The Rule of St Benedict says that monasteries are "never without guests" and "All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ, for he himself will say: 'I was a stranger and you welcomed me'". The Benedictine tradition of hospitality is at the heart of every community and continues at Ampleforth today as one of the major works of the monastic community.
All visitors and guests are welcome to join in the prayer and services in the Abbey Church. Throughout the year, the monks run a number of residential courses and retreats, with over 45 places for overnight guests in single and double rooms, as well as dormitory accommodation for school groups. Quite apart from a large number of day visitors, last year we had over 7,000 overnight adult guests, and about the same number of school children.
Some come individually for some time of prayerful recollection, but others come as groups to escape their daily routines, and refresh themselves spiritually, sometimes with their own resources, but often taking advantage of courses and themes that the monks offer. These include Catechists’ courses, retreats for those are bereaved, for people who want to make Advent preparation, and so on. They even include such unusual events as ‘wine and scripture’ retreats and ‘beach walking’ pilgrimages. At Easter over 300 spend the weekend with us from Thursday to Monday to take part in the unique and spectacular liturgies, and to attend the talks and courses available at this special time.
For more of what is on offer, have a look at our Hospitality website, www.ampleforth-hpo.org.uk.