Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Retreat at Douai Abbey

With my fellow ordinands I spent last week on retreat at Douai Abbey just outside of Reading, click here for the Abbey website. It is a Benedictine Abbey and we joined the monks for their services, starting with Matins at 6:15. It ended with Compline at 19:55 - by then we all felt rather tired so it was a week of early nights and early mornings!

Abbey grounds

Abbey Church

Inside the Church

Side chapel

This retreat is required by Canon Law before we can be ordained. It gave us all the time to reflect on our calling to the Diaconate and to prepare ourselves for the changes that will inevitably happen. One of my colleagues was ordained on the Friday evening at his parish church in Shoreham-by-sea, some of us made the trip to take part in his special service. Julia caught the train to Brighton where I met here before driving to the church. I arrived at Brighton a few hours before Julia and spent a great afternoon with my cousin Lesley and her daughter-in-law Maria. It was great to have time for a chat and gossip without it being a funeral which is where we normally seem to meet these days.

Saturday saw us for our final session at St John's Seminary at Wonersh. I have opted (foolishly?) to convert my Foundation Degree to an honours degree which means that I have an extended essay (5000 words) and a dissertation to write; so there is no peace for the wicked.

My year group with wives

After the day at Wonersh we went to, Barnett Hill,  a nearby hotel and enjoyed a "last supper" together. It was good to be all together  and the hotel and its fabulous grounds made it a great evening.

Early morning sun

The main building

Pre-dinner drink

A stroll in grounds

The grounds are great - particularly when it is sunny!

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