Building work at Bonnevaux has been progressing and we are on schedule. Exterior work on the Abbaye – the main building where the community will be based – is almost complete and the interior work is starting. Work on the barn – the Conference Centre – has just begun. Both should be complete by next Easter. The stables – the guesthouse – begins in the Fall and is scheduled for the end of 2019. Necessary planning permissions – such as for the retreat ‘cells’ which are part of a later phase – have come through. We are planning for an inaugural celebration for June 15th next year. A happy surprise has been discovering vestiges of the original monastery – windows and arches – which we incorporating as signs of the long spiritual tradition of Bonnevaux we are continuing. A small vaulted area (previously used for storage) has been designated as an icon chapel and place of silent adoration.
The small resident community is meditating morning, noon and evening and welcoming guests and volunteers. Recently, meditators and new friends have come from Finland, Holland, France, Germany, UK, Ireland, USA, Australia and Canada to share the life and work. WCCM France has engaged fully with realising the Bonnevaux vision in practical ways. A number of working groups concerning legal and financial, environmental and programme planning are working together. Much daily manual work involves the organic vegetable garden. It’s a joy to see the potatoes, squash, radishes, lettuce and tomatoes and other natural food grow and grace the community table from the pure earth of Bonnevaux. Local environmental agencies have done a survey praising the unspoiled state which the property has preserved. We see ourselves as stewards of the land to help it be a sign of practical beauty and harmony between humanity and the environment.
Financially we still need your continued support – especially for the second half of Phase One, the guesthouse and heating system. We have been blessed by the generosity of many donors in the form of small and major gifts, from individuals, national communities and foundations. We have (wonderfully) come half way. But it is still a journey of faith and work in progress. So please: if you have not contributed yet will you think of doing so?
Can you also remember Bonnevaux in your will so that it will be strengthened for future generations. And if you have already helped, can you contribute a bit more, thus helping Bonnevaux realise the vision of an inclusively Christian contemplative centre growing the seed of peace and friendship in our troubled world?