» On Friday 3 July, ten of the resident community and three of the mission fathers joined the last of a trilogy of online conferences organised by the EBC relating to the current Covid crisis. This last conference was led by Br Colmán Ó Clabaigh of Glenstal Abbey in Ireland, who spoke on the Black Death in the 14th century and its lessons for us today. The two previous speakers were Fr Michael Casey OCSO of Tarrawarra Abbey in Australia and Fr Columba Stewart OSB of Collegeville.
» The same day the Abbot attended a committee meeting, by Zoom, of the Douai Foundation Trust which helps Benedictine-sponsored projects abroad
and is largely supported by the Douai Society and Old Dowegians.
» At the beginning of the week our veteran member of staff Graham Giles returned to (part-time for now) work in the kitchen. He has relieved Fr Gregory who was presented with a garden centre voucher by the community for his work in the kitchen during the lockdown, introducting us to Palestinian dishes picked up from his experience before entering the monastery of organising tours to the Holy Land.
» On 1 July the bust of Bishop John Milner, vicar apostolic of the Midland District (1752-1826) which we inherited from St Mary's College, Woolhampton, is now in the library reading room. Bishop Milner was for a short time the missioner to the congregation around Woolhampton. On the same day we took possession of a piano which had belonged to Anne Holt, Fr Oliver's mother, who passed away a few months ago.
» Sadly, today two stalwarts of the monastery parish passed away, both after long illness. Susanna, Lady Westmeath had been a pillar of the Theale community, not least accompanying Mass on the organ. Marie Piero was a long-standing and active member of the Woolhampton community, and the wife of our former, and long-serving, houseman Donato. Earlier in the week news came of the death in Bournemouth of Fr Antony Meredith SJ. He was a contemporary of Fr Gervase at the Vaughan School in London, and a friend of the community, and had been an eminent patristic scholar. May they all rest in peace.