We wish Fr.Partick many congratulations and blessings on his Ordination to the Priesthood yesterday.

Fr. Patrick, is a good friend of our community.



great saturday

Hello everyone !

What wonderful weather it is – are you hot? Well we are, black doesn’t do heat very good does it!

Anyhow, we had a great day yesterday, a first for Colwich. We had a table top sale and it seemed to have done well and gone down good with the villagers who came over to us. Homemade products inc, jams, cakes on the edible side and crafts inc, cards, candles, needlework all done by the nuns. There were various other items too and guided short tours of the Abbey Church plus a tea / coffee & cakes if wanted …… some hinted that there should have been an ice-cream van —- wouldn’t that just be the ticket at this time of year! Sounds good to me.

I was asked if we would do it again next year, but I said it was a one off, but we’ll see~!

In the garden too there are strawberries, yum, yum

Duckkies – 2nd day

It was a lovely sight to see first thing this morning – on the pond were mummy & daddy duck with the full set of 8 little ducklings.

What happened next? Nobody knows! At 8am they were there and sometime between 8 and 11am she was frantic. There was no sight of any of the little ones, then just after 1pm she found 4 of them. It seems like 4 are no more, in this cold snap wherever they may be it is unlikely they will survive the night now if they are still alive!
It needs a miracle………….these remaining 4 with her on the nest MUST survive !


New friends…..

Have you ever seen new young ducklings? It’s been something I’ve waited to see since having the ducks come to our pond and at long last after a chance we’ve got them as from today…….yes, the duck has produced 8 wonderful youngsters! And what a hungry crowd they are. Wonderful!

see the photo’s ……………


on the pond at Colwich…….

Prayer for the Conversion of England.

St. Paul of the Cross, founder of the Passionists, prayed for fifty years for the conversion of England and he left this devotion to the Passionist Order. St. Paul was comforted in the last years of his life by a vision of his religious working in England. This would be fulfilled in the person of Blessed Dominic. The following prayers are recommended for those wishing to imitate St. Paul and pray for the conversion of England back to the true faith:

O Jesus convert England, O God have mercy on our country!

Prayer for the conversion of England by Cardinal Wisemann (to be said every day and after each Benediction)O BLESSED Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our most gentle Queen and Mother, look down in mercy upon England thy “Dowry” and upon us all who greatly hope and trust in thee. By thee it was that Jesus our Saviour and our hope was given unto the world; and He has given thee to us that we might hope still more. Plead for us thy children, whom thou didst receive and accept at the foot of the Cross, O sorrowful Mother. Intercede for our separated brethren, that with us in the one true fold they may be united to the supreme Shepherd, the Vicar of thy Son. Pray for us all, dear Mother, that by faith fruitful in good works we may all deserve to see and praise God, together with thee, in our heavenly home. Amen.

 If you like to see more on Bl. Dominic and Cardinal Wiseman the link is https://barberi.wordpress.com/prayers-for-england/

This is the prayer our Community says after Benediction on a Sunday.



The Psalter: Words for a pilgrim’s journey

Of all the books in the Old Testament, the collection of writings that we call the Psalms is possibly the most poetic narrative of the journey of the Hebrew people.

There are many references in the Gospels where Jesus quotes the Psalms, possible the most well-known were the words from Psalm 22 uttered from the Cross ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’

The Psalter, the name given to the Book of Psalms, has permeated Christian liturgy ever since.

When the earliest Christian monastic communities were formed their liturgical pattern of prayer was shaped round the psalms and to this day their primacy of place within the lives of monks and nuns remains.

Prior to the Vatican Council, praying the Breviary was part of the daily commitment of the priest. It came about through with the emergence of medieval friars who could not carry the large community volumes of the psalms on their journeys of preaching. A smaller version was required. The text was, of course, in Latin.

Since the Council, the use of the English text of the Liturgy of the Hours began to be used by the laity, either individually or within parish prayer groups or similar gatherings.

The defined hours of monastic prayer concludes each day with Compline, the night prayer of the Church. I try when I can to join with the nearby community of Benedictine nuns for that simple, beautiful prayer. There were occasions when the abbey dog, a white standard poodle would wander into the chapel to join us. On one occasion it wandered around, not willing to settle, until that is we reached the last verse of the first psalm, psalm 4 ‘I will lie down in peace and sleep comes at once, for you alone make me dwell in safety’ . At that point the dog lay down and slept its way through the remainder of night prayer. Marvellous!

The Rule of St Benedict stresses the centrality of the psalms in monastic prayer. In Chapter 19 we find these words.

‘On the Manner of Saying the Divine Office

We believe that the divine presence is everywhere and that “the eyes of the Lord are looking on the good and the evil in every place” (Prov. 15:3). But we should believe this especially without any doubt when we are assisting at the Work of God. To that end let us be mindful always of the Prophet’s words, “Serve the Lord in fear” (Ps. 2:11 )
and again “Sing praises wisely” (Ps. 46[47]:8) and “In the sight of the Angels I will sing praise to You” (Ps. 137[138]:1). Let us therefore consider how we ought to conduct ourselves in sight of the Godhead and of His Angels, and let us take part in the psalmody in such a way that our mind may be in harmony with our voice.’

Over the years there have been many collected texts of the psalms, from the early years through the illustrated MSS of the Medieval period to our present time. One text known as ‘the Bay Psalm Book’ has the distinction of being the first book in English, printed and published in America. That was in Massachusetts in 1641. A facsimile text was printed in 1903 and that is now available as a modern paperback.

The singing of Psalms- and indeed they are meant to be sung as is clear from psalm 136, ‘By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. There on the poplars we hung our harps, for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion !” How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?’, was greatly enhanced with the publication of the Grail Psalms. First published in 1966, this Psalter became very familiar in the English-speaking world, particularly when sung to the melodies of the Jesuit composer, Joseph Gelineau.

Every time we share the Eucharist, the Liturgy of the Word contains a psalm where each verse has a response, reminiscent of the singing of alternate verses in choir by the monastic communities.

The psalms and the harp have become inextricably associated with each other. The words of psalm 136 make the point.

This weekend, on March 17th, we celebrate the feast of Patrick, patron of Ireland. Associated with Ireland is the Celtic harp, the symbol of a nation. Each of us on our Lenten journey, accompanied by the Book of Psalms, the poetic song-story of another people, has a path to follow. Let’s remember in all our modern difficulties that the psalms of David reflect the joys and sorrows, the pains and struggles of an ancient people. They have much to teach us and offer help for us in our prayer.


By Chris McDonnell

Holy Week……..

Were you on one of our Come & See weekends in the past? Would you like to come back for another visit and join us for the Paschal Triduum? Then why don’t you get in touch with Mother Abbess………….

Or even if you would like to take time out and make a retreat for the Paschal Triduum – still contact us……….


The Abbess has had a bit of a go with Spring feeling fervour…… we had had a few changes over the last couple of weeks and hopefully it will benefit the community and guests!

That is to say the 2 guest rooms and the Choir have been considerably altered!

There may be a Come & See weekend in May but that is not definite yet, so whatch this space!



friendly visitor

friend or foe..........

friend or foe……….

Have you ever had a swan arrive in your back garden? What do you do ? This what I thought when it happened to us yesterday morning. I rang our vet, they put me onto another place they in there turn put us onto the RSPCA. They came out in the afternoon and took it away. It wasn’t injured, it could walk, the wings were ok but it just wasn’t right. Skippy our beloved poodle didn’t know what to make of it but I still had to get him away.

It was a gorgeous creature and I asked if I could stroke it and did so ! It was a young bird.

Another place to meet …….

Another place to meet.

Chris McDonnell Friday January 13th 2017


The Coffee House is a place where I not only find a drink and a croissant but also the convenience of a place to write. In so many ways it has replaced the pub as a meeting place, a stop-off point for anyone and everyone to pause a while over a hot coffee, read or have a chat.


Across the world, Coffee House names have become an integral part of the High Street, an international brand that is immediately recognised. In the late ‘Nineties, when my youngest daughter and her husband were living in Toronto we went to visit with them. Landing well after midnight, with baggage left at their Condo, my son-in-law took me on my first visit to Starbucks, it was half-past three, a good couple of hours before dawn!


Since then, the Coffee House has become common place, each with its own character, furnishings and specialities. Even though they are not quiet places, maybe in fact, because of it, they do provide a comfort zone where words arrive and stories develop.


Often an overheard phrase finds its way into something I am writing, sparks a movement, stimulates an idea, only to re-emerge in a poem or article phrase sometime later. I always carry a book to read and a notebook for writing with me, for they are part of what I do when I find a comfortable seat and order a Cappuccino.


A place to talk, to meet, take time to greet, rest after walking the shop floors in local streets, a time read reflect and write.


Those Parishes that have a Parish Hall where groups can gather after sharing the Eucharist are indeed fortunate. It raises the question as to whether or not community arises from Eucharistic sharing or does our Eucharist spring from the gathering we often call parish.


Either way, humans are gathering creatures, anxious to share in so many ways. It is natural for us to share with each other and, along with company, to eat and drink together. It’s what we do.


I have met a good many and varied people in the Coffee House, a passing nod of ten minutes conversation, unlikely to be repeated again, but informative and enjoyable while it lasted, a help on the way. The Staff who serve become familiar faces and, with frequent visits, have remembered names.


The history of the Coffee House goes back hundreds of years. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Coffee House was a well-established, cosmopolitan meeting place, not only for social exchange, but as a place where business might be conducted. The world-renowned London Stock Exchange started trading in Jonathan’s Coffee House in 1698 in the City. Other well-known establishments, such as Christies and Sotheby’s, developed from the Coffee House gathering of interested merchants and business men.


It is not uncommon nowadays for lap-tops to be set open on tables, with a tapping of keys heard between coffee sips and the person using it to be illuminated by the screen.


Apart from the convivial meeting place after the school run or an alcohol-free zone for a relaxing chat, they can also be places for serious exchange, for stories to be told and a time of careful listening. ‘Meet me for a coffee sometime soon’ can be another way of saying ‘I have something to say, will you listen with me?


So our journey goes on day by day, nourished by the Eucharist, our presence helps others with their problems and difficulties. Look around at the other tables the next time you are in a Coffee House, watch the expressions on the faces of those who sit and drink and talk, who stretch out a gentle hand in comfort to a friend, when friendship is about both laughing and crying together, sharing the load.


I have just received a new collection of poems by the young Irish poet, Kerrie O’Brien. One of them, entitled ‘Hemingway’ concludes with these lines,


“How could he be so close/ And I not know it-The worst time to search/ Whiteout, blizzard sleet/ I hadn’t eaten/ The hunger raw and persisting/ But he led me/ And right where he lived/ A café/ Rose star/ In the wilderness/ Warm jewel/ Run by an American woman/ Big hearted/ Who took me in/ And gave me a muffin/ Flooded with raspberry/ Bloodsweet, glittering, hot./ It then came/ A thudding chant/ Be still, still/ In the howling/ Have faith/ Just a little longer”


Maybe her last two lines ‘Have faith, Just a little longer’ form the core part of the Epiphany we are now living, when sharing the Eucharist, nattering in the parish hall or with strangers in the Coffee House, it is the daily expression of our being Christian.



Advent retreat

The community will be having their Advent retreat starting on Tues this week, for 3 days!

Yes, I know it’s not Advent quite yet, till next weekend but we have to have it a bit earlier than usual and it will help us to prepare better for this lovely season of Christmas to celebrate Christ’s birth………..

something to think about……….

The simple beauty of place

Chris McDonnell   CT November 18th 2016


There is an inspiring article in this month’s edition of the Irish Dominican Journal, ‘Spirituality’, written by Daniel O’Leary, entitled ‘Ministry of Beauty’. In it he reflects on the beauty of God that we experience in ourselves, in others and in the world in which we live.


It set me thinking of places and situations where I might have experienced the beauty he talks of, where, through circumstance, something remained that has not been lost.


Many years ago, when on holiday with my family in Northumbria, I remember walking the beach from the small harbour town of Seahouses as far as Bamburgh Castle on the north-east coast. It was low tide and the expanse of sand was vast. In a couple of hours I passed only one person, then at some distance, too far apart to even be able to exchange greeting. But the pleasure and peace of that walk remains, a truly beautiful place.


In contrast to that open beach, the banks of the River Dee on the Wirral were a place for an evening walk, when as darkness fell, I would occasionally light a small fire from drift wood gathered in a rough circle of stones and sit watching the flickering orange flames dancing in the night.


Nearly twenty years ago, my daughter lived for a while in Canada, in the city of Toronto. During our stay with her I visited a city centre church and there, high in the wall was a small alcove, home for a candle-lit icon. It was so restful and simple a place where attention was held and reflection accommodated.


Three small examples of the beauty of place where something memorable happened, where something was shared and a still point in a turning world found. Ask any couple and they will tell you of a place made beautiful in the expression of their growing love.


Is this what we find when we share the Eucharist week by week in our own very familiar place, our parish church? do we open the door and feel welcomed by a cared-for building whose very walls have been witness over many years to a place of prayer, in times of great joy and also of deep sorrow? Whether it is a large cathedral or a small village church, both can offer that moment of beauty which we recognise as we go inside. The beauty of the interior of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King in Liverpool is truly exceptional, not only for the open expanse of the circular design round the high altar but also for the quiet dignity of the side chapels that surround it. I kept a small print of the background wall design in yellow and white from the Blessed Sacrament chapel in Liverpool above my office desk in school for many years.


There is something about scale that is also very important, our human place in context, a design for occupancy. There is a strong case to be made for the art of creating a space of prayer to be offered to both seminarians and serving priests as an important part of their mission. We neglect the sensitivity of design at our cost. I would suggest that poor art implies poor theology. It was ignored when the New Translation was imposed on us, five years ago this coming Advent, and we live with the consequences. When words and surroundings are incompatible with our intentions then the unease of distraction and the subtleties of prayer are disrupted.


But take this idea away from the public space of a church and ask a similar question about a small room at home which has been chosen as a place of prayer. I wrote this short piece a few days ago.


A space within


Before you can settle

in the quietness of a room

you must learn

how to close the door.


The simplicity of the space within

should not be disturbed

by the hurried movement of the door

through which you entered.


Go gently

into the peace you sought

by first opening the door

             and there rest awhile.


Our actions in such a space should help, not hinder, our reason for being there. A place not cluttered unnecessarily with distractions but an environment that is one of encouragement for the task.


We all have moments and places that we recognise for their simplicity and beauty, places of calm where we can bring our troubled selves before the Lord and recognise his beauty expressed in our very being and in all about us.

Such places require our nurture and respect for they help make us what we are.