our earliest Sisters, Sybil Charlesworth, who joined the Community in 1941. She left in 1952. The sheet might well date from the 1930s when she was living alone in London following her divorce. When this discovery was shared with Br Stuart he replied ‘It’s not so impressive, I admit, but the duvet cover I’m using was bought in 1969’. The moral of this random story is: waste not want not! 🙂


Charlesworth bedding