I was looking forward to my visit to Salisbury for two reasons: first of all, to visit my Benedictine community of oblation (who have recently moved from Newbury to Salisbury); and to see the magnificent Cathedral of Salisbury, recently made more popular by the book and TV mini series, Pillars of the Earth.
St.Benedict’s Priory, Salisbury
The monastic community of St.Benedict’s Priory, Salisbury, has had more than a hundred year history since the revival of monasticism in the Church of England near the end of the 19th century. They have resided at Nashdom, Elmore (where I became an novice in 1997),
|The former Elmore Abbey, Newbury|
|Sarum College on the left, the newly moved into priory house in Salisbury on the right|
|The garden in front of the priory house with the cathedral to the right|
and now Salisbury.
With only four monks left to the community, they now live in a small priory house next to Sarum College (an Anglican theological college), and within the 13th century cathedral close of Salisbury. I first visited these Benedictine monks (with my wife and three children - who to this day still speak positively about that visit), and became a novice in 1997, became an oblate in 1998, and have retreated to Elmore almost every year since. I am happy to see the remaining four monks settled away in a smaller priory house in Salisbury, and it has been an absolute joy to see my Benedictine brothers and to share with them in prayers and fellowship. In addition to the daily offices in the priory house, they also participate in mass in the morning chapel of the cathedral every morning at 7:30, midday prayer at Sarum College at 12:15, and choral evensong in the choir of the cathedral.