Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding.

I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop...
It was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.


Friday, 7 December 2012

Oxford Benedictine Oblates


Last night I attended the first meeting of the Oxford Benedictine Oblates group.


St Benedict and St Scholastica
Pray for us

This is an initiative organised by Fr Richard Duffield, Cong.Orat., who has ties to Ampleforth Abbey, to draw together anyone in the area interested in Benedictine sprituality, with or without oblation to a specific abbey. When we met we found we had links, either formal or informal, to Ampleforth, Douai, Downside, Belmont, Prinknash and Buckfast as well as the recently established foundation at Norcia.

The meeting, scheduled as weekly, begin with a period of recreation and hospitality, then the reading of the day's Chapter from the Rule of St Benedict with a commentary before moving into the Oratory church for lectio divina of one's choice, and then the singing of the monastic form of Compline, the anthem to Our Lady and sprinkling before departing into our own Great Silence.

On the basis of yesterday evening this looks to be a promising group and one which I felt offered a spiritual path worth further exploration. My own experience of Benedictine life is mainly from Belmont and the retreat at Quarr last July, but I have also visited Ampleforth, Buckfast and Prinknash. As I mentioned recently in a post I have been, over twenty years ago, on a retreat led by Esther de Waal on adapting the Benedctine Rule and life to lay conditions.

The meetings begin at 8pm in the Oxford Ortaory and are scheduled last for about an hour and a half.

Fr Richard has set up a website/blog which can be viewed at Oxford Benedictine Oblates. 

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