St Benedict Novena Day 3 (March 14): Monasteries of the United Kingdom and Ireland

I want to continue today, promoting my intention of praying this novena for the restoration of traditional Benedictine religious life by asking for your prayers for the United Kingdom and Ireland, a country in dire need of the restoration of religious life!

Traditionalist monasteries

These countries have but one Benedictine monastery using the traditional missal as far as I know - and that the very recently arrived indeed Monastery of Our Lady of the Cenacle, highlighted by a commenter yesterday, which until a few weeks ago was based in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The monastery, founded by Vultus Christi blogger, Fr Mark Kirby, is engaging in a bit of reverse missionary effort, and so is especially deserving of our prayers as they settle into their new home.

Traditionally inclined monasteries

The United Kingdom does, though, have a number of monasteries that essentially retain the traditional Benedictine Office, and take a conservative view of monastic life, and I wanted to particularly mention a three monasteries in particular in this category.

The first is the Solesmes Congregation monastery of nuns of Ryde on the Isle of Wight.  This is one of the few communities of women in the UK that has consistently attracted vocations, and for good reasons.  Do take a look at their beautiful website, and if you have a chance to visit them, do so!

The second is the monastery of Pluscarden in Scotland (I'd provide a link to its website, but either it is not working in general, or, as the message I get suggests, for some reason dislikes my computer in particular...).  Pluscarden's former abbot is now Bishop of Aberdeen, an appointment widely applauded, and the monastery is also the motherhouse of the American monastery of Petersham (notable amongst other things for its shared Church and co-location with a monastery of Benedictine nuns).

The third is of course Farnborough Abbey, who have done us such a great service by putting out the Monastic Diurnal!  Farnborough's buildings are a rather splendid mix, including a part replica of Solesmes, reflecting its origin as the foundation of the Empress Eugenie and its origins as a refuge from France's moves to suppress the monasteries (again) in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  You can follow their doings at their blog.

Traditionalist monks!

None of the monasteries I've mentioned so far however are members of the ancient English Congregation which has played, historically at least, such a key role in the is history of both England itself, directly in countries such as Australia where I live, and indirectly in many others.

Sadly, the English Congregation has suffered badly from its decisions to drop Latin and the traditional form of the Benedictine Office and generally 'update' itself, and continues to suffer a number of scandals.

Yet despite this, there are a number of traditionalist monks (one or two of whom are Australians), in these monasteries who say the EF mass or are strongly sympathetic to it.  So I would particularly ask you to keep these monks of Downside, Douai and Ealing in particular (do add to the list if you know of others) in your prayers, and pray for the restoration of the Congregation to its former fervour more generally.

Novena Prayer

O glorious St. Benedict, sublime model of all virtues, pure vessel of God's grace! Behold me, humbly kneeling at thy feet. I implore thy loving heart to pray for me before the throne of God. To thee I have recourse in all the dangers which daily surround me. Shield me against my enemies, inspire me to imitate thee in all things. May thy blessing be with me always, so that I may shun whatever God forbids and avoid the occasions of sin.

Graciously obtain for me from God those favors and graces of which I stand so much in need, in the trials, miseries and afflictions of life. Thy heart was always so full of love, compassion, and mercy toward those who were afflicted or troubled in any way. Thou didst never dismiss without consolation and assistance anyone who had recourse to thee. I therefore invoke thy powerful intercession, in the confident hope that thou wilt hear my prayers and obtain for me the special grace and favor I so earnestly implore (mention your intentions here), if it be for the greater glory of God and the welfare of my soul.

Help me, O great St. Benedict, to live and die as a faithful child of God, to be ever submissive to His holy will, and to attain the eternal happiness of heaven. Amen.

[For the special intention (Magnificat antiphon of the feast): O pattern of heavenly life, our guide and teacher Benedict, whose soul is now rejoicing with Christ in heaven: protect thy flock, dear shepherd, and by thy holy prayer support them; and with thyself as leader showing that brightened way, make them enter the heavens.]

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