You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.”
The Benedictine Community of nuns was founded at Ypres in Belgium in the year 1665, and moved to Kylemore, Connemara, Co. Galway, in 1920.
At present we are a community of 10 nuns, each called at some point in her personal history to give herself to God in a life of prayer and service lived according to the Rule of St. Benedict, which gives wise and profound guidelines for such a life.
The Benedictine motto “Ora et Labora”, (Pray and Work), .summarises the direction of our daily life and mission. Prayer has to be the core activity of Christian life, and the Rule of St. Benedict structures the life of the monks in such a way that awareness of the presence of God in life and in the world is at the centre of community life and work. Through commitment to a life of prayer, nuns and monks are contributing to the prayer-life of the Christian Church as the Body of Christ. We come together several times throughout the day to celebrate the liturgy of the Church – Mass and the Divine Office – which is also our community prayer, reading and singing the ancient Psalms and meditating on Holy Scripture, like generations of Benedictines have done before us. The daily timetable allows ample time for personal prayer, reading and study, which nurture the life of faith and lead to an ever-deepening relationship with God.
The Rule of St. Benedict requires that a community should do its own work and earn its living. Our everyday work consists apart from housekeeping duties, of music teaching, soap-, candle- and chocolate-making, monastic hospitality and retreat activities, as well as involvement in the administrative and conservation work of the Kylemore Trust and the running of the visitor destination Kylemore Abbey and Gardens. One of the core values guiding us is Stewardship – looking after the Kylemore Estate and everything it encompasses with care and diligence and striving after environmental sustainability in the spirit of Pope Francis’ encyclical letter “Laudato Si’”.
Not being able to welcome guests or tourists to join us for prayer in our monastic church because of the Pandemic, we have recently begun to stream our daily mass and some other prayer services through webcam, see https://www.kylemoreabbey.com/monastic-church-webcam/
Vocation Story from Sr Jeanne
When I was 24 years old, a few months after I had started to work on my doctorate in Physical Chemistry in my native country Germany, something stirred me to face seriously the question of the aim of my life: did I want to pursue an academic career? look for a job? get married? A few times previously it had crossed my mind to wonder if I was maybe called to the religious life, but the thought had always faded away again. Now it returned. Should I become a nun?
I met a few people who had found clarity about their vocation in Taizé, so I decided to take part in a one-week trip to this community of monks in France, hoping to find an answer in prayer there. During the veneration of the Holy Cross icon on Friday evening, I felt quite clearly that God wanted me to become a Religious.
I had no idea what sort of community I should join. Somehow a contemplative community seemed to be out of the question for me, because I thought that only in an active community would I be able to serve God with the talents he had given me. So when I had finished my doctorate, I entered a Missionary Benedictine Congregation. 12 years later, when a meeting of young Benedictine women brought me to Kylemore Abbey in Ireland, the question came up again. Is a contemplative life the form I am being called to after all? After several years of discernment I finally became a full member of Kylemore Abbey on the Feast of St Brigid 2021.
Vocations, Kylemore Abbey, Connemara, Co. Galway, H91VR90