A Trysting Place – 40 Days in Brede Abbey
‘Who would have dreamed of this?’ said Penny. ‘Dame Philippa thought she would be at Brede for the rest of her life. Poor Philippa.’
‘Poor? Surely she welcomed this opportunity, wanted to go?’ said Donald, but Penny knew better than that. ‘I can it was like that verse when Christ said to Peter something about “Now you gird yourself and take yourself where you want to go… but one day another will gird you and take you where you do not want to go.” I can guess it is just like that,’ said Penny.
(In This House of Brede – Page 419)
A final few words and a farewell from Brede Abbey.
It has been a privilege to travel this journey to and from a ‘Trysting Place’ during Lent. I hope that the journey has brought all those who have read it something to ponder, something to deepen the journey of faith, some comfort, some joy, and most of all brought you closer to our Beloved. Thank you to everyone who has been in contact with me during that time. I have appreciated your words and they have encouraged me.
I also hope that, if you were already familiar with the story of Brede Abbey I have not made it a less attractive place for you and if you have not met the book before you will be tempted to read the whole story. There is much more to it than the forty extracts I have harvested! You may also like to read some of Rumer Godden’s other works, nine of which have been made into movies.
During the course of writing these reflections it was a joy to discover that one of those movies was about Brede Abbey itself. As in the book, the main characters are a compendium of real nuns, except in the movie there are fewer characters. This makes it a little difficult to sort out Dame Philippa from Dame Maura and Sister Cecily from Sister Polly. Nonetheless it is well worth watching and may be found on YouTube here;
What next on this journey? If you have found the Religious Life intriguing, be it to find out about discovering a Personal Rule of Life, borrowing the ‘quiet space’ inside a monastery or a convent for a time, or even living with a community to ‘try’ a vocation of your own, why not do that?
Wherever in the world you are reading this, from New Zealand to California, there is a Religious Community near to you who will be happy to welcome you and help you further on the journey.
Those near the United Kingdom may want to visit the website of Anglican Religious Communities to begin that relationship. If you are further away many of the communities in the UK have branch houses and communities elsewhere in the world.
Wherever the call does take you, may you only find joy.
Enjoy the earth gently,
enjoy the earth gently,
for if the earth is spoiled,
it cannot be repaired.
Enjoy the earth gently,
(Yoruba People, Nigeria)
Quotations from ‘In This House of Brede’ are copyright © Rumer Godden 1969, 1991 Page numbers are from the 1991 Pan Book edition ISBN 0 330 33521 9
Scripture quotations are copyright © New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Prayers are from ‘Prayers Encircling the World’ and are copyright © SPCK: 1998.
These Reflections, ‘A Trysting Place – 40 Days in Brede Abbey’ are copyright © Andrew Dotchin 2019