Our small Monastic Guest House has four bedrooms for up to five people and is available to members of the public, male and female, who are seeking spiritual enrichment and for men considering becoming a monk.
You will appreciate that we are not a bed and breakfast for tourism or other purposes and that there is plenty of nearby accommodation for this.
Whilst all visitors are always welcome at St Augustine’s Abbey Chilworth for day or part day visits, you will have more time to reflect and pray as well as a better feel of monastic life if you stay overnight with us for a few days.
You will be made to feel very welcome as a guest of the Abbey and you will stay in our small and very basic Guest House, which is just outside the monastic enclosure. We are a male religious order and, as such, there are restrictions on guests entering the monastic enclosure; thank you for your understanding.
Donations to help cover the costs of your stay are welcome from those who can afford to pay (typically, minimum donations of £50 per person per night are given, Gift Aided if you would like to do so). Guests normally donate at the end of their stay. Donations can be made HERE.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Men considering becoming a monk and those on retreat will have some access to join the monks whilst they pray and work. Prayer and contemplation is the absolute focus of all that we do throughout every day with a deep and fundamental love of God in everything that we do.
Nearly all guests who stay with us tell us that they are pleasantly surprised when they join the small community of monks when they have time to relax, something that isn’t normally observed when they are in church praying. We are told that we are a very down to earth and normal group of people from many different backgrounds with a great feeling of community. A sense of humour often prevails at the appropriate time.
Having said that, we follow the Rule of Saint Benedict in our daily lives and we live a monastic life, which is rightly prescriptive.
Silence is kept in the Cloister, the Abbey Church and the Refectory.
Guests are kindly asked not to enter those parts of the monastery reserved for the monastic community.
Conventual Mass is celebrated in the Abbey Church every weekday at 9am (10am on Sundays and Solemnities).
Divine Office takes place seven times daily in the Abbey Church.
Guests are normally expected to attend Conventual Mass, Vespers and Compline every day of their stay.
The monastery is locked every night after Compline at 9pm.
MEAL TIMES AND FOOD
There are three meals a day provided to guests. Some guests will be invited to eat in the Monastic Refectory. Guests are expected to eat what the monks eat and there is no menu choice as such.
Tea and coffee are freely available all of the time in the Guest House kitchen.
Breakfast is not a formal meal and is taken in the Guest House dining room.
In the Monastic Refectory, Grace is sung in Latin before and after lunch and supper. When seated, brethren and guests wait for the Abbot to unfold his napkin before duly unfolding theirs. All meals in the monastic refectory are taken in silence, except on certain Solemnities (important feast days). During lunch, a monk reads aloud from the Sacred Scriptures, the Holy Rule of St Benedict and books of popular and religious interest.
Adjacent to the Guest House kitchen is a small dining room for female guests to eat in at meal times where food will be served by one of the monks. The room is also used by those who are self catering.
If you have any dietary requirements, you are kindly asked to provide fully for these needs and you are welcome to cater for yourself if that suits you better.
GUEST HOUSE FACILITIES
The Guest House sitting room, dining room and basic kitchen can be used at all times by guests for the preparation of hot drinks, quiet reading, meditation and general relaxation. Please wash, dry, and put away any crockery and cutlery used and feel welcome to ask Guest Master for extra supplies of milk, sugar, tea, coffee, etc. if needed.
The small Guest House kitchen has a fridge with small freezer compartment, microwave combination oven, kettle and basic necessities such as milk, tea and coffee. There is cupboard space for food too. Please note that there is no cooker, grill or oven hob. Next door to the kitchen is a dining room with table and chairs. The sitting room is next door to this.
There is a single lavatory on the ground floor and a single shower on the first floor.
It is important that guests should address all questions directly to the Guest Master. This will ensure that the other brethren are not disturbed from their own monastic duties.
If you are happy to do so, members of the monastic community are addressed in conversation by their respective titles, e.g. Dom Andrew or Father John (or ‘Father’ for short). The Abbot and his deputy are addressed, and referred to, as ‘Father Abbot’ and ‘Father Prior’.
We really hope you enjoy your stay.
CLICK here to book a room – please email Dom Andrew at firstname.lastname@example.org