01 Oct September 2022 Digest
This month has been full of changes: summer has very definitely given way to autumn. As I write, I can see the first leaves turning colour, and we are busy harvesting in both the kitchen garden and the orchard. We have also during the month joined in mourning for Queen Elizabeth II, and in the last few days have celebrated Br. Adrian’s Solemn Profession.
On the 28th of September, we welcomed Br. Adrian’s family and friends, and our Visitor, Bishop Anne Hollinghurst, as he made his Solemn (Life) Profession of Vows. There will be a more detailed write-up of this along shortly; for now suffice it to say that the day was full of joy, and a wonderful affirmation of Br. Adrian’s call and commitment to this life, and to the community here at Mucknell Abbey.
Out and About
The month has as ever been busy with comings and goings; I joined with Br. Adrian, Br. Charlie CR and Sr. Joanna SSC at Tymawr Convent near Monmouth for a First Professed conference. We had a wonderful time exploring the Vale of Ewyas and its various holy sites, including Llanthony Priory and the church of St. Martin of Tours in Cwmyoy, As you will see from the photo below, Cwmyoy church is a dizzying place to visit, as it was built on the site of a landslip. As the ground has shifted further over time, there are now no right angles to be found. More detail about this unusual place can be on the Brecon Beacons Website. We also went to Capel-y-ffin and St. Issui’s church in Patricio and its nearby holy well. During our travels, we explored and discussed togather the effect of the landscape on our lives and on the lives of our communities. This exploration continued as we spent the following day working with Vijay in the grounds at Tymawr. We learnt how to (safely) cut down trees, which was both useful and also great fun. It was a real blessing to spend time together affirming our hopes and dreams for this life, as well as our clear sense of the importance of Religious Life within in the Church and the world.
Leah was then away the following week in Oxford for an inter-novitiate study week, which alongsiders/postulants etc are also welcome to attend if their communities wish. She had a good time with the group, led by Dr. Petà Dunstan and looking at the Oxford Movement and the 19th Century revival of Religious Life in the Church of England. This study week is often a real highlight of the internovitiate programme, and Leah came back having enjoying meeting people, and having learnt a lot!
There has been a lot of wonderful food coming in recently as we harvest in both the kitchen garden and the orchard. The runner beans seem to have had a late burst of enthusiasm; we freeze a lot of beans for the winter and it will be great to have this produce on hand. The tomatoes and courgettes are still going, but slowing down a bit as the temperatures fall. Our strawberries are sometime still fruiting, and Leah is faithfully picking them and preparing them for us to enjoy with breakfast. Most of our squash and pumpkin plants have produced well, and the squashes themselves are gradually making their way to the fruit store, where they will happily sit over the winter. Most of our onions are now in the store as well and again will keep us going for a few months.
In the orchard, Br. Adrian and his team have been busy with fruit for the last month or so. The plums and greengages were the first to arrive at table, and have been hugely enjoyed by everyone. They’re now being followed by an abundant and delicious crop of pears and apples.
Looking ahead to October, we have a Community retreat week at the beginning of the month; we would value your prayers during this time as we continue to hold the world in ours.