Douai Abbey

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Douai Abbey is home to a community of monks of the English Benedictine Congregation. The monastery is under the patronage of St Edmund, King & Martyr, and was founded in Paris in 1615. Uprooted by the French Revolution it settled at Douai in Flanders, and finally returned to England in 1903, settling at Woolhampton in Berkshire.

Until 1999 the community ran a school. Douai monks still maintain the other principal English Benedictine apostolate, serving the Church in parishes throughout England. At the monastery itself we welcome guests on retreats or courses, as well as those who seek merely some quiet time. There are facilities for conferences of modest size, and youth or chaplaincy groups. Our library and archive building houses a rich resource for study and research, and is open to researchers and students by application. From time to time we host a number of sacred concerts given by leading performers.

However, the primary work of the monks is the regular celebration of the sung Divine Office and the Mass, and all such liturgical worship is open to the public. If you are a single Catholic man between the ages, generally, of 18 and 45 and wonder if you might be called to share our way of life, please do look at our information on vocations. Our website explains our life and history in greater depth, but you are always welcome to come and see.

Let the oratory be what it is called, a place of prayer; and let nothing else be done there or kept there. When the Work of God is ended, let all go out in perfect silence, and let reverence for God be observed, so that any brother who may wish to pray privately will not be hindered by another's thoughtlessness. And at other times also, if anyone should want to pray by himself, let him go in simply and pray, not in a loud voice but with tears and fervour of heart.

Rule of St Benedict, Chapter 52
Monk, by young American artist Gaelen Mibeck
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