Joining the Carthusians

This was not as straightforward as I imagined. I expected to write, receive a reply with an invitation to visit, and if both they and I were happy, to start within about 2 to 3 months. The first reply was from the Prior and can be seen below with a click.

[Picture of Prior's written reply] Click here to see Prior's written reply. After viewing pics, click on your browser's 'back' button to return here. Text says: "Before deciding about a visit here I should like to know more about your possible vocation. Would you reply to the enclosed questionnaire and then I shall tell you what I think. Because of our solitary way of life we rarely have any one to stay at the monastery. Wishing you every blessing Yours in Christ Jesus Fr. Bernard O'Donavan Prior."

The reply seems reasonable now. At the time I found it very discouraging. Instead of starting within 2 months, I was unsure that I would be even be allowed a visit within 2 months. Eventually, after 4 or 5 letters either way, I was allowed to visit for one night on 30/11/83. It is a wonderful and awe inspiring building. Solid and peaceful. It has a warmth even below 0�C and without any heating. The entrance from the country road is unimposing, but when one gets to the gates it is quite fantastic. The aerial photo referred to below does not reflect its grandeur experienced from the ground.

[Picture of Monastery] Click here to see aerial photo of Parkminster.

The entrance is bottom right of the photo and hidden by the trees. The upper left quad with all the little 'houses' around the cloister is where the fathers live. The main central building is the church. The brothers live around the quad on the other side of the church (bottom right).

The cloisters are said to be the longest monastic cloisters in the world. They are certainly long enough. Below is a link to a pic of "The Great Cloister".

[Picture of cloister] Click here to see "The Great Cloister".

A few months later I was allowed to stay for about 25 days. I was hoping at this time that I would need to wait no longer. Any case, after this I was told to forget about it for another 6 months, and then ask myself again if I wanted to enter. That, though, was the final delay. Letter went to and fro during this period and I joined on the 14/9/84. My 'main man' was called the Master because he minded the newcomers. His name is Bruno O'Sullivan, and he is the only one I have a photo of:-

[Picture of Dom Bruno] Click here to see pic of Dom Bruno.

Joining was hell. They call it being buried alive. What was the point. The point was, and is, that the Love of God is worth it. That was hard to get to grips with. It did not feel that way. Fr. Prior and Fr. Master (Dom Bruno) gave me the encouragement to stay.


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