The Sisters at Lanherne

Lanherne

Lanherne is such a special place and everyone who visits it says they find great peace and a facility to pray there. There is adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament every day of the week after the 7.30 a.m. Holy Mass (10 a.m. on Sundays), ending with Benediction each day. You may be interested to know that the Sanctuary light before the Blessed Sacrament has remained alight for hundreds of years. Lanherne used to be the Manor House of the Arundell family who rose to high positions in the country, only to be reduced to gradual impoverishment during the times of the Reformation, due to their love of the Catholic faith. Lanherne became a place of refuge for many priests during this time of persecution and there are said to be nine priest holes in which they hid from their persecutors. Tradition relates that one priest was hidden in one of these for eighteen months. St. Cuthbert Mayne often used to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass here (using the altar which is now in our small choir) and ministered to the Faithful here. He was martyred on 29th November 1577, for the simple reason that he was a Catholic priest.


The Sisters 

The contemplative community at Lanherne numbers eleven sisters at present. Some people may perhaps ask “but what do they do all day?” It is a very good question. Their principal duty is to support the Holy Father in his difficult mission and to pray for the Church and for the whole world, with the hope of bringing all humanity closer to the love of God; this occupies at least seven hours of community prayer each day. This means that all the sisters come together in the choir and there pray to Almighty God for so many needs of the world today. They have left the world, it is true, but the world is what they pray and sacrifice for, since there are many who are walking in darkness, especially in these days where there is so much indifference with regard to God. Some people go through their whole life without giving a thought to their Creator or questioning the meaning of their life. That is why there is so much unhappiness and dissatisfaction today - because people do not know that they were created to love and serve God in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next. The sisters have responded to the call of God and in sacrificing their lives, they hope to draw many others closer to Him.

The following will give you an idea as to how the Sisters spend their days:

At midnight they rise to praise the Lord by singing Matins and Lauds, the first two offices of the day. After this they rest again until 5.45 when they rise to praise Our Lord with the next two offices of Prime and Terce. There is also a period of meditation in preparation for Holy Mass at 7.30 am, celebrated in the Tridentine Rite. There is exposition of the Blessed Sacrament each day after Holy Mass and all the Sisters have turns of Adoration. This ends at 3.10 with benediction. Their whole day will be spent in prayer, meditation and work. The last time they come together each day in the choir is at 8.35 pm for Compline and lights out are at 9.30 pm. The Sisters have recreation once a week and this is usually on Sunday afternoon.

Each of the sisters also has her own daily duties to fulfill and there is quite a lot to keep them busy in a monastery the size of Lanherne. Apart from the usual domestic chores, one of the sisters is book-binding, another is busy growing vegetables: one sister translates a magazine aimed at the Contemplative Life from Italian into English each month, another prints and distributes it, one sister is the sacristan of the monastery and she prepares the choir and church for the various liturgical celebrations: each Saturday, another sister prepares the flowers for the Church and for the monastery itself.

10 comments:

  1. What a worthy cause. Surely we must try to keep this building in Catholic hands.

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  2. I hear the monastery has now been closed. Does anyone know if it has been sold and who to?

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    1. Not at all. Things are developing however and news will be posted when appropriate.

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  3. Somethings up no blog posts since Ist Sunday of Lent

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    1. I hope there is nothing wrong, and that the Sisters are still at Lanherne and having Mass each day with Fr. Roth. Can anyone confirm this?

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    2. Hi Alan, it's fine, they have a different chaplain now but life goes on. Fr Roth I understand is now at Gosport.

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  4. The nuns changed to being Carmelite (Lanherne is the oldest Carmel in England after all) and they have a new chaplain from the USA who is now permanently in the Diocese of Plymouth. His name is Fr Anthony (Tony) Pillari and he can be contacted on 01637 860177. He is 41 yrs old and is multi-lingual: he speaks French, Spanish, Italian and Japanese. The Carmelite Rite will be started up from Christmas Eve onwards. Masses continue to be at 7.30am on weekdays and then at 10am on Sundays, with refreshments in St Joseph's Hall afterwards. Benediction is on Thursday evenings. And confessions are on Saturday mornings, after morning Mass, and on Sunday before Mass and at call.

    Fr George Roth has joined the other Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate in Gosport. His address is Mary House, 32 High Street, Gosport, Hampshire, PO12 1DF.

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  5. I have recently returned from spending New Year at Lanherne. I last spoke to Fr Anthony Pillari, the Chaplain, on Monday 2nd January. He informed me that from Sunday 29th January 2017 Sunday Masses at Lanherne Convent will be at 7.30am (not 10am any more), just as the weekday Masses are at 7.30am. There will be Confessions before the Sunday 7.30am Mass (for those who can make it!) and refreshments at St Joseph's Hall after that Mass. Confessions also take place after the Saturday morning Mass, and during Exposition on Thursday evenings from 6.15pm until 7.15pm, after which there is Benediction from 7.15pm until 7.30pm. Confessions are also at call.

    The Carmelite Rite is now used everyday at Lanherne Carmelite Convent and Mass booklets are provided for everyone.

    The other bit of good news is that Fr Anthony Pillari has been asked by Bishop O'Toole to be the Chaplain to all those seeking the Traditional Latin Mass (i.e. the Extraordinary Form of the Mass) in the Diocese of Plymouth, and has also asked Fr Pillari to say the Traditional Latin Mass every Sunday at 11.30am at St Edward the Confessor Church, Home Park Avenue, Peverell, Plymouth PL3 4PG. It is the parish of Fr Bernard Hahesy. Telephone number for that parish is 01752 665406.

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    1. Dear Sara,
      Are you able to expand a little on the above? The FSI Sisters have now become Carmelite Sisters, or Carmelites have taken over from the FSI?
      Are guests able to stay at the Convent?
      Thank you!
      Julia

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    2. The FI nuns became Carmelites - well, about 8 out of 10 of them. Something like 2 went and 2 new nuns came but the majority changed from one order to another. Because of what was happening to the order of the Franciscans of the Immaculate thanks to Pope Francis' intervention, the nuns had to leave that order if they wanted to preserve using the Extraordinary Form.

      As for guests being able to stay in the Convent, at present only the odd priest has been able to stay there on his retreat. A lot of work is needed to be done to the rooms as there is bare, crumbling plaster in the priest's quarters. I know that they do plan to do it up and have people stay but I am not sure whether that will include laity. However, there is the Falcon Inn directly opposite the Convent should you want to stay close by.

      Do phone Fr Pillari should you want more information. He is away until the end of June (with other priests saying Mass for the nuns and parishioners at the moment) as he will be able to give you more details.

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