A new postulant at the Priory

Today on the feast of All Saints of the Benedictine Order, we were overjoyed to welcome another postulant in the person of Dominic Swan. Dominic, who is from Brisbane (that makes three Queenslanders in the community!), had completed his three months of aspirancy, and expressed the desire to be received as a postulant. We give thanks to Our Blessed Lady for this gift, and ask her to lead him along his monastic journey.

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Sunday Masses in Colebrook

For the past few weeks, our Sunday Masses have been supplemented by organ pieces played by postulant Tomas on the lovely pipe organ in St Patrick's Church. It adds a valuable dimension to our liturgical prayer for which we, and our occasional guests, are most grateful.

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Chanting Terce before High Mass.

Chanting Terce before High Mass.

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Nature's springtime rebirth at "The Pearl"!

Nature's springtime rebirth at "The Pearl"!

Garden bed on the way...

After the cleanup of their Rhyndaston property, the monks have officially started doing something constructive. This is a raised garden bed in the making. More to come, we hope... 

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Monk Shop

In an effort to provide for the subsistence of our small community, we have just added a new button to this website, called "Monk Shop". You will find there the beginnings of what we hope will one day provide for the community. This month's featured novelty is the "Kitchen Rosary" which we hope will increase the number of Rosaries offered to Our Lady during this month of October.

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A valued gift

Through the intermediary of our good friend Brian Andrews, we received from Nick Beveridge in New Zealand this fabulous Pugin chasuble which we used for the first time yesterday on the feast of the holy apostle St Matthew. May Our Blessed Lady reward the kindness of such generous benefactors, and may we always make good use of such precious gifts for the beauty of Divine Worship.

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The work goes on...

The past few weeks have seen ongoing progress at Margarita, all in preparation for the real (building) work to come, soon we hope. 

Preparing for arrival of new water tank...

Preparing for arrival of new water tank...

Dismantling rundown chicken coop (we will do "chooks" for sure, but this one was really not suited...)

Dismantling rundown chicken coop (we will do "chooks" for sure, but this one was really not suited...)

Expert tests soil in preparation for planning approval.

Expert tests soil in preparation for planning approval.

What happened to the tree? and the briers?...

By dint of hard work, the brothers have managed to get rid of the huge tree that had been left near the small house at "The Pearl". A recent photo showed Father Prior with the chainsaw. Well, for the time being, Father Prior is out of work (or rather, the chainsaw is!, Father Prior never having enough time for the mountains of work awaiting him everyday...) The tree is gone, transformed into firewood, and the briers are gone, transmuted into ashes and smoke.

The brothers are seen here saying the office of None last Thursday, as they prepared to finish up their day's work and head back to Lindisfarne.

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It took a while to get the fire started, but we got there!

It took a while to get the fire started, but we got there!

The only remaining resident at "Margarita"! (until the monks move in...)

The only remaining resident at "Margarita"! (until the monks move in...)

Talking about moving in, Father Prior is here seen discussing possibilities with local builders and Martine Watkinson.

Talking about moving in, Father Prior is here seen discussing possibilities with local builders and Martine Watkinson.

Work begins at the Pearl

Since 26 July the community has started clearing things out on their new property. Until we can get a large enough house built there, the plan is to go out once a week to tend to various needs around the land and prepare it to receive its monks.

Father Prior having a great time with the chainsaw...

Father Prior having a great time with the chainsaw...

Good-bye to the Kia

Last Friday, the community said good-bye to the 8-seat Kia that it had been renting from the archdiocese since the beginning of the foundation. Father Prior was reminded of the early days at the end of last year when this car accompanied his baby steps in Tasmania and wishes her a bright future.  The need to limit expenses required this separation.

A special day

This Sunday 30 July, Father Prior blessed the small house on our new property and the community shared its first meal there since settlement day. Three good friends shared the occasion with us and made it very special. Divine Providence gave us the joy of rainbows that were quite visible, and, it would seem, rare in this dry part of the island. It gives us courage to think that a new covenant has been made between Heaven and our fledgling community. Now, so much to do to get the land ready for its inhabitants!

Rainbow seen in Rhyndaston and in Cole River Valley.

Rainbow seen in Rhyndaston and in Cole River Valley.

A gift from Our Lady on her parents' feast day

"I will bring them into My holy mount, and will make them joyful in My house of prayer: their holocausts and their victims shall please Me upon My altar." These inspired words from the Prophet Isaiah (56:7), as the chapter verse for the monastic office of Sext on this feast of Saints Joachim and Anne, were being chanted by the brethren when the conveyancer rang to say that the settlement was complete for the purchase of what we hope will become our future monastery.

The news is that Notre Dame Priory is now owner of 64 acres of land in the small town of Rhyndaston, Tasmania, just 7 minutes north of Colebrook in the Coal River Valley. It is roughly 50 mn north of Hobart, and about 1 h 45 mn south of Launceston. 

The photo which has been on the "News" page of this website featuring Archbishop Porteous, Father Prior and the community was actually taken from the property several weeks ago. The view, as you can see, is stunning. Even though it is not visible on that particular photo, Mount Wellington rising majestically over Hobart can be seen from the top of the land.

Below there are a few other shots showing the land and the small house which is on it. Before we can move in however, we will need to get other accommodations set up. Our work for the next weeks and months is cut out for us, but you will be hearing more about that!

This evening, the entire community is chanting the Te Deum in thanksgiving to Our Lady and St Joseph and with gratitude to the generous benefactor whose loan made the purchase possible, as well as to all other benefactors who continue to support our work. Please unite with us in giving thanks to the Lord. God love you all!

A Gift from our Holy Father St Benedict

Upcoming visitors to the priory are in for a sight: Today on the solemnity of Our Holy Father St Benedict, our four postulants donned their newly made postulant habits. These are essentially a short habit going down to mid-thigh. It allows them to gradually get used to wearing distinctive religious garb and prepares them for the long habit and scapular which is still a few months down the road. 

And back to Tassie, via la belle France...

Father Prior has made his way back to Tasmania since Sunday afternoon. Having completed the retreat in Wales and the two retreats in Ireland, he went to the Abbey of Flavigny for two days where he was warmly welcomed by the abbot and community. The 6th of July was the 15th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood, and he was happy to celebrate it with the two confreres with whom he was ordained: Dom Bénigne Marie Gaillot-Drevon, now choir master of the abbey, and Dom Jean-Bernard Marie Bories, now novice master and subprior of the abbey. 

That same day, Father Prior was invited by Abbot Antoine Marie Beauchef to speak to the community about the Tasmanian foundation. He did so for about and hour, showing photos and fielding questions. It was a blessed time, only too short. The next day, he flew back to Hobart, via London, Kuala Lumpur and Melbourne. With great joy he has been reunited to the small community of Notre-Dame.

Father Prior with Abbot Antoine Beauchef of Flavigny, 7 July 2017

Father Prior with Abbot Antoine Beauchef of Flavigny, 7 July 2017

And to the Emerald Isle...

After completing a first retreat in Pantasaph, Wales, with Fr John and Br Basil, Fr Prior is now in Ireland holding a second retreat at Ards Friary, Creeslough, Donegal. On the way there the three monks made a stopover at Silverstream Priory, Stamullen, County Meath. Fr Prior was blessed to meet Dom Mark Kirby shortly after his community moved to Ireland in 2012, and since then he has gone each year at least once to visit and help the fledgling group. This time around, he was delighted to see the great progress that has been made. In addition to the Prior, there is one solemnly professed monk who is a priest, two junior professed, three novices (one of whom is a priest) and three postulants, and many other knocking at the door. Even more important however is the official erection of the community which took place this year by the Bishop of Meath. Silverstream Priory is henceforth a fully approved and established monastic community of the Church. This is all very encouraging for us as well, as we set out on a path that is similar and hopefully will lead to the same goal. Si solum fiat!

Dom Pius with Dom Mark Kirby.

Dom Pius with Dom Mark Kirby.

Back to the "old world"

Last Friday, Father Prior flew to Europe for a three week tour during which he will hold three retreats in the UK and Ireland in company with Fr Jean de Britto and Br Basil from the abbey of Flavigny. His first stop upon arrival in England was at St Michael's Abbey in Farnborough to which he is no stranger. In fact, since the first Flavigny retreats in England in 2006, the monks have made a halt at Farnborough just about every year, allowing them to keep up with Abbot Cuthbert and community. 

A new step in the service of the Lord

Today, feast of Our Lady Help of Christians, was an important one for Notre Dame Priory. This afternoon, just before First Vespers of the Ascension, Father Prior welcomed officially as postulants Tomas Cannavo (Adelaide), Alec Hobbs (Brisbane), David McMahon (Sydney) and Graham Leach (Brisbane). The four men have just completed three months of aspirancy and have decided to take the next step and actually enter monastic life. A big step for each one of them, and also for their loved ones at home. Postulancy, like novitiate, of course involves no commitment on behalf of the candidate, but the significance of the moment is actually stepping into the community life and asking to begin formal initiation as a monk. As a concrete sign of their desire to pursue this path, they all were shorn of their hair, in the hope of being clothed with the Benedictine habit a few months down the road. Father Prior entrusts them, each and all, to your good prayers, thanking Our Lady for this special gift on her feast day.

Postulants Tomas, Alec, Graham and David with Father Prior.

Postulants Tomas, Alec, Graham and David with Father Prior.

Never Mary without Joseph

Saturday 13 May will also be remembered as the day on which we received a lovely statue of St Joseph, offered by some generous benefactors from Northern Tasmania. We blessed the statue after the consecration to Our Lady, and he will henceforth, with his Immaculate Spouse, preside over the destiny of our community. The photo also shows an image of St Mary of the Cross, secondary patroness of the priory, and Bishop Willson, to whom we also entrust our endeavours to establish ourselves.

Our Lady's special day

Today is the centenary of the first apparition of Mother Mary to the children of Fatima. It is also the centenary of the episcopal consecration of Eugenio Pacelli who would later endow her with a very beautiful Mass to honour her Immaculate Heart.

On this day, two significant events have taken place in Tasmania. First of all, Archbishop Julian Porteous consecrated Tasmania to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in a major ceremony in his cathedral of Hobart, which included the crowning of the Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima by His Grace himself, the Rosary recited while walking in procession around the cathedral with the statue, and the Litany of Loretto. In the text he used for the occasion and which began "I, Julian Porteous, eleventh bishop of the See of Hobart, do solemnly consecrate Tasmania to the Immaculate Heart of Mary", the archbishop prayed: "Let there be revealed once more the infinite power of Christ's redemption, the outpouring of His merciful love. May it destroy the power of sin and evil among us. May consciences be transformed to know the truth revealed by God and witnessed to in the Catholic Church."

The monks of Notre Dame Priory were honoured to be present on this momentous occasion, and they join with their archbishop in calling down the blessings of the Lady of Fatima upon all the inhabitants of this island.

The other significant event, much more circumscribed, was the consecration of Notre Dame Priory to the Immaculate Heart. The text used by Fr Prior for the occasion can be found under the "From the Prior" tab.

Consecration ceremony in the small priory chapel.

Consecration ceremony in the small priory chapel.

Visitation from His Lordship

On Friday 12 May, Notre Dame Priory received a distinguished episcopal visitor in the person of the Most Reverend Geoffrey Jarrett, Bishop emeritus of Lismore. Bishop Jarrett, a longtime supporter of the project of an Australian Benedictine foundation, was in Hobart to take part in the internment ceremony of Bishop Robert William Willson, first bishop of Hobart (1842-1866) who died in England, and has finally been brought back, according to his wish, to Tasmania, to which he dedicated his life. Bishop Willson had the reputation of a good and holy bishop who showed great concern for all, especially the mentally ill and the convicts. He was instrumental in particular in closing down Norfolk Island as a convict establishment and also in the abolition of two particularly brutal forms of convict punishment. We ask him to intercede for us today. He had  many challenges to face in his day when he laid all the infrastructure for the future archdiocese. May he help us in our efforts to provide Tasmania with a Benedictine monastery. We are grateful to Bishop Jarrett for giving us a bit of his time, and we look forward to seeing him again soon please God.

Bishop Willson lies in state at St Joseph's Church in Hobart.

Bishop Willson lies in state at St Joseph's Church in Hobart.

Bishop Jarrett with the community.

Bishop Jarrett with the community.

Visitation from Our Lady

On the morning of 11 May, Notre Dame Priory was graced with a visit from its mistress and queen, Our Lady herself, under the guise of the pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima. She was brought to us by Fr Gerard Ryan in company of Maree Triffett. Fr Gerard of the Confraternity of Christ the Priest is just starting a tour of Australian dioceses, and we were the first stop on the tour. Fr Gerard spoke quite eloquently of the place of devotion to Mary in our faith and of her apparitions in Fatima a century ago. He reminded us that the message of Fatima is an austere one: prayer and penance to save souls from hell, but he was prompt to add that this is the very message of the Gospel as taught by Our Lord Himself. We prayed together the Rosary and other devotions, had some silent prayer, then concluded with the Litany of Our Lady. This providential visit is part of our preparation for Saturday's centenary celebration of the first apparition of Fatima on which we will take part in the consecration of Tasmania to the Immaculate Heart by Archbishop Porteous in the cathedral of Hobart and the consecration of Notre Dame Priory which will take place the same evening here.

Fr Gerard Ryan speaks to the community about devotion to Our Lady.

Fr Gerard Ryan speaks to the community about devotion to Our Lady.