Sustainability is something the community has long taken to heart, to preserve God's creation in all its glory.

As Christians, we believe that God gave human beings stewardship over creation (Genesis 1:26). As Benedictines, we try to treat everything with the same reverence as is shown to sacred altar vessels (see The Rule of St Benedict 31:10). If this holds good for things within the monastery, it extends also to God’s creation whose wonders we praise daily in the words of the Book of Psalms. So our rationale for being ‘green’ springs from our faith and our life as Benedictines.

Sr Stephen tending her rhubarb patch

‘If Christians remain faithful to the message of the resurrection and become truly Eucharistic people, they are, in society, like a forest in the middle of cultivated lands: an unlimited reserve of silence, peace and authentic life that makes possible all the good and lasting creations of history.’

In its hay day, our former monastery Stanbrook, Worcester was practically self-sufficient in vegetables and a wide variety of fruit, eggs and some dairy produce.

One of the positive drives behind the move to Wass in 2009 was the aim to get closer to the land again in a more manageable way. We now have an established orchard of apple trees boasting many different varieties. Sr Stephen has created own corner of the ‘Yorkshire Rhubarb Triangle’ which is much enjoyed! The poor soil is benefiting from the commitment to composting with winter and summer rubrics to be followed and sisters use their south facing balconies to supplement our tomato and salad crops in the summer months.

We wanted a new monastery which will consume very little energy. With this in mind the following sustainable elements were built into the design:

  • wood chip boiler
  • solar panels (to boost hot water)
  • rain water harvesting tank
  • solar shading
  • sedum roofs
  • natural materials
  • excellent thermal insulation
  • low energy light fittings
  • new ‘A’ rated appliances
  • ‘passive’ main drainage

Sedum roofs

Solar panels

Interview on the sustainable elements of new the monastery, particularly the reed beds.