Notre Dame Priory

A Monastery in the Benedictine Tradition dedicated to Our Lady of Cana

A day that will long be remembered

Wednesday 22 February 2017, feast of the Chair of St Peter, saw a crowd of 150 people make their way to a small, but exquisite neo-gothic church in the town of Colebrook Tasmania. They came to take part in a Solemn Mass of Inauguration for a new Benedictine Monastic foundation in Tasmania. The Solemn Mass was offered by Father Prior, Dom Pius Noonan, assisted by Fr Terence Naughtin who, in spite of a recent operation, was able to serve as deacon and Fr Glen Tatersall who served as subdeacon. His Grace Archbishop Julian Porteous attended in choir and was assisted by the Vicar General, Fr Michael Tate, and the Parish Priest, Fr Terry Rush. Many other priests and religious were in attendance, and faithful from all over Tasmania, and from as far away as Perth. A luncheon was offered by the young community in the nearby town hall, at which Fr Prior introduced the five candidates to monastic life and Archbishop Julian proposed a toast, asking many blessings upon Notre Dame Priory. More photos to come!

 

Archbishop Julian Porteous gives the homily at the Mass of Foundation.

Archbishop Julian Porteous gives the homily at the Mass of Foundation.

Fr Prior expresses thanks at the end of the Mass.

Fr Prior expresses thanks at the end of the Mass.

Fr Terence Naughtin chants the Gospel.

Fr Terence Naughtin chants the Gospel.

Archbishop Porteous, Fr Prior, and some of the priests in attendance.

Archbishop Porteous, Fr Prior, and some of the priests in attendance.

His Grace with Fr Prior, Fr Terence Naughtin and Fr Glen Tatersall.

His Grace with Fr Prior, Fr Terence Naughtin and Fr Glen Tatersall.

Back to the Burgundy of the Antipodes

Yesterday, 20th February, Fr Prior returned to Hobart where he was met by several young men, candidates to monastic life. Their first task, after thanking Divine Providence for bringing them to these shores, was to move into the provisional accommodations provided for them by the archdiocese of Hobart (see photos). The house, a former presbytery, is a beautiful one, recently renovated to welcome the community. The task of the first days will be to get settled into the house and get it ready for the daily monastic rhythm of prayer, study and work. Today however, the 21st, all our energies will be directed towards Colebrook where the Solemn Mass of inauguration will be celebrated tomorrow.

Top: our provisional chapel as it appeared for our very first office of Compline, having just arrived. Bottom: the refectory still missing some essential items...

Top: our provisional chapel as it appeared for our very first office of Compline, having just arrived. Bottom: the refectory still missing some essential items...

Final retreat in Brisbane

Our final retreat for this summer session in Brisbane found 22 men gathered together in Mercy Place from 14 to 19th February. The final day coincided with Sexagesima Sunday, on which the Lord expounds to us the parable of the sower of the seed. We pray that this retreat has sowed some good seeds and that they will grow in fertile ground!

Our Lady of Fatima watches over the group with the two retreat leaders.

Our Lady of Fatima watches over the group with the two retreat leaders.

And off to Brisbane

Fr Prior, in company with Fr John, just spent several days in Hobart to oversee preparations for foundation day. It was Fr John's first time to Tasmania. Unfortunately the time was limited, and he did not get very far (just up to the top of Mount Wellington! See photo). But we hope he shall return. In the meantime, today both are flying to Brisbane for the two retreats to be held at Mercy Place, Bardon. Please keep this in your prayers. Finally, if you are intending to come to the Foundation Day Mass in Colebrook on 22 Feb, and if you have not yet  done so, please send a message to ndp.foundationday@gmail.com. See you there!

Fr John enjoying the view from Mount Wellington

Fr John enjoying the view from Mount Wellington

St Patrick's Church in Colebrook making ready for Foundation Day.

St Patrick's Church in Colebrook making ready for Foundation Day.

And yet another grace-filled retreat

The fourth and final Hartzer Park retreat has just ended, with 43 ladies participating. It was a fitting conclusion to an intense month for us, with many joys and many challenges. We offer thanks to Our Lady for leading us at each step and for helping us share something of what we have received with so many souls. It is significant that the feast of the Purification and the Presentation comes to, as it were, crown all these efforts. But about that, more will be found in the comings under the "From the Prior" button.

The second group of women who enjoyed a time of silent retreat in Hartzer Park.

The second group of women who enjoyed a time of silent retreat in Hartzer Park.

An American's first Australia Day

My first Australia day was spent with Fr John and a fine group of 33 retreatants in Hartzer Park. Every retreat reminds us that an authentic conversion to the truly Christian way of life incites us to rise from the ashes of past sins, and move forward on the path to eternal life. Many of us can relate perfectly with the experience so beautifully expounded by St Augustine, and which retreatants will remember as being inscribed in the breakfast room at Hartzer Park:

"Late have I love Thee, O Beauty, every ancient, ever new! Late have I loved Thee! For behold, Thou wert within me, and I outside. And I sought Thee outside. And in my loneliness, I fell upon the lovely things that Thou hast made. Thou wert with me and I was not with Thee. I was kept from Thee by those things. Yet had they not been in Thee they would not have been at all. Thou didst call and cry to me and break open my deafness. And Thou didst send forth Thy beams which shine upon me and chase away my blindness. Thou didst breathe fragrance upon me and I drew in my breath. And do now pant for Thee: I tasted Thee and do now hunger and thirst for Thee. Thou didst touch me, and I have burned for Thy peace."

Photo taken on Australia Day.

Photo taken on Australia Day.

A panoramic view of the inner courtyard at the retreat centre.

A panoramic view of the inner courtyard at the retreat centre.

Refreshments in the heat

Yesterday, a group of 29 men finished a five-day retreat at Hartzer Park centre. The heat was excessive the first couple days, but during confessions on the second afternoon, the temperature went down suddenly about 20 degrees. Coincidence? Perhaps. But I couldn't refrain from reminding the group that we pray to the Holy Spirit in the sequence of Pentecost that he be "in aestu temperies", that is, refreshment in the heat, meaning that the grace of the Holy Spirit calms down the heat of our passions and keeps us from falling into sin. Whatever the case with the weather, one thing is sure: there was an abundant outpouring of the grace of the Holy Spirit during this beautiful retreat. Deo gratias! Tomorrow, we start over again, same place, with a larger group still. Please pray for retreatants and directors alike.

Sacred Heart Chapel in Hartzer Park on the feast of St Agnes

Sacred Heart Chapel in Hartzer Park on the feast of St Agnes

Hartzer Park 21 January 2017

Hartzer Park 21 January 2017

Our Lady of Cana and her daughters

Today we complete our first three-day retreat for ladies here at Hartzer Park, Bowral, NSW. Divine Providence has so willed that this retreat coincide with the patronal feast of Notre Dame Priory. We give thanks to her for all the many graces received over the last few days, and we entrust to her maternal protection each and every one of the 46 ladies, of all ages and walks of life, whom we were blessed to host and serve in the gorgeous setting of Hartzer Park. Fr John de Britto, whom many of you know, was here for the occasion, and we were capably helped by David McMahon. Please keep these ladies in your prayers, and keep geared up in prayer for the next 2 and a half weeks which will see two 5-day men's retreats, and another 3-day ladies retreat here in Hartzer Park (dates are available at "Retreats" button). 

Fr John giving one of his captivating talks.

Fr John giving one of his captivating talks.

Fr John, Fr Prior, and the retreatants under Our Lady's maternal gaze.

Fr John, Fr Prior, and the retreatants under Our Lady's maternal gaze.

Preparations continue...

Fr Prior was recently able to visit St Patrick's Church in Colebrook with one of the candidates to monastic life. The goal of their visit was to make preparations for the ceremony of 22 February. They also visited the large presbytery in the Hobart area (see photo) in which they will spend the first months of the foundation, until they can establish a residence in Colebrook. 

A date to save

Please God, on the feast of the Chair of St Peter, Wednesday 22 February at 11 AM, the beautiful Church of St Patrick in Colebrook, Tasmania, will host a Solemn High Mass in the extraordinary form to mark the official opening day of the Benedictine foundation. The Mass will be offered by Fr Prior, while His Grace Archbishop Porteous will preside in choir and preach for the occasion. All are invited to this eventful ceremony which will be followed by a luncheon in the nearby town hall. 

Colebrook may very well prove to be the place where the community establishes itself. At this stage, the most probable is that it will be provisionally located in the Hobart area while an adequate site and quarters in or near Colebrook can be set up for the community.

From south to north and back again

After several days of meetings in Hobart, Fr Prior drove north to visit a few properties there and become acquainted with the Catholic community in and around Launceston. He returned to Hobart the day before yesterday and is presently looking at sites in the Southern Midlands.

From Burgundy to the Burgundy of the Antipodes

Fr Prior left Flavigny on 16 November, arriving, after unexpected delays, on the 18th, feast of the dedication of the Basilicas of SS Peter and Paul. After a brief stay in NSW, he is now in Tasmania to set up the foundation. Monday and Tuesday of this week were spent in working sessions with representatives from the archdiocese, looking into legal and ecclesiastical matters. Fr Prior was also able to visit potential sites where the foundation could begin early next year. His sight-seeing and travels will continue in the next days and weeks.

Fr Prior's retreat

Fr Prior will be going to the Abbey of Randol on 2 November for an eight day retreat with the monks. He asks for your prayers, especially as this retreat will be his final preparation for the imminent foundation of Notre Dame Priory in Tasmania. After the retreat, he will drive down to Lourdes in order to ask Our Lady once again to bless the project, and then on to the Carmel of Simacourbe in order to entrust the foundation to the prayers of dear Carmelite sisters. Coming back to Flavigny on the 12th, he is scheduled to fly back to Australia on the 16th, arriving for the feast of St Gertrude the Great on the 17th. He will spend a few days in NSW before heading down to Tasmania on the 20th.