One hundred years ago most of the Anglican Benedictine monks of Caldey Abbey, which is situated on the small island of Caldey off the coast of Tenby in South West Wales, voted to "Cross the Tiber" and converted to the Roman Catholic Church. From that small beginning the community re-founded Prinknash Abbey which in turn (re)founded Farnborough and Pluscarden Abbey, and more recently, Kristo Buase Monastery in Ghana.
As part of the 100th anniversary celebrations, Fr Martin Birrell OSB, the guest master at Pluscarden Abbey, led fellow religious and lay oblates of Pluscarden and Prinknash Abbeys on a weekend pilgrimage to Caldey Abbey at the beginning of August. We followed the Office of the Abbey, which is now part of the Cistercian community, with Vigils starting at 3.30 AM finishing with Compline at 7.30 PM.
On Saturday afternoon we had the honour of listening to Fr Aelred Baker OSB, a renowned expert on the Caldey Conversion and who knew some of the original monks. This was followed by Fr Giles Conacher OSB who continued the unfolding journey, with many humorous accounts of life at Prinknash, to Pluscarden and the present day.
Sunday afternoon saw us having a guided tour around the original St David's Priory and surrounding area under the very knowledgeable, and dry wit, of the prior Fr Gildas Gage OSCO.
Our visit had to be shortened on Monday morning due to the tides requiring the postal ferry, which was to return us to the mainland, to rearrange its timetable.
|The Happy Pilgrims with some of our hosts|
A wonderful pilgrimage amongst fellow Benedictine lay oblates and holy religious men. It was an honour to be part of it. A notice in the vestibule of the guest house seemed to sum up our weekend:
Arrive as strangers - depart as friends
As usual more photos are available HERE