Northern Isle, here we come!

Father Prior, accompanied by three of the novices, left Tasmania yesterday for the "northern isle" to hold the community's first retreat mission since its foundation. They are currently at Hartzer Park Retreat Centre in Burradoo where they have a group of nearly 40 men making the Spiritual Exericises.  

IMG_4430.jpg
IMG_4433.jpg

Vox Clamantis in Rhyndaston

We were honoured to have with us for a few days Jaan-Eik Tulvé, director of the Estonian ensemble Vox Clamantis. Jaan-Eik, whom Fr Prior got to know in Flavigny where he directed the St Joseph CD, is in Australia at the moment with his singers giving concerts in Melbourne and Sydney. Jaan-Eik has a profound knowledge of Gregorian Chant which he has studied for many years, and his approach has been a tremendous help to the novices, introducing them to aspects of the chant that you won't find in books.

IMG_4406.JPG

Early summer outing

On the feast of the Holy Innocents, our community went on its quarterly's outing. This time, we went north to pay a visit to our sisters at the Carmel of Launceston. It was a lovely time together in the large parlour during which the younger brothers experienced for the first time the joyful charm of Carmelite recreation on the other side of the grille: a beautiful witness to the truth that with God one finds joy and peace that the world cannot give. After this treasured hour, we went for a lovely walk followed by a pleasant campfire dinner back in "Bethlehem" before resuming our daily life of praise and adoration.

IMG_4118.JPG
IMG_4128.JPG

First Christmas in Colebrook

One of the big advantages of the move to Rhyndaston is Colebrook church. Here are a couple shots of our Christmas Matins and midnight Mass.

IMG_3969.JPG
IMG_4031.JPG

And here we are

Well, things are finally starting to look a bit more "normal" in our new priory, Bethlehem. It's been a week since our official move. In that time, the solemn celebration of Christmas being excepted (see following post), our efforts have gone into making the new setting as close as possible to what a monastery should be. Here are some shots of the move and the places.

IMG_3844.JPG
IMG_3836.JPG
IMG_3921.JPG
IMG_3913.JPG

And the move begins...

The monks of Notre Dame have decided to join the Holy Family in their journey to Bethlehem, although in this part of the world, Bethlehem is called Rhyndaston! Below are some shots of the monks on the move.

IMG_3546.JPG
IMG_3548.JPG
IMG_3557.JPG
IMG_3592.JPG
IMG_3619.JPG

Four new novices

This afternoon Notre Dame Priory celebrated the clothing ceremony of its first four novices, Brother Bede Mary (Tomas Cannavo), Brother Gregory Mary (Alec Hobbs), Brother Joseph Mary (David McMahon) and Brother Bernard Mary (Graham Leach). The community was blessed with the presence of Archbishop Porteous who officiated pontifical Vespers, immediately before the ceremony during which Father Prior imposed the Holy Habit and admitted the new novices. We were joined by around 50 friends who then shared refreshments with us at the house of David and Elisabeth Daintree. Father Prior's exhortation to the new novices will be found under the "from the Prior" button.

Also, for a very interesting write up by photographer Mishka Gora, see https://mishkagora.wordpress.com/2017/11/25/the-benedictine-option/

After the ceremony, Archbishop Porteous, Fr Prior and, from left to right: Brother Joseph Mary, Brother Gregory Mary, Brother Bernard Mary and Brother Bede Mary.

After the ceremony, Archbishop Porteous, Fr Prior and, from left to right: Brother Joseph Mary, Brother Gregory Mary, Brother Bernard Mary and Brother Bede Mary.

Father Prior with the new novices and their parents.

Father Prior with the new novices and their parents.

Father Prior chants an oration over the newly clothed novices.

Father Prior chants an oration over the newly clothed novices.

Father Prior washes the feet of the to be clothed postulants.

Father Prior washes the feet of the to be clothed postulants.

Giving the kiss of peace to Brother Bede Mary.

Giving the kiss of peace to Brother Bede Mary.

Chanting the Memorare before the Lady Altar.

Chanting the Memorare before the Lady Altar.

The white habits laid before Our Lady before the ceremony.

The white habits laid before Our Lady before the ceremony.

Preparing to clothe Brother Gregory.

Preparing to clothe Brother Gregory.

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.

IMG_3243.JPG
IMG_3169.JPG

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.

IMG_5436-1.jpg
Chanting Terce before High Mass.

Chanting Terce before High Mass.

IMG_5433-1.jpg
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... 

IMG_3035.JPG

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.

canarosary.jpg

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.

IMG_2908.JPG
IMG_2907.JPG

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.

IMG_2673.JPG
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