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Douai Abbey
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» In the week just passed we happy to welcome more than 30 clergy of Portsmouth diocese, along with Bishop Philip, for a five-day retreat led by Fr Nicholas King SJ. Aprt from the obvious spiritual importance of such an occasion, it was clear that the week allowed for some renewal of camaraderie among clergy most of whom live alone and do not always get to see their brethren in the diocesan presbyterate.

» Such fraternal spirit is no less vital in the monastery. During the past week Fr Abbot has visited the brethren on the midland parishes, bringing back a supply of apples from Fr Francis at Kemerton; and Frs Alban and Benjamin visited Fr Benedict at Studley. As part of a different sort of fraternity, the Society of Our Lady of Winton, the fraternity of Catholic parents at Winchester College, held their annual dinner in London last Friday, at which Fr Hugh represented the community and gave the address, speaking on the place of boys in the Rule of St Benedict.

» In the coming week a number of the resident brethren will be away at various stages, most of them seizing the opportunity to grab some holiday, but some to attend the funeral this coming Thursday of Joan McLarnon in Ormskirk, who has died after a long battle with lymphoma. Two days before she died Fr Boniface received her oblation to the monastery on her deathbed. May she rest in peace. On Tuesday night Fr Hugh will be at Hinsley Hall in Leeds to speak to the national conference of diocesan financial secretaries.

» Also this past week, the display at the entrance to the monks' refectory of 19th-century Minton tiles depicting the medal of St Benedict, relics of old Stanbrook Abbey, has been enhanced by the addition of a spotlight, which is governed by a timer. It makes an even more striking feature as we enter for meals.

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