Aylesford celebrates 60th anniversary of return of the Friars

Brother Anthony McGreal  leads Carmelites through Aylesford on their return to the Friars on 31 October 1949

Brother Anthony McGreal leads Carmelites through Aylesford on their return to the Friars on 31 October 1949

This Saturday, 31 October,  marks the 60th anniversary of the Carmelite Friars' return to their ancient home at Aylesford Priory in Kent. A special gathering service will take place at 12 noon. Mass at 2.30pm  will celebrated by Archbishop Kevin McDonald and Fr Christian Korner, O.Carm.

Aylesford Priory in Kent is one of the ancient houses of the Carmelite Order. Founded in 1242 when hermits from Mount Carmel were given land by a crusader returning from the Holy Land to England, in 1247 Aylesford hosted a General Chapter meeting of Carmelites from across the Order. The radical decision taken by the hermits at that Chapter to offer themselves to the service of the Church as mendicant friars meant that Aylesford entered the annals of the Order as a spiritual epicentre, sometimes nicknamed 'the second Carmel'. Several leading figures of the medieval Order were associated with the priory.

The friars were forced to leave in 1538 during the Reformation and the Priory passed into private hands. The ruined buildings were purchased back by the Order in 1949 when, on 31st October (the vigil of All Saints), Mass was celebrated once again and, in the words of the first prior of the restored community, Fr Malachy Lynch, life returned!

The Flower of Carmel, once cut down, now blooms again with greater splendour.

Laus Deo semper et Mariae!


For more information see:  www.thefriars.org.uk/