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or carr ying out other tasks necessary for
the hospitality of guests and the upkeep
of the Abbey. The work mornings
are linked together with the pr aying
of Terce at 11am. Then back to work
until Middle Hour pr ayer and lunch
(their main meal).
There is a time
for rest or leisure
befor e None at
more work until
time, and finally
Compline at 7pm,
befor e night silence
Maureen Therese, says the
way of life reflects an intense
desire for God.
"Because from the time you open your
eyes in the mor ning until the time you
go to sleep, your whole being is focused
on God," she says. "That's what you
want most of all.
"Our Abbess, Mother Mary Bar nes, says
that pr ayer is simply desire. And I think
that's a good way of describing our life
here. It's intense desire for God, and
that reaches out to people in the world,
all religions , all types of people."
While their pr ayer reaches out to the
world, the Benedictine
Abbey at Jamberoo is
an enclosed monastic
means that the
nuns don't leave
occa sions, or for
as buying supplies
for the community
or attending medical
They live by the vows of Obedience,
Stability and Conver sion of Life.
Sr Therese says Obedience, while
at one level, means living under the
authority of the Abbess , who "takes
the place of Christ" in the community, it
also has deeper implications.
"The way of my under standing and
living, Obedience is listening to what
God is inviting me to at each moment
and responding to that," she says. "It's
not a ser vile, 'do this, don't do that'
sor t of Obedience for me, but the
incorpor ation of living Gospel values
authentically. It involves things like
chastity, pover ty and so on, but really,
it's living of the Gospel values, and
For Sr Maureen Therese, the joys and
challenges of community life reflect the
joys and challenges of all the world.
"What I always remember when I look
around the community is that every
single per son in the community reflects
someone out in the world. We have
the whole world in the community in
the per sonalities, the characteristics,
the difficulties, the good things, the bad
things, the challenges. So, it is ver y real.
It's not at all airy fairy. It's about being
together and suppor ting one another
no matter how difficult it can be
sometimes. We all came here for God.
And that's a ver y strong, deep bond."
"OUR WORK IS TO
FOR THE WORL
Pope Francis announced that 2015
will be a year dedicated to the promotion
of consecrated life, and is asking the
church's religious sister s, brother s and
priests to "wake up the world" with their
testimony of faith, holiness and hope.
When visitors enter the Jamberoo
Abbey church, the fir st thing to strike
them is the stunning backdrop of full
length glass windows behind the altar
and taber nacle, bringing the beauty of
God's creation right into the hear t of
the church and allowing all who wor ship
ther e to tur n their pr ayer outward, for
The impact of the windows is no
accident, according to the Abbey's guest
mistress, Sr Therese, but is an integr al
par t of the church's original design.
"We ar e Benedictines and our work
is to pray, so we pray for the world,"
she says .
"The glass windows are a symbol of our
pr ayer going out to the world and of
the world coming to us, so we're very
connected with ever y thing that's going
on out there. I try to assure our guests
that even when they go home they can
know that we are here pr aying for them
and then I ask them to pr ay for us."
Sr Therese says the life of The Abbey
is ordered towards one goal -- seeking
God -- and the whole str ucture of
the day is focused on that seeking,
both individually and together as
"Our life is seeking God, with the Gospel
as our guide and using the Rule of
Benedict as our way of living the Gospel,
with the underpinning of the vows,"
she says .
In accordance with the Rule of St
Benedict, there is a great focus on
balance in daily life, with a schedule
designed to provide time for pr ayer,
work, leisure /community and rest.
The Sister s rise in the pre-dawn dark,
and make their way to the candle-lit
church for Matins at 4.30am, the fir st
of seven periods of liturgical pr ayer
each day. They then have two hour s
for personal Lectio Divina/holy reading
before Lauds and Eucharist. The rest of
the mor ning is spent at work -- either
making candles for sale, working on the
far m, giving spiritual direction, retreats,
We have to
for each other,
Christ for others,
Christ for the
The stunning backdrop of full length glass in the Jambaroo Abbey church.
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