What a sad day for the OlivetanBenedictine parish of Cockfosters and especially considering the legacy of Dom Constantine Bosschaerts. His vision for renewal in the church alongside Angelo Roncalli, whom he served as secretary whilst Roncalli was nuncio in Bulgaria, were the inspiration leading towards the second Vatican Council. Church Unity, Church art and Liturgy were at the heart of his vision.
Perhaps Dom Constantine is aware of the work of the Holy Spirit at work in the church at the moment. St Ignatius of Loyola said “if the Jesuits were to be suppressed it would take me 20 minutes to get over it.” I hope the Olivetan Benedictines are not too downcast over the loss of this parish founded by such a visionary as Bosschaerts.
Dom Constantine founded the Parish of Christ the King in 1936 at Cockfosters. One of his confreres Dom Placid Meylink (1926 – 2003) appears to embody Dom Constantine’s vision. After the Second Vatican Council opened the Roman Catholic Church to modernity, Meylink with his fellow Cockfosters monks and nuns toured Britain with innovative exhibitions communicating the exciting and radical new thought spreading through the Church.
Later ecclesiastical revisionism frustrated him but, with his Dutch determination and tenacity, rarely deflected him. The monastery guesthouse, the Benedictine Centre for Spirituality, a Christian Meditation Centre and in 1995 a new monastery building were the enduring fruits of his prime years.
Meylinks ideas continued to develop. For 10 years he served on the guiding board of the World Community for Christian Meditation which teaches contemplative prayer worldwide in the Christian tradition. Meylink saw in this movement a complement to Abbot Constantine's emphasis on liturgy as a way to Christian unity.
Unity remained his keynote, but increasingly he recognised it as a unity stretching across all religions and cultures that needed a contemplative foundation.
Turvey Abbey continues Bosschaerts legacy as a place of liturgy and spirituality in the service of Christian unity between churches of the East and West.
Australian Sojourn – March 2015
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