At present we have a lot of work going on in our little monastery. We are improving our heating in some parts of the house and redecorating. There is a lot of dust and it is a good time to be away!
Some years ago we welcomed Br Jeffrey Steele from the Abbey of Polokwane in South Africa. His monastery was going through a difficult stage in its history and Br Jeffrey asked to spend some months with us with a view to transfer. We Benedictines vow not the evangelical counsels of Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience, but the old monastic vows of Obedience, Conversion of Life and Stability. We are very much creatures of place and our vocation is to a particular community and transfer is never easy or desirable but sometimes necessary. Polokwane was helped for some years by some of our American brothers of Christ in the Desert NM, and so we encouraged Jeffrey to return to help his monastery. Now he is a priest and is superior of his community. He remains a great friend of ours. Brother Thomas Harper, a Farnborough monk, has just gone to spend three months supporting the community there. He is doing something he does very well, teaching English and helping with reading and pronunciation.
Brother Michael and Brother Anselm are away for the ordination of a friend for a few days, so the monastery is very quiet indeed without the ‘children’! (they are both 26)
Fr Magnus has just completed the first draft of his memoirs. They make amazing reading. He will celebrate the Golden Jubilee of his ordination in September. We have begun to plan the celebration for him. Fr Wulstan is ‘as ever’. He will be 99 this year. He first visited our monastery in 1931. These old monks are so important to us. In the Catholic Church these days so many have so much to say about everything! And yet years passed in the cloister have their own eloquence. Fr Wulstan has already clocked up more than 80 years of monastic living. If he lives to see 100, he will have been also 80 years in vows.