41 brave cold for first winter retreat

Father Prior along with four of the brethren as well as Fr John Dupré from Flavigny are in the middle of men's retreat at Hartzer Park Retreat Centre in Burradoo, NSW. 41 men are taking part in this event, the first one ever to be organised in the winter months. Here is a photo taken after the "meal of the prodigal son".


Glory to the Queen of Heaven!

It's settled - Jerusalem now belongs to Notre Dame Priory! We give thanks to Almighty God and the Immaculate Virgin for leading us this far,  and we entrust the future to her. Father Prior and the brethren as well as a few friends enthroned the Sacred Heart and consecrated the community once again to Him and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the homestead that will be there community base in the coming months.


Novena starts today

Today we begin a novena to Our Lady, by reciting every day the Litany of Loreto. The intention we bring before the Queen of Heaven is that She intercede for us and bring us to the home she has prepared for us. Please unite your prayers with ours and let us pray with confidence that she will come through!


Monks on retreat this week

The community of Notre Dame Priory is on retreat all this week. Fr Mark Bachmann from Clear Creek is giving us a series of conferences based on Dom Paul Delatte's doctrine of the monastic life. Dom Delatte, who was the third abbot of Solesmes, wrote among other things a massive commentary on the Rule of St Benedict. Under his guidance we are in good hands.

Below is a picture of the community with Fr Bachmann at the summit of Mount Hartz, Tasmania during our recent quarterly outing. Keep the monks in your prayers this week please (but not just this week!)


A visit from the Americas

The brethren at Notre Dame Priory are honoured to welcome Fr Mark Bachmann from Clear Creek Abbey in Oklahoma for a couple weeks. Father will be leading the monks' first annual retreat from 4 to 11 August.

 Fr Bachmann preaching at Sunday Missa Cantata

Fr Bachmann preaching at Sunday Missa Cantata

ACCC conference

Fr Prior took part last week in the annual conference of the Australian Confraternity of Catholic Clergy (ACCC). The keynote speaker was His Eminence Cardinal Gerhard Müller who was kind enough to pose for a photo with Father. His Eminence gave three outstanding talks, focusing on the role of the priest who continues Christ's mission on earth through the preaching of the fulness of His truth without compromise with error and through the administration of the sacraments which have been entrusted to him through ordination.


A family photo

This is our most recent community photo taken on the feast of St Benedict, 11 July.

 From left to right: Br Bernard, Dylan, Matt, Br Maximilian, Br Augustine, Fr Prior, Br Bede, Br Gregory, James, Israel, Br Joseph.

From left to right: Br Bernard, Dylan, Matt, Br Maximilian, Br Augustine, Fr Prior, Br Bede, Br Gregory, James, Israel, Br Joseph.

A First Saturday entry

On this first Saturday of July, our community is happy to announce the entry of a new postulant: Dylan Shogren, from Brisbane, having completed his aspirancy, now joins James and Israel in the ranks of the postulants.


Western Australia kicks in

On the vigil of St John the Baptist, we were pleased to welcome Israel De Brito as a postulant. Israel who is a professional wine-maker from Perth arrived before Easter and now joins James Morrison in the group of postulants. He is in charge of our new hens and geese, as well as of the garden. Please keep him in your prayers as he moves forward towards noviciate.


And here come the "ladies"!

Here's presenting the most recent arrivals at the priory: Henrietta and her 19 companions! In the photo, aspirant Israel shows the first egg!


A grace-filled visit

Last Saturday 2 June, the community was honoured to have the visit of His Grace Archbishop Porteous who joined us for the office of Sext, lunch and recreation. We took him down to the gorge over-looking the Coal River. It was a lovely day for all.


Queensland comes through once again!

The noviciate of Notre Dame Priory now counts six novices, half of whom hail from Queensland, thanks to the latest addition in the person of Brother Maximilian Mary (Dominic Swan) who was clothed last evening in the presence of his mother, a brother, two sisters, and a number of friends who were able to make it in spite of bad weather around the Apple Isle. Here are a few shots. Fr Prior's exhortation for the event will be found under the "From the Prior" button.


A Kiwi Postulant

The community has a new postulant. This afternoon before First Vespers of the Ascension, Father Prior welcomed as postulant James Morrison, who is originally from Auckland, New Zealand. We wish him every blessing as he sets out on this new path in community under the auspices of the feast of our Lord's glorification at the right hand of the Eternal Father.


A new novice

Yesterday, on the feast of the Annunciation of Our Lady, Fr Mark Withoos received the monastic habit and the new name of Brother Augustine Mary. There were quite a few friends in attendance on this joyous occasion. We give thanks to Our Lady for this new token of her maternal love for each of us and we entrust Brother Augustine and all our community to your good prayers! Fr ¨Prior's exhortation on this occasion will be found under the "From the Prior" button.


Easter happenings

This year's paschal octave has come to an end. Our paschal candle however remains until Ascension Thursday, along with the paschal inscription which follows an ancient custom.

As part of our Easter festivities, we had our quarterly outing, this time heading south and discovering the magnificent area of Cape Raoul, near Port Arthur on the Tasman Peninsula. We were blessed with truly paschal weather, bright and sunny, warm but not hot. There was everything to delight the eye and dilate the heart at the beauty of the Creator.

Finally, on Easter Saturday, we went down the road to the Emmaus monastic community where we were met by the Little Eucharistic Brothers of Divine Will. Our three communities got to know each other better, share a bit of what we do, and question ourselves on how best to serve the spiritual needs of Tasmania. It was a good experience for all. We were also blessed with the presence of the Vicar General Fr Michael Tate who gave us some profound reflections on the meaning of contemplation and how it is ordered to evangelisation. Finally, Archbishop Porteous was able to join us for the celebration of the office of Vespers in the Emmaus monastic chapel.


Recollection in Caulfield

Last weekend Father Prior was invited to hold a Lenten recollection at Blessed John Henry Newman Parish in Caulfield. The event was well attended and sparked renewed interest in our community. Father Prior offered two solemn Masses, one last Saturday and one last Sunday. Here he is shown with the parish priest, Fr Glen Tattersall.


One year ago

One year ago today a crowd of friends were with us in St Patrick’s Church, Colebrook, to inaugurate this new community life in Tasmania. Today, we give thanks for the blessings of the past year. First of all, for the fact that we are still here! There were six of us then. There are eight of us now, including four clothed novices. We spent 10 months in Lindisfarne, the last two have been here in Rhyndaston: what does the future hold? Time will tell, but things are happening…


 Chant practice with renowned director of Vox Clamantis, Iaan-Eik Tulvé.

Chant practice with renowned director of Vox Clamantis, Iaan-Eik Tulvé.

 Visit with Fr Glen Tattersall

Visit with Fr Glen Tattersall

 Archbishop Porteous with Fr Prior and Fr John from Flavigny.

Archbishop Porteous with Fr Prior and Fr John from Flavigny.

 Sunset over Rhyndaston

Sunset over Rhyndaston

Ladies retreat at Hartzer Park

There were 37 of them to take part in the 3 day spiritual exercises that conclude today. Well, to tell the truth, there were two others: a couple of the retreatants were accompanied by infants in utero. (Not detectable in photo!)


Sydney Pilgrimage

Last Sunday, in between two retreats, Fr Prior, accompanied by Fr John from Flavigny, and three of our novices, made a double pilgrimage to Sydney.

First to the tomb of St Mary of the Cross, secondary patroness of our community. The monks spent a good amount of time in prayer there, asking her protection and guidance in establishing their presence in the land she loved so much and sacrificed herself for. 

They then went to St Mary's Cathedral where they prayed at the tomb of Archbishop Bede Polding, whose dream of bringing Benedictine Monasticism to Australia we hope to continue in some small way. Before leaving the cathedral, we chanted the office of None in the crypt.