Saturday, 20 December 2008

Prinknash Abbey

Ever been to Prinknash Abbey near Gloucester ? If you haven't then a visit wouldn't disappoint you. It's a very special place where the veil between this world and the next is almost transparent. The Celts would probably describe it as a 'thin' place. My first visit occurred in October 1980. At the age of 17, as a student of a sixth form college, I was invited to attend a weekend retreat. Not knowing what a retreat was, I was more impressed by the fact there would 27 girls and three boys going and didn't hesitate to accept the invitation. The weekend became a turning point in my life and the special place Prinknash has in my heart has never left me. I came away from the weekend feeling drawn, as gravity draws and holds everything in place. Not only drawn, but, hungry to learn about the invisible 'force' that was both drawing me and holding me in place.

Over 28 years later I have learnt how special it was for one or two other people that weekend, whom I have bumped into in the oddest of places and they recalled how special Prinkash was for them. Without exception we have all returned taking groups of people we later became involved with. I took the choir I am involved with on two weekends and they too developed a special place in their heart for Prinknash. Sadly the Monastic community has diminished for a number of reasons and the retreat house, St Peter's Grange, has once again become the Monastery and the Monastery building they built in the 1970s has been sold. Have a look at their website here . If ever you get the chance to visit don't hesitate !

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