Gentle signs of new life in Bonnevaux


By Rebecca Brewin

It has been all go at Bonnevaux since the end of last week; Andrew and Delyth preparing for their month working in Wales, architects surveying the Abbaye and plumbers and electricians arriving to install facilities into ‘la ferme’ and stables (buildings that will eventually be renovated into the meditation retreat centre). This has entailed lots of careful professional attention as the building has not been touched for 35 years; they’ve done an amazing job on top of the dedicated help of community member David Simpson. And such a treat to now have heating and running water.

Meanwhile a small group of us (including John Manson who lives locally and members of the meditation group in Poitiers) has been working to support Jean Christoffe and his team of men to empty the Abbaye of all furniture, kitchenware etc. It’s been fun uncovering some curiosities from the old cupboards, such as a box of Parisien ‘sugar sticks’ for stirring into coffee, beautifully preserved with a receipt dated 1971! And cleaning up the farmhouse, re-constructing beds, putting the ‘cuisine’ together with a new stove and washing machine, all in preparation to welcome more visitors and volunteers…

Most importantly signs of new life silently push through the damp earth, the resident white egret stalks silently through the grass, and lifts its migrated angelic wings to the high nearly-budding trees. And the ancient bread oven continues to warm the heart of the Abbaye kitchen as our daily rhythm of meditation gently pulses through the bustle.

Bonnevaux February 2018


We’ve had a hugely generous response to our request for volunteers. Thank you to everyone who has expressed their help, sent their details and patiently waited a response. Most applications are for the Spring / Summer so, to spread the volunteer help through the year, we would be interested in hearing from people able help during the Autumn and Winter months. We will be looking over all the applications and getting in touch by the end of February.

Would you like to be a volunteer?

See more information here and apply here.