Bevan Fawcett (C17) on his Retreat at Ampleforth Abbey
Ever since I left the school, I have thought about coming back to Ampleforth on Retreat, but this year I bit the bullet and booked myself in for a week of Monastic experience. Arriving on an autumnal day, with the school away on half term, it already felt like it was going to be a different experience to what I have been used to when coming back to SHAC.
First and foremost the accommodation in the Guest House was brilliant. It was extremely comfortable with unlimited coffee and biscuits to keep you going. I couldn’t have been more looked after and all the monks just made me feel right at home.
It was amazing to have so much one-to-one time with the monks. Some I knew well already and some I got to know for the first time. Following the rhythm of the monastic day was certainly a new experience, getting up for Matins was a challenge for the first few days but a good one. During my week at the Abbey, I ate with the monks in silence, joined the offices every day, undertook manual labour with Fr Chad, Henry, and Xavier, and had meetings with many members of the community including Fr Gabriel, Fr Richard, Fr Kieran and the Abbot. I had time for walks and managed to catch a few of the current teachers and staff over at the school when I had some free time. I made friends with my fellow retreatant, Lionel; we came at the week from completely different ages and experience, but we were good friends by the end. It was refreshing to be doing something completely away from the normal routine of life and whilst I love coming back to the school with the OACC regularly, this was a refreshing and grounding experience I wouldn’t usually have. If you’ve been toying with the idea of a retreat, just go for it, it is a brilliant experience.”