Page 3, 3rd April 1958

3rd April 1958
Page 3
Page 3, 3rd April 1958 — 'CROMWELL'S CONVENT'
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Organisations: Divine Office
Locations: Dublin, London, Adelaide

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'CROMWELL'S CONVENT'

By Fr. W. F. REA Si.

A HISTORY OF THE BENEDICTINE NUNS OF

DUNKIRK, now at St.

Scholastica's Abbey, Teign. mouth, Devon, edited by the

Community with a preface by D. B. Wyndham Lewis (Burns & Oates, 21s.). DUNKIRK was taken by Cromwellian soldiers in 1658, and was kept by the English until it was sold to France in 1662. But one of the whimsicalities of history is that the only lasting consequence of this Cromwellian conquest was the establishment there, • during our short tenure of the place, of a Community of English Benedictine nuns, the Community which for nearly a century has been at St. Scholastica's Abbey, Teignmouth.

It is the history of this Community which is described with loving piety in the present book, and surely there can hardly be a single religious in the Convent, at least during the period when it was at Dunkirk, who is not given her niche !

They come one after the other, many hearing names familiar in the Catholic life of England: a Cary11 of West Grinstead, an Anderton of Lostock, an Ireland of Lydiate, a Copley of Roffey, a Berkeley of Spetchley. But what a pity that there is no index I It would enormously have increased the book's usefulness and interest.

Royal attention

to light during the Abbey's history, such as the request to Lady Abbess Cary11 during the War of the Spanish Succession to use her influence with the Duke of Marlborough-of all people-on behalf of a young officer in his service. The house had a more than ordinary share of royal attention: a visit in 1671 by Maria Theresa, the queen of Louis XIV; and another, seventy years later, by the Duchess of Chartres, who was gracious, and by James Il's surly Jansenist grandson. Francis, Bishop of Soissons, who was not,

Then, after the French Revolution had forced them to leave Dunkirk for Hammersmith, we find them being sent a haunch of venison, game pies and other gifts by

our William IV and his queen, Adelaide.

There are, too, a number of charming incidents, such as that of Mary Jackson, who tried to be a lay-sister, was rejected because she couldn't keep silence, refused to leave the Abbey, stuck it through all the trials of the French Revolution, during it did the Community a service which none 41f her more observant sisters could have done. and finally died at Hammersmith. apparently still not keeping silence, and still no nearer her vows Shortly after coming to Teignmouth, the nuns gave up their school so that their life centres round the Divine Office and Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, a continual prayer which makes them, in words cited by Mr. Wyndham Lewis in his graceful preface, " the lightning conductors of human society ".

The greatest of these

THE VIRTUE OF LOVE: Meditations, by Paul de Jaegher, Si. (Clonmore & Reynolds, Dublin; Barns Oates fit Washbourne, London, 12s. 6d.).

FAITH is the root, Hope (or con fident trust) is the consequent flower, ;and Charity as St. Paul insists -is the perfecting flower and fruit in the three theological virtues which relate immediately to God: it is at once necessary and the final perfection, Fr. de Jaegher (who combines long missionary experience in India with literary activity) has already written on the virtue of Trust; in the present book he gives us sixteen meditations on the supreme virtue of Charity, the love of God, interspersed with practical instructions on Faith and Hope and Charity; his purpose, as he explains in the preface, is to provide meditations which " may be used in many ways . . . taken as a whole to make or give a retreat on love; or they may be read individually, at any time, to excite love for God and make it more pure and self-forget In the meditations he adopts the famous " ignatian " method, eminently vivid and practical. with its distinct points and " composition of place "; the style throughout is simple. clear, direct and deeply thoughtful. For use during Lent especially. but also at any time, this brief volume, admirably printed, is a spiritual treasury of permanent value.




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