Mount St. Bernard Abbey


Mount St. Bernard Abbey

Mount St. Bernard's Abbey is a Cistercian monastery of the Strict Observance (Trappists) near Whitwick in Leicestershire, England, founded in 1835. Its present Superior is Dom Joseph Delargy.

The Cistercian order dates back to the 12th century and the Trappists to the mid-17th century. Mount St.Bernard's Abbey is the only abbey belonging to this order left in England.

History

Mount St. Bernard's Abbey was founded in 1835 on convert|222|acre|km2 of land given by Ambrose de Lisle, who wanted to re-introduce monastic life to the country. He was helped by a loan from Bishop Thomas Walsh, the Vicar Apostolic of the Midland District. At first, the monks lived in a four-roomed cottage but later domestic buildings and a chapel were built. The first monks were Augustine, Luke, Xavier, Cyprian, Placid, Simeon and Fr. Odilo Woolfrey. The first monastery was opened in 1837, designed by William Railton. The permanent monastery, as it stands today, was completed in 1844 with donations from John Talbot, the 16th earl of Shrewsbury, and other benefactors. It was designed by Augustus Pugin, who offered his services free. In 1848, it was granted the status of an abbey by Pope Pius IX and its first abbot was appointed, Dom Bernard Palmer. It was united with the Cistercian congregation by a papal brief in 1849. The abbey suffered from financial problems and a lack of monks joining the community through the nineteenth century. This improved in the twentieth century and the church was extended between 1935 and 1939, although it was not consecrated until 1945, by the Bishop of Nottingham. Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi was a monk at the abbey from 1950 until his death in 1964.

The Abbey today

The monks get up at 3.15am every day and go to bed at 8.00 pm. The three focuses of monastic life at Mount St. Bernard's Abbey are prayer, work and reading with study. They take part in daily liturgical prayer, known as "Opus Dei" or Canonical Hours. They meditatively read the Bible, which is called Lectio Divina. Silence and solitude are very important to the order and the abbey. Their work includes running their convert|200|acre|km2|sing=on dairy farm, pottery, bookbinding, beekeeping and tending the vegetable garden and orchard. They also run a gift shop where they sell the items that they make in the abbey. The abbey has a guesthouse for friends and family of the monks, retreatants and those who are interested in the monastic life.

References

* [http://www.mountsaintbernard.org Official homepage of the Abbey]
* [http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=38187 British History]


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