English Benedictine Congregation welcomes three new communities

Three communities of nuns from around the world have joined the English Benedictine Congregation.

The nuns of Kylemore Abbey in Galway, Ireland, of Mariavall Abbey in Tomelilla, near Malmo, Sweden, and of Jamberoo Abbey, near Wollongong, Australia, were welcomed by the General Chapter of the Congregation held at Buckfast Abbey, in Devon.

Abbot President Christopher Jamison said: “Having communities of nuns and of monks as equal members is a strength of our congregation. Three new communities from across the globe now adds greater international diversity as another strength. We are delighted to welcome them.”

The General Chapter ran from the Feast of St Benedict on 11th to 21st July. During the 10-day meeting, the agenda covered areas of monastic life that had emerged as key issues during the twelve-month period of preparation. First among these was safeguarding. The Chapter spent a day of healing and prayer considering the impact of child abuse, with input from Dani Wardman, Chief Executive of the Religious Life Safeguarding Service, who has worked with survivors, and Dr Catherine Sexton, from Durham University’s ‘Breaking Boundaries’ project.

The Chapter decided: a) to instigate a three-month period of shared formation for novices from all our monasteries b) to prioritise human formation for all c) to develop the visitation process d) to identify the needs of the increasingly diverse membership of the Congregation.

The Abbot President, Christopher Jamison, was re-elected for a further four-year term. He said: ‘This General Chapter was a moment of grace. As we renew our internal processes, we will better serve others as we offer them a monastic wisdom rooted in Christian faith.’

Kylemore Abbey is home to a Benedictine monastery of nuns founded in Ypres in 1665 who fled Belgium in World War One. In 1920, they moved to Kylemore Castle, in Connemara, County Galway. https://www.kylemoreabbey.com

Mariavall Abbey has its origins in the Sisterhood of Jesus' Mother Mary, a Lutheran community established in 1957. They were received into the Catholic Church in 1983 and moved into their new monastery in Southern Sweden in 1991.

The Jamberoo Abbey community was founded at Rydalmere, near Sydney in 1849 at the instigation of the English Benedictine monk Bede Polding, who was the first Archbishop of Sydney. The nuns have moved twice, finally settling in 1988 at Jamberoo, near the South Coast of New South Wales.

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