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.


First Priory retreat

The first retreat held under the auspices of Notre Priory since its foundation was concluded today. 36 men were present for the event. A 3 day women’s retreat will start on Monday. 


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.  


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.


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.


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.


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.