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January 29, 2018
January 26, 2018
December 22, 2017
We have much to be thankful for and to wonder at in the life of the community in 2017. Not least is the progress made in starting our new home at Bonnevaux. Thank you to all who have joined in this new project with a great variety of gifts. Next year we will describe how you can help in the physical work we will start soon and help in many specific needs. The blessing of Bonnevaux was an inspiring and energising event. Thank you for being part of the Bonnevaux vision for a world where inner peace makes for peace between all peoples.
Any help in realising this vision is welcomed: small donations, time and presence and your daily communion in the silence of our meditation. Thank you and Happy Christmas and a blessed New Year!
November 28, 2017
Elba Rodríguez, from Colombia, is part of the Meditatio House oblate community. She was recently in Bonnevaux for the official blessing that took place on the 21st November. During the days before she helped to prepare the chapel for the big day and then she made a meaningful little discovery:
There were several parts of the house and activities that required our focus. I directed my attention to the small chapel that stands 30 meters from the house.
The chapel dates to the mid 19th century and seats about 30 people, although we were more than that on the Blessing day. Two older harmoniums in a state of repair guard the corners of the entrance. The chapel must have been used until the 1990s as prayer books, antiphonaries, pictures of Pio X, Pio XIII, John Paul II and devotional stamps still rested intact on both musical instruments. Five pews were arranged inside the small space. Antique French altar candlestick holders, vases and unknown relics adorned the altar. Devotional objects and remains of medieval alabaster windows were also behind the altar.
The stained glass windows that adorn the chapel were designed by L. Lobin in Tours in 1867 and were big enough to let the natural light come in during the shorter days of November. Next to the altar is a statue of Jesus reading a text in Hebrew and Mary lovingly observing him.
The rather unglamorous but necessary task in preparation for the blessing was to dust off the inside of the chapel and to do it with the utmost contemplative and meditative care during very cold and humid November days. What seemed ordinary became very significant after finding on Sunday 19 November, the last day of preparation of the chapel, a lightly dusted folded paper in the middle left drawer of the third pew of the chapel. It was the order of mass of Christ the King Sunday, 20 November 1988! And 29 years forward we are here in Bonnevaux bringing to life a vision rooted in the Christian tradition but also open to pilgrims and seekers of other faiths. Once Bonnevaux is in operation, this little place will offer a quiet retreat for prayer, worship and meditation for all those seeking silence within.
November 27, 2017
Listen to the talks by Laurence Freeman and the Archbishop of Poitiers during the blessing of Bonnevaux, in 21st of Novembers:
November 23, 2017
The 21st of November was a memorable day for our Community at Bonnevaux, in France and globally. With the Archbishop of Poitiers, the Prior of the monastery of Liguge, Sandrine Vinay ( French National Coordinator) the icon of John Cassian ‘written’ for Bonnevaux by Odile van der Hoff was blessed and installed in the small chapel. Meditators from France, Switzerland, Spain, Germany, the UK and Ireland were present and messages came from worldwide, read by Jose Pype, national coordinator from Belgium.
The day was warm and sunny and this seemed to illumine the sense of Bonnevaux as a place of peace and hope both locally grounded and globally extended.
November 23, 2017
Henriette Hollaar, a member of the Meditatio House oblate community, did a “Walk for Bonnevaux” in the beginning of November. She walked for about 130km from Subiaco to Monte Cassino, Italy. The main idea was raising awareness about Bonnevaux and the walk also raised about £ 1000 in donations.
Having the health and the strength to walk a pilgrimage is already a blessing. And I received many more! The weather was fantastic, to emerge in the beauty of nature, to wonder and marvel the depth of history, the unexpected and elevating encounters with people, growing deeper in solitude, silence and simplicity. It was very special to receive your support and encouragement. Either through messages and prayers or your generous donations. A heartfelt thanks and in a way I hope I shared my blessings with you.
See more images of Henriette’s walk:
November 23, 2017
Marie O’Leary, of Perth, Australia, was (and remains since her death earlier this year) a beloved member of our community. She suffered chronic pain for decades with deep faith and unfailing love for others. Although she was mostly housebound she fell in love with the Bonnevaux vision and wanted to be part of it. To help achieve this she left us her house in her will – a very generous legacy which will helps us take Bonnevaux forward. As she was a special sign of grace to others, so is this generous gift. Thank you Marie! We know you hope this may inspire others to remember Bonnevaux in their wills.
November 16, 2017
By Geert Van Malderen
From 29th October to 2nd November 2017, Bart, Henri and I went for a 3-days working stay in Bonnevaux. The beauty of the whole site is amazing. The harmony between buildings and nature, the calming river, and the woods … they all make it possible to create there a place where all meditators and seekers of silence can feel at home. Often during the work, I thought of the monks who lived there. Now, new ‘monks’ can come. The tradition and the Spirit continue, even in the way we work and eat. We meditated by the open three times a day, the beginning of the steady rhythm of Bonnevaux. Bonnevaux needs us – young and old and in between (Henri, 95 years old) was with us and was very thankful for th e visit. It won’t be the last time that we come to meditate – and to work )!
November 10, 2017
The blessing of Bonnevaux will take place on 21 November with the installation of an icon of John Cassian. Please share this sacred moment with us: we ask that on 21 November, meditators throughout the world pause for a moment in gratitude for the presence of WCCM in the world, for the gifts that have been shared up til now, and for the all the hopes that Bonnevaux embodies for future generations. We ask that all who can, have an extra period of meditation that day, either on their own or in a small group.
After meditation please share this reading and prayer:
Meditation is the supreme way into faith, into commitment. All action must be shallow, mere immediacy if it is not based on the commitment to what is real, which must also be to what is eternal. Our invitation is to know now, with direct, personal knowledge, what is real and eternal, and knowing it, to live our lives inspired by love.
John Main OSB
May Bonnevaux flourish as a lamp on a lampstand, a new way of contemplative Christianity, a centre of peace, a place of teaching and transmission, and a home for future generations of our community. May the Lord bring to completion the good work he has begun in us and in the Bonnevaux of the 21st century.
Laurence Freeman OSB
October 31, 2017
Henriette Hollaar, a member of the Meditatio House oblate community, is doing a 130-km-walk from Subiaco to Monte Cassino. The main idea is raising awareness about Bonnevaux. You can support Henriette’s “Walk for Bonnevaux” here: http://tiny.cc/wlk4bonnvx
See some photos from the first days of her journey in Italy:
October 23, 2017
Henriette Hollaar, a member of the Meditatio House oblate community, is doing a 130-km-walk from Subiaco to Monte Cassino in the end of October. She explains the main goal of this journey between two important Benedictine Monasteries:
In a short time, I hope to walk from Subiaco to Montecasino, two ancient Benedictine monasteries, 130 km apart in Italy. I came across this pilgrimage a few years ago and was often looking for an opportunity to go, especially when I approached my 50th birthday. I had to put the guidebook back on the shelves several times but a possibility opened when I surrendered to the idea that, instead of doing the 18 days from Nursia to Montecassino, I could do 6 days from Subiaco, where Saint Benedict had lived for 3 years in a cave, to Montecassino where St Benedict gave his Rule to the monks and died in 547.
From then I began to plan and train. Besides walks in and around London, walking up and down the stairs is very good.
I would like to walk in gratitude for life and raise funds and awareness for Bonnevaux and particularly for the barn, which is becoming the new Meditatio Centre. From this centre, the World Community for Christian Meditation hopes to broadcast many events as well as welcome people in the retreat facilities and so, as Fr Laurence puts it, help people to deepen their work of silence and so to renew their relationships with others.
If there is any chance you would like to sponsor this project, please look at; www.bonnevauxwccm.org
Here some pictures of my training walks, sometimes around London, the so-called capital ring. But there where days I could escape London:
October 20, 2017
We have now legally taken possession of Bonnevaux – or as Fr Laurence says ‘we have now become its new stewards. Like all good work, the renovation of Bonnevaux is a collaboration: we need your prayer and your contributions’. Please help us to go forward and realise the vision!
September 27, 2017
Forty years ago today John Main and I boarded a plane from London to Montreal carrying a couple of suitcases and an embarrassing number of overflowing plastic supermarket bags holding last-minute remembered clothes and commentaries on the Rule of St Benedict. On arrival and under heavy rain we were met by Bishop Len Crowley, a rare free spirit among bishops, who had invited us to establish a Benedictine priory of monks and lay people dedicated to the practice and teaching of meditation. In the ‘quiet revolution’ in Quebec he had seen a once all-powerful church diminish and recede from public acceptance and suffer a devastating loss of meaning. Prophetically – and like John Main – he could see this was not merely an era of change but a change of era. READ MORE
September 25, 2017
July 17, 2017
In April, Meditatio House in London began a monthly social evening of meditation, friendship and introducing new friends to Bonnevaux. Members of the community invite their personal friends who are interested in meditation and may also like to help realise the Bonnevaux vision. These Bonnevaux Evenings have proved very attractive and also enjoyable. They are, first of all, an opportunity to share the gift of meditation with new people – who are also happy to hear the good and feel the inspiration of Bonnevaux. “Some good news, at last!”, one guest remarked.
The evening starts with a short introduction to meditation, followed by meditation and some sharing by meditators on what the practice means to them. People then have a light supper and glass of wine which provides an opportunity to discuss meditation in general terms, responding to questions and, of course, introduce Bonnevaux, with its vision and needs, in more detail.
Fr Laurence and the Bonnevaux team encourage national and local WCCM communities as well as oblate cells to replicate this idea, sharing the gift of meditation in connection with the vision of Bonnevaux. For further information on how the evening can be set up and organised please contact Adrienne Letay
June 16, 2017
June 16, 2017
May 16, 2017
Giovanni Felicioni explains how WCCM found Bonnevaux to be its new international home and speaks of the possibility of developing three levels of silence at Bonnevaux
CARDINAL GEORGE PELL (Patron of the WCCM and Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, The Vatican)
As you know, I have for many years now felt close to and supportive of the work of the WCCM in bringing contemplation back to the heart of the church’s life of prayer and action. I particularly feel the importance of introducing the practice of Christian Meditation to children at the beginning of their life journey of faith. Thank you for sharing the vision of your proposed international new centre at Bonnevaux. It is a beautiful and inspiring place; and the sacred history of the site, with the monastic foundation there in the twelfth century, makes it for me, as I think for many others, especially attractive and spiritually significant. I feel you will be able even better to renew our great tradition there for our time, as well as build a centre of contemplation that will be welcome to all. Bonnevaux will be in my prayer and I would love to visit and pray and meditate with you there one day. I would urge all to support this brave and inspiring venture.
If you have any questions about how to support Bonnevaux please do not hesitate to contact us.
Briji Waterfield, Director of Special Projects
WCCM International Office, St Marks, Myddelton Square, London EC1R 1XX, United Kingdom
Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7278 2070