Stanbrook Abbey to move

 The Abbess and community of Stanbrook Abbey, Worcester, have announced that, after long deliberation, they have decided to move from their present monastery. As yet, no decision has been made as to when or where they will move; but safeguarding the interests of staff and tenants will be a priority, and the community wishes to leave them the maximum time to make appropriate arrangements. The monastery's property includes several acres of land and an Edward Pugin church, and the nuns hope that a sympathetic buyer will be found. Among the reasons for the decision, Abbess Joanna Jamieson cites the community's need to make the best use of its resources, human and financial. "A strong sense of monastic purpose has given us the courage to make this difficult decision", she says. "We thank God for all we have received in this place, and trust that, faithful to the past, we may be responsive to the graces of the future. A new phase in our history is opening. Confident in the role of our monastic life in the Church of today, we face the future in hope." The community now at Stanbrook was founded in Flanders in 1623 under the auspices of the English Benedictine Congregation as a contemplative house of Benedictine nuns whose principal work would be to praise and worship God, and to bring before him the concerns of the world. The community has been resident at Stanbrook since 1838. A spokeswoman said: "Through many vicissitudes the nuns have striven to embody the tradition of monastic life as the search for God in contemplative prayer, liturgical worship, love of scripture, and mutual love and service. "The nuns have undertaken literary work, printing, art work, and various crafts. The community is well known in the Catholic world for its contributions to liturgy and music. They maintain a bookshop, and a retreat house where visitors have an opportunity for quiet reflection and sharing in the monastic liturgy. Spiritual help and guidance in prayer are offered to those who ask, in person, letter or email. Writing, translating, and the production of works on prayer and spirituality have always formed part of their work. Their press has for many years enjoyed an international reputation for fine printing, and recently issued its first Fine Art e-Book." The community today numbers 28 professed nuns and two postulants. About 120 lay people, known as oblates, are associated with the monastery, and the community has many friends at home and abroad. Strong local and ecumenical links are a significant element in the community's life. In response to the community's announcement, the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Birmingham, said: "I have learned with regret that the Benedictine community of Stanbrook Abbey have come to the decision that they must seek alternative premises for their community. I know how much heartache this decision will cause. My fervent wish is that the Stanbrook community will remain within the Archdiocese of Birmingham. We appreciate and cherish their presence and their witness to the importance of Gospel living." No further comment will be made from Stanbrook Abbey, Stanbrook Abbey Press, or St Mary's House. For more information and pictures visit: source: CMS

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