St Michael's Abbey

Monastic Education Centre Fundraising

Fundraising for St Michael's Abbey
raised of £200,000 target
by 16 supporters
Donations cannot currently be made to this page
St Michael's Abbey's Fundraising Page, 7 February 2009
St Michael's Abbey

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RCN 326241


St Michael's Abbey Church was built by the exiled Imperial Empress Eugenie to be the home of the remains of her husband, Emperor Napoleon III, and her only son, the Prince Imperial - Louis, before she herself was also laid to rest in the crypt.  Built in a magnificent French Neo-Gothic architectural style the building is a feast for the eyes.  

The adjoining monastery of St Michael was built in order to accommodate a religious order to pray for the souls of these people and share the Catholic Faith in England.  Thus, monks of the ancient Benedictine monastic order, begun in around the year 520AD by St Benedict, were invited here in the late 1800's from the great French monastery at Solesmes.

As a Catholic monastery, the Abbey has frequent visits from other Catholics from a plethora of different cultures and locations including Spanish speaking Catholics from Paraguay and Chile; Arabic speaking Catholics from Egypt and Lebanon; Polish, Slovakian and Russian speaking Catholics from Eastern Europe; French, German and Italian speaking Western European Catholics;  English speaking Catholics from North America and Australasia; and even Chinese Catholics from the Far East.  This melting pot of different cultures and languages feeds into the life of the monastic community most strongly during the summer months and adds to that wide catholic view of life.

Bringing with it, over 1500 years worth of monastic culture and experience, the small community has lived at this Abbey for over 120 years living a traditional life of prayer, work, and study in the hidden service of God and the country.

The beautiful and powerful liturgical tradition of the Benedictine order and particularly of this community's original mother house of Solesmes, means that visitors to the Abbey can also experience the beauty of the ancient Roman Liturgy in both the Extraordinary and Ordinary forms of the Liturgical Rite, together with the ancient monastic office sung in Latin to Gregorian Chant melody 7 times per day and once in the middle of the night. 

In the service of the Divine Liturgy, the Abbey Church is also home to one of the finest organs in the world, built in the 19th Century by Cavaille-Col (perhaps the worlds best organ builder), the organ is played by internationally renowned organists from around the world and free concerts are offered during the summer months.  The contemplative and devotional dimension of the monastic culture is also nourished by the largest relics in the British Isles of England's very first Christian martyr - St Alban, who died in c. 251.  In addition to this, the Abbey Church is also the home of the National Shrine to St Joseph in the South Transept where it is sincerely hoped that devotion to this great saint can be fostered and nurtured.

In addition to this contemplative and prayerful focus of the monastic life, the monks also have a strong tradition of manual labour, and so operate a livestock farm including rare-breed poultry, rare-breed cows, and pigs; run an apiary producing their own honey and wax candles, have an orchard producing homemade cider, and manage the extensive estate of woodland and open fields. 

To further the monastic focus of study, the Abbey is the home to the Catholic National Library in addition to it's own house library and in total, houses over 100,000 books, many of which are very old and rare.  Of course the fragility of these books is not a problem, because the monks also operate a commercial bookbindery to repair any suffering tomes! 

The monastic hunger for arts & crafts is also continued by the community in the production of handmade rosaries and the hand-painting and water-gilding of many icons and other religious paintings.

With such a wealth of philosophical, theological, cultural, linguistic, musical, academic, artistic and practical gifts to offer, the community at St Michael's Abbey would like to build an Education and Culture centre that can serve as an appropriate venue to share this myriad of different resources.  It is hoped that the centre could offer:

* liturgical seminars to further the understanding & practice of the Divine Liturgy,
* catechetical classes to teach people of the history and riches of the Catholic Faith in a world today so bereft of clarity, stability and truth
* a venue for pilgrimage groups wishing to venerate the substantial relics of St Alban, and foster devotion for St Joseph at the Catholic National Shrine
* facilities to school groups wishing to see the wildlife and farm-life at the Abbey
* courses teaching monastic crafts such as bookbinding, & rosary making
* classes teaching and demonstrating the art of beekeeping
* classes explaining the Napoleonic history of the area
* workshops demonstrating the skills necessary to paint and gild icons and other artwork
* facilities to complement the organ concerts by the internationally renowned artists
* facilities to offer to more academic visitors to the Catholic National Library resident here

The monastic community here is small but full of energy.  We have so much to share and are willing to open up our home in order to do so, but without financial support to put into place an infrastructure and centre to offer appropriate hospitality and resources, we cannot share this with the local and national community around us.

Whatever you can afford to give is much appreciated by both us and God.


About the charity

St Michael's Abbey

Verified by JustGiving

RCN 326241
A contemplative Catholic monastery of the Benedictine Order. The monks live the Benedictine life in its classic form. At the heart of its life is the solemn celebration of the liturgy, sung in Latin to Gregorian Chant. The Farnborough monks operate a farm, apiary, bookbindery, publishing house, & traditional hospitality.

Donation summary

Total raised
+ £284.87 Gift Aid
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