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2009 heralds new eco-convent for Benedictine nuns

December 12, 2008:

An artist's impression of the front of the new eco-convent. Photograph: SWNS.COM

An article by Rizaz Butt published in The Guardian on 1 December gives details of a new eco-convent which will open in 2009. The eco-monastery will enable the Benedictine Nuns of the Conventus of Our Lady of Consolation to fulfill their wish to live in harmony with the earth. Link here for the full article in The Guardian.

The nuns will leave the prestigous surroundings of Stanbrook Abbey deep in the countryside of Worcestershire, and move to a monastery which is equipped for eco-living. The nuns will be able to make use of rainwater harvesting, reedbed sewage systems, sedum roofs, recycled material, a woodchip boiler and responsibly-sourced timber.

The eco-convent is being built in a National Park in the North York Moors, and the spirit of the project is in harmony with the location. The environmental damage caused through energy useage was a concern for the nuns. Dame Andrea Savage, Abbess at Stanbrook Abbey said, "We're running a big building, spending thousands of pounds that we don't have on looking after the place and heating it with oil and gas, which isn't good for the environment. We're here for the monastic life and it is being impinged on". The Abbess added, "We are supposed to love creation and respect the environment we're living in and taking care of it."

The nuns' ambition to live in an ecological manner inspired the architects, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, to design the new eco-monastery. The nuns wanted an ecologically sensitive environment and stressed that the convent for women should "contain some natural curved surfaces and shapes". The nuns will have broadband available in up to 30 of the bedrooms. As well as a church and library, there will be a retreat for 15 guests; in keeping with the Benedictine tradition for hospitality.

Benedictine nun, Sister Maria has packed away boxes of books in preparation for the move in 2009. Photograph: SWNS.COM
"[The nuns] were very specific about wanting a sense of space and tranquillity. They also wanted to trade down and live in something that was manageable, comfortable and suitable for the 21st century," commented Gill Smith, of Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios. She added, "These clients are naturally parsimonious, they're not into buying and consuming like we are and they have a great respect for the natural environment. It's been a privilege working with them. They're so charming and they're quite good fun. ... It's quite a creative relationship."


*** Link here for the full story in The Guardian.

***Link here for the Church of England's

***Link here for news of Operation Noah's Campaign for Christians to Reclaim Christmas and details of Father Jamison's talk on Christianity and Climate Change.

***Link here to read other Christian eco-news articles.

***Link here to read the latest Catholic Schools Eco Newsletter.

*** Link here for an Advent Liturgy created by ARC for an advent service at St George's Chapel at Windsor, and adapt it freely for your own use and needs.

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