THE BISHOP of Arundel and Brighton, Bishop Cormac Murphy O'Connor has given his blessing to the Tyburn Nuns at St Benedict's Priory, Wadhurst for their new venture in extending their accommodation for private retreatants.
The bishop regards it as "extremely important in today's world that there are retreat centres where people may go for quiet reflection and be nourished by the presence of our Lord in his Word and in the Sacraments," and is "very pleased by the initiative of St Benedict's Priory in seeking to extend their accommodation for this purpose. It has my wholehearted approval. May God bless and make fruitful their good work."
The Priory is set on a hill in a most beautiful part of Sussex with a view for miles over The Weald, yet within easy reach of London with a train service running hourly from Charing Cross.
Formerly, this accommodation for retreatants which they called the 'Anchorhold' was very much in demand — it comprised a hedsitting room for one, two, or three persons with kitchendining room and bathroom.
Now, as well as the 'Anchorhold', there are five single rooms on the first floor of the Priory, with a dining room, kitchen and bathrooms. Here the sisters offer retreatants peace and rest, solitude and silence, and a sharing in the spiritual riches of monastic, liturgical and eucharistic life.
St Benedict's Priory is also an ecumenical centre, where Anglicans and Catholics, vicar and parish priest, join in singing vespers with the community at regular intervals.
All this would rejoice the heart of the foundress, Adele Garnier. When she founded the Congregation of the Benedictine Adorers of the Sacred Heart, she wanted strict enclosure for her Sisters to facilitate a life of deep contemplative prayer, while yet allowing for certain works of the apostolate and hospitality as an overflow of their life of prayer.
Thus today in all four houses of the Congregation, guest rooms are provided for private retreatants, whether in the Sechuran desert of the Monastery of the Sacred Heart in Peru, or the beautifully situated house overlooking Sydney Harbour at Tyburn Priory, Manly, or in the surprisingly quiet and peaceful atmosphere of the Mother House at Tyburn Convent, Marble Arch, London set right in the midst of the teaming metropolis.
Here there is perpetual exposition of the Eucharist and as in the other houses the opportunity of sharing in the prayer life of the Community, in the vernacular liturgy composed by the Tyburn Nuns, and in the night adoration.
The addresses of the four houses are; Tyburn Convent, 8 Hyde Park Place, Bayswater Road, London. W2 't el: 01 723 7262. St Benedict's Priory, Beech Hill, 'Wadhurst, Sussex. Tel: Wadhurst 2588. Tyburn Priory, 68 Wood Street, Manly, NSW 2095, Australia. Tel. 977 5337. Monasterio del Segrado Corazon, Sechura. Peril. South America.