English Benedictine Congregation

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English Benedictine Congregation
AbbreviationPost-nominal letters:O.S.B.
NicknameEBC
Formation1216
Type Benedictines
Headquarters United Kingdom
Region served
UK, USA, Peru, Zimbabwe
Members
246 monastics (as of 2020)
Abbot President
Christopher Jamison, O.S.B.
Parent organization
Benedictine Confederation; Roman Catholic Church
Website www.benedictines.org.uk OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg

The English Benedictine Congregation (EBC) unites autonomous Roman Catholic Benedictine communities of monks and nuns and is technically the oldest of the nineteen congregations that are affiliated in the Benedictine Confederation.

Contents

History and administration

The EBC claims technical canonical continuity with a congregation of Benedictine abbeys in England erected by the Holy See in 1216, and which ceased to exist at the dissolution of the monasteries in 1535–1540. The actual origins of the present congregation lay with Catholic English expatriates in France, the Low Countries and Italy at the start of the 17th century, and the first monastery was founded at Douai in 1606; this is the ancestor of the present Downside Abbey. [1] English exiles also joined the Italian Cassinese Congregation, and in 1607 two of these were "aggregated" to the extinct English congregation by the last surviving member of it, Dom Sigebert Buckley. He had been a monk of the Westminster Abbey re-founded by Queen Mary I of England, but dissolved again by Queen Elizabeth I in 1550. The EBC claim of continuity depends on this deed of aggregation, rather than survival of monastic life after the Dissolution. [2]

In 2020 the EBC had houses in the United Kingdom, the United States, Peru, and Zimbabwe. The number of houses increased to 16 when three communities of nuns – Kylemore Abbey (Ireland), Mariavall Abbey (Sweden) and Jamberoo Abbey (Australia) – were accepted into the EBC at the General Chapter held in July 2022 at Buckfast Abbey. [3]

Every four years the General Chapter of the EBC elects an Abbot President from among the ruling abbots and former ruling abbots with its jurisdiction. He or she is assisted by a number of officials, and periodically undertakes a Visitation of the individual houses. The purpose of the Visitation is the preservation, strengthening and renewal of the religious life, including the laws of the Church and the Constitutions of the congregation. The President may require by Acts of Visitation, that particular points in the Rule, the Constitutions and the law of the Church be observed. [4]

The current Abbot President is Abbot Christopher Jamison, former Abbot of Worth Abbey. [5] [6]

Sexual abuse scandal

The sexual abuse scandal in the EBC around the turn of the 21st century was a significant episode in a series of Catholic sex abuse cases in the United Kingdom. The events concerned ranged from the 1960s to the 2010s, and led to a number of EBC monks being laicized, convicted and imprisoned for the sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults.

Houses

Houses of the Congregation in exile

Religious house in EuropeLocationDatesSuccessor house in England
St. Gregory's Priory, Douai Douai, France1607–1798 Downside Abbey
Dieulouard PrioryFrance1608–1798 Ampleforth Abbey
St. Malo Priory St. Malo, Brittany c.1610 – late 17th centuryn/a
St. Edmund's Priory, Paris; later St. Edmund's Abbey, Douai Paris 1615–1798 (Paris); 1818–1903 (Douai) Douai Abbey, Woolhampton
Cambrai Priory Cambrai, Flanders 1625–1794 Stanbrook Abbey
Our Lady of Good Hope Priory, ParisParis1651–1794 Colwich Abbey
Lamspringe Abbey Lamspringe, Lower Saxony1630–1803Broadway Priory, 1826–34; Fort Augustus Abbey, 1886–1998

Houses of the present Congregation

United Kingdom

Defunct

United States

Ireland

Sweden

Australia

Dependent communities

Peru
Zimbabwe

Membership

In 2020, membership of the constituent houses was as follows. [7] The table does not include the three houses added to the community in 2022.

HouseBishopsMonksProfessed NunsNovices
Downside Abbey 01500
Ampleforth Abbey 05201
Douai Abbey 02100
Stanbrook Abbey 00200
Belmont Abbey 12702
Curzon Park Abbey 0070
Colwich Abbey 0050
Ealing Abbey 01300
Buckfast Abbey 01201
Saint Anselm's Abbey 01300
Worth Abbey 02100
Portsmouth Abbey 0900
Saint Louis Abbey 02500
Total1208324

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Benedictines</span> Roman Catholic monastic order

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Buckfast Abbey</span> Church in Devon, UK

Buckfast Abbey forms part of an active Benedictine monastery at Buckfast, near Buckfastleigh, Devon, England. Buckfast first became home to an abbey in 1018. The first Benedictine abbey was followed by a Savignac abbey constructed on the site of the current abbey in 1134. The monastery was surrendered for dissolution in 1539, with the monastic buildings stripped and left as ruins, before being finally demolished. The former abbey site was used as a quarry, and later became home to a Gothic mansion house.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Downside Abbey</span> Benedictine monastery in Somerset, England

Downside Abbey is a Benedictine monastery in England and the senior community of the English Benedictine Congregation. Until 2019, the community had close links with Downside School, for the education of children aged eleven to eighteen. Both the abbey and the school are at Stratton-on-the-Fosse, between Westfield and Shepton Mallet in Somerset, South West England. In 2020, the monastic community announced that it would move away from the present monastery and seek a new place to live. On 27 October 2021, the monastic community further announced that as part of their transition they would move in Spring of 2022 to the temporary accommodation of "Southgate House, in the grounds of Buckfast Abbey, Devon, where we will live as the Community of St Gregory the Great". As of 2020, the monastic community of Downside Abbey was home to fifteen monks.

Fr. Augustine Baker OSB, also sometimes known as "Fr. Austin Baker", was a well-known Benedictine mystic and an ascetic writer. He was one of the earliest members of the English Benedictine Congregation which was newly restored to England after the Reformation.

Downside School is a co-educational Catholic independent boarding and day school for children aged 11 to 18. It is located in south-west England, in Stratton-on-the-Fosse, between Bath, Frome, Wells and Bruton, and is attached to Downside Abbey.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Worth Abbey</span>


The Abbey of Our Lady, Help of Christians, commonly known as Worth Abbey, is a community of Roman Catholic monks who follow the Rule of St Benedict near Turners Hill village, in West Sussex, England. Founded in 1933, the abbey is part of the English Benedictine Congregation. As of 2020, the monastic community had 21 monks.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kylemore Abbey</span> Benedictine monastery in Connemara, Ireland

Kylemore Abbey is a Benedictine monastery founded in 1920 on the grounds of Kylemore Castle, in Connemara, County Galway, Ireland. The abbey was founded for Benedictine Nuns who fled Belgium in World War I and since 2022 belongs to the English Benedictine Congregation. The current Mother Abbess of the Benedictine Community is Máire Hickey.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Portsmouth Abbey</span> Benedictine monastery in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, United States

Portsmouth Abbey is a Benedictine monastery in Portsmouth, on Aquidneck Island in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island, United States. The mission of the community is to seek God guided by the Gospel, the Rule of St. Benedict, and most importantly, prayer and work to sanctify themselves and their community. As of 2020, the abbey has 8 monks.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Douai Abbey</span> Church in Berkshire, United Kingdom

Douai Abbey is a Benedictine Abbey at Upper Woolhampton, near Thatcham, in the English county of Berkshire, situated within the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth. Monks from the monastery of St. Edmund's, in Douai, France, came to Woolhampton in 1903 when the community left France as a result of anti-clerical legislation. The abbey church is listed Grade II* on the National Heritage List for England.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Stanbrook Abbey</span>

Stanbrook Abbey is a Roman Catholic contemplative Benedictine women's monastery with the status of an abbey, now located at Wass, North Yorkshire, England. The community was founded in 1625 at Cambrai in Flanders, under the auspices of the English Benedictine Congregation. After being imprisoned during the French Revolution, the surviving nuns fled to England and in 1838 settled at Stanbrook, Callow End, Worcestershire, where a new abbey was built. The community left this to relocate to Wass in the North York Moors National Park in 2009; the Worcestershire property is now (2020) operated as a luxury hotel and events venue named Stanbrook Abbey Hotel.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Saint Louis Abbey</span> Benedictine monastery in Creve Coeur, Missouri

The Abbey of Saint Mary and Saint Louis is an abbey of the Catholic English Benedictine Congregation (EBC) located in Creve Coeur, in St. Louis County, Missouri in the United States. The Abbey is an important presence in the spiritual life of the Archdiocese of St. Louis. The monks of the Abbey live their faith according to the Benedictine discipline of 'prayer and work', praying the Divine Office five times daily, celebrating daily Masses in English and Latin, and working in the two parishes under their pastoral care and in the Saint Louis Priory School, which the Abbey runs as an apostolate. The Abbey and its school sit on a 150-acre (0.61 km2) campus in west St. Louis County, in the city of Creve Coeur.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lamspringe Abbey</span>

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ampleforth Abbey</span> Church in North Yorkshire, England

Ampleforth Abbey is a monastery of Benedictine monks a mile to the east of Ampleforth, North Yorkshire, England, part of the English Benedictine Congregation. It claims descent from the pre-Reformation community at Westminster Abbey through the last surviving monk from Westminster, Sigebert Buckley. As of 2020 the monastery has 53 monks.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Christopher Jamison</span>

Christopher Jamison O.S.B. is a Benedictine monk and former Abbot of Worth Abbey in West Sussex, England. He currently serves as the Abbot President of the English Benedictine Congregation.

Sigebert Buckley was a Benedictine monk in England, who is regarded by the Benedictines and by Ampleforth College in particular as representing the continuity of the community through the English Reformation.

The sexual abuse scandal in the English Benedictine Congregation was a significant episode in the series of Catholic sex abuse cases in the United Kingdom. The dates of the events covered here range from the 1960s to the 2010s.

The Monastery of Christ the Word is a priory of the English Benedictine Congregation (EBC) located in Macheke, Zimbabwe, within the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Harare. Founded in 1996, its community comprises some five monks.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Silverstream Priory</span>

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Catherine Gascoigne</span>

Catherine Gascoigne was the English abbess of Cambrai from 1624 to 1673.

Dominic Aidan Bellenger is an English historian and former Benedictine monk and schoolmaster. He was headmaster of Downside School from 1991 to 1995 and later Abbot of Downside Abbey from 2006 to 2014.

References

  1. Benedictine Yearbook 2020 p. 97
  2. Benedictine Yearbook 2020 p. 19
  3. "English Benedictine Congregation welcomes three new communities". benedictines.org.uk. July 2022. Retrieved 26 July 2022.
  4. "English Benedictine History". plantata.org.uk. Ampleforth Abbey Trustees. Retrieved 25 August 2021.
  5. Lamb, Christopher (1 August 2017). "Christopher Jamison appointed Abbot President of English Benedictines". The Tablet. London, UK. Retrieved 25 August 2021.
  6. "Abbot Christopher Jamison elected new President". benedictines.org.uk. 1 August 2017. Retrieved 25 August 2021.
  7. The Benedictine Yearbook. London: English Benedictine Congregation Trust. 2020. p. 26. ISBN   978-0-901089-58-8.