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Try a monastic retreat experience

Opportunity next month for young single Catholic men and women to try life at Pluscarden Abbey and Greyfriars Convent

What is it like to be a religious? What do people do all day in convents and abbeys? What if I might be called to join them?

This November, young single Catholic men and women will have the opportunity to find answers to these questions in Elgin, Scotland at the Monastic Experience Retreats hosted at Pluscarden Abbey and Greyfriars Convent.

The weekend, which runs from Friday November 7 to Monday November 10, will provide the environment for young men and women to encounter Christ in personal prayer, the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass, and the Divine Office; to experience the rhythms and balance of the monastic schedule; and to live with religious, working beside them, asking questions, and enjoying recreation times with them. There will be talks on the various aspects of religious life and the chance to put into practice the principles explained in the talks, within the context of the religious community setting.

“This is a rare and unique experience,” Fr Benedict Hardy, OSB, prior and vocation director of Pluscarden Abbey, said. “Our last monastic experience retreat here was in 2007.”

While the men and women will have separate retreat

experiences with the monks and sisters respectively, there will be a time to come together for common reflection. The young women will attend High Mass and have a tour of Pluscarden Abbey Sunday morning, and the young men will tour Greyfriars and hear a talk on discernment from the Dominican Sisters (above with retreatants) in the afternoon. There will be a shared meal at Greyfriars Convent when the retreatants from both religious houses can reflect with one another on their experiences of the weekend.

“There is a good friendship between the Benedictines and Dominicans here in Elgin and we are happy to share that with those who will attend the retreats,” Sr Anna Christi, OP, superior at Greyfriars Convent, said.

The richness of the histories, traditions, and charisms of the Benedictine and Dominican Orders will form the backdrop of the weekend, enriching each participant’s own spiritual journey.

The Benedictine Order was founded in 529AD by St Benedict with the charism of prayer and work, giving rise to the Order’s motto ‘Ora et Labora.’

The monks at Pluscarden Abbey live a contemplative life balanced with manual labour on the abbey grounds, chanting in choir seven times each day the full Divine Office.

The Dominican Order was founded in 1206 by St Dominic de Guzman whose charism to contemplate and to give to others the fruits of contemplation—‘Contemplare et contemplata aliis tradere’—is lived out in a contemplative monastic framework which nurtures an active preaching apostolate.

The Dominican sisters at Greyfriars Convent are members of St Cecilia Congregation from Tennessee in the US. Their monastic life of prayer, community, and study is the foundation for their active apostolate of faith formation in Aberdeen Diocese

— For more information about the monastic experience weekends and to register, young men may access www.pluscardenabbey.org and young women may access www.dominicansisters.dioceseofaberdeen.org. There is no charge for the retreats.

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