In line with current government advice, we are keeping our lodges closed until 3 July. For bookings after 4 July, please contact Sr Laurentia at Tel: 01347 868931 Shielding requirements at the abbey mean that, sadly, church, parlours and bookshop have to remain closed until further notice. The bookshop is still operating a mail order service and Sr Benedicta would be delighted to hear from you: Tel: 01347 868927 We await instructions from the diocese about when we might re-open the church for visitors but again shielding will have to be factored into any decisions made. Meanwhile, please be assured of our prayers at this testing time and please do continue to send prayer requests via or the Prayer Page of the website. The telephone is checked frequently so do leave a message if you wish to get in touch or need to speak with someone.

Reflection on Our Lady of Consolation by M. Abbess

Today, 5 July, is our patronal feast - Our Lady of Consolation. For us at Stanbrook it is a solemnity and we celebrate it a such, even when, as this year, the feast falls on a Sunday. Our Lady of Consolation was not a title of Mary I was familiar with before I entered, but now I hold this aspect of our Lord's mother very dear, as do all the community.

Our motto is, as many will know, is Consolamini, Consolamini, 'Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people' (in the wonderful translation used by Handel in The Messiah). These are the first words of Isaiah 40, which opens what scripture scholars call 'The Book of Consolation', where a new Isaiah (Deutero-Isaiah) takes up where the first Isaiah leaves off, to give comfort and hope to the Jewish exiles in Babylon.  In the C.17th our nuns were known as the 'Dames of Comfort'. Nowadays, this sounds quaint, but at the time it reflected not just the name of our community, but also something of our work and service in the Church. Benedictine monks, and many others, were working for the faith in Anglican England, which was then persecuting Catholics. Missioners were sustained and encouraged, and perhaps even protected, by our prayer (and by that of many others as well, of course). We looked then, and still do, to Our Lady who, we see in the Gospel, pondered the mystery of Christ in her heart, and, through her love of her Son, always saw where there was need, and sought to answer that need. At the wedding at Cana - the gospel we use at Mass - she noticed there was not enough wine and asked her Son to provide, which he did with extraordinary abundance. Present at the foot of the Cross, despite her own agony, she welcomed the Beloved Disciple into her heart, and so she became Mother of the Church. In the time of prayer and retreat before Pentecost, she was there in the upper room with the disciples. Was she praying like them to be ready for the coming of the Spirit or was she praying for them that they be ready to receive the great gift? Probably both.

Her presence and her action are discreet, but always effective, often powerfully so.

Some monks once expressed concern that newcomers to the monastery often had no devotion to or even knowledge of Our Lady. A wise senior observed, to the monks� relief, that they need not worry. Perhaps young people do enter with little apparent love of Our Lady, but that love will always grow in monastic life. The life makes this inevitable. Hardships come, crises develop, loneliness emerges, but somehow the monk or nun gets through, discovering over time that Our Lady had been there throughout, supporting, encouraging, enabling. And even for those candidates who leave, Our Lady will have been there, perhaps in their case helping them discern a different way forward, one more suitable and life-giving for them.

Obviously, it is not only monks and nuns who are helped my Our Lady. Adapt what you read here about monks and nuns into the circumstances of your own life and will find Our Lady there. She is Mother of us all.

The Hail Mary is a lovely prayer: a beautiful reflection on the Annunciation and the Visitation first and then a simple direct petition, that Our Lady be with us now and at the hour of our death. It�s the NOW part that always strikes me. Our Lady is with us now, as she was when present to those in need in the gospels � praying for us, helping us, enabling us, encouraging us.

All this is contained in Mary's title Our Lady of Consolation and is why we at Stanbrook venerate her as our patron. Be assured of our prayers - for your needs and intentions, on this day especially, and beyond.

Sr Anna


Saints Peter and Paul 2020: Reflection








News & Photo Archive

Summer News

27 June 2019, Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Sr Marian Sweeting-Hempsall made her Solemn Profession of Vows and thus became a full member of the Stanbrook community. 

17 July, on the completion of Dame Andrea Savage's 12-year term of office, Dame Anna Brennan was elected the new abbess of our monastery. 

19 July, we celebrated the Requiem Mass of Dame Agatha Backhouse (1937-2019) who had died peacefully at Apley Grange, Harrogate, on 12 July. R. I. P.

News of a collaborative venture between our own Sr Philippa and Mirfield's Fr Nicolas Stebbing. 

These two veteran monastics share their vast experience of monastic life in a way that should be helpful to all Christians. 'Making space for God: an invitation', published by Mirfield. ISBN 978-0-902834-48-9. �6.50. Available via Stanbrook Abbey bookshop: A poem of D. Laurentia's, 'Mary Reflects', formed part of the programme of 'Carols from King's' on BBC 2 on Christmas Eve 2018. 

Links below: 

The video download (just as an fyi): 

The pdf of the booklet:

Photographs of Stanbrook.

Aerial footage of Stanbrook Abbey
Made by students of the Kent School of Architecture

The monastery won a national RIBA award in June 2016.

In November 2016 we were awarded the Presidents' Award for new church buildings.

The abbey church has also won an award from the Wood Trust for 'excellence in architecture and product design in the world's only sustainable material.'

For an article about Stanbrook in the Yorkshire Post April 2016, please click on the link below:


Deo Gratias! The abbey church was duly and solemnly dedicated by the Right Revd Terence Patrick Drainey, Bishop of Middlesbrough, to much rejoicing.
For a full photographic record, please click here


The inaugural Mass in the new Abbey Church took place on Sunday 26 April 2015, thanks be to God and thanks to all our kind benefactors.
Read more by clicking here

 Right: Choir of the new Abbey Church (still incomplete)
Below: Inaugural Mass: the Gospel is proclaimed at the ambo

 Archive: The project since the start of the build:

Click here for Blessing of the East Wing site 6 February 2014
Deo gratias, building work began February 2014
Click here for March 2014 update

Work in progress, Spring 2015

Inside the Blessed Sacrament Chapel

March 2015
Much activity inside the church which it is
hoped will be finished by the end of April.
So one more Easter in the Chapter House...

August 2015, the new chairs for guests arrive! Many of these have been sponsored by kind benefactors.

West-facing view of the church

East-facing view of the church