Ampleforth Abbey

14 December 2017

Farewell to a visiting monk

At the end of March, the Community said goodbye to Br Mateo Aranda, a monk of Las Condes Abbey (Santiago), who spent six months with us to practise his English. During his time here, Br Mateo worked in the monastery library, sacristy and Hospitality department. He also revitalised our book-binding workshop, using his impressive creative talents to produce beautiful new bindings for liturgical and other books, and passing on his skills to the novices and juniors.

Despite keeping busy, Mateo says one of the best things about his time here was having more time to pray than he normally has back in Chile, where he has considerable responsibilities, including fulfilling the role of Junior Master. He has also appreciated the chance to visit some of the ancient monastic sites of Yorkshire (such as Rievaulx Abbey) and further afield (such as Holy Island). Mateo says that praying in Westminster Cathedral and next to the cell of St Thomas More in the Tower of London were particular highlights for him.

Br Mateo has now gone on to a monastery in Italy to develop his book-binding and book restoration skills further. He looks forward to returning to his community in Chile and the ‘rhythms’ of his own monastery but says that, in the meantime, he is enjoying these opportunities to improve his confidence and skills. “I’m ready to receive all the good things God wants to give me.” Meanwhile, we are grateful for the gift of Mateo’s presence in the last six months. Like his confrère, Br Beda Estrada – who spent a year with us in 2014-2015 – he will be missed. We wish him all the best for the future.