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St Benedict Week

Episode 2, Mary Hirst

For our second episode of St Benedict Week, Jerome speaks to Mary Hirst, the former Discipleship and Digital Coordinator for the Lay Community (if you scroll down past the Series 4 episodes on this page, you'll find some done by Mary!)

Mary is a former student of Ampleforth College, where she first encountered Benedict. She studied Theology at The University of Durham, and is also a promised member of the Manquehue community - a Benedictine community founded in Santiago, Chile.


Mary talks about the need to be grounded in The Rule amidst the many conflicting ideas and messages in our culture, as well as the importance of Scripture and Lectio Divina. 

Episode 2 - Mary Hirst
00:00 / 28:24

6th July 2024

Episode 1, Fr Chad Boulton

For our first episode of St Benedict Week,

Jerome speaks to Fr Chad Boulton, a Catholic priest and member of the Benedictine monastery at Ampleforth in York.

Fr Chad has been a monk at Ampleforth for 32 years, before which he worked in hospital management. He is currently Guest Master, Novice Master and Oblate Master at the monastery. 

Fr Chad reflects on the need for stability and the place of The Rule in a time of crisis, and also on the needs of young people, and how Benedict can shed light on these too!

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Episode 1 - Fr Chad Boulton
00:00 / 31:50

Series 4

Episode 3, Lizzie Wakeling

April 2024

In this episode, Jerome speaks with Lizzie Wakeling, the Diocesan Youth Adviser for the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton.

Lizzie works for the Catholic Diocese of Arundel and Brighton, ministering to teenagers and young people and helping them to grow in their faith, as well as empowering those in parishes to do the same.

She discusses her faith journey and her work with young people in greater depth on the podcast, as well as the importance of the Benedictine values prayer, work and community, both for herself and for the young people she works with.

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Episode 3 - Lizzie Wakeling
00:00 / 28:28

February 2024

Episode 2, Mary Stocker

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Mary Stocker is Music and Liturgy Leader for The Lay Community of St Benedict, and works as an anaesthetist for the NHS.


Mary has been a member of the LCSB since her days as a student back in the 1980s, and since then has held numerous roles, including Assistant Leader and lead organiser of the Easter and Summer Gatherings.

In this episode, she shares her thoughts on the importance of community in the lives of lay people, her passion for bringing young people to know and experience our way of life, and much more!

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Episode 2 - Mary Stocker
00:00 / 26:06

November 2023

Episode 1,  Abbot Cuthbert Brogan

In this episode, Jerome meets with Abbot Cuthbert Brogan, the Abbot of St Michael's Abbey in Farnborough.

Abbot Cuthbert is part of the Subiaco Benedictine Congregation, and has been a monk since he was 18. He became Prior of the Abbey in 1996 and was elected Abbot in 2006.

The Abbot discusses his journey to becoming a Benedictine monk, and his thoughts on the Rule of St. Benedict.

Episode 1 - Abbot Cuthbert Brogan
00:00 / 25:23

Series 3: St Benedict Week 

St Benedict Week - 16th July 2023

Episode 4,  Fr Aidan Murray

In this episode, Mary meets with Fr Aidan Murray, a Benedictine monk of Worth Abbey. Originally from Newcastle Upon Tyne and with a background in chemistry, Fr Aidan now lives in Brighton with two other monks, Fr Gabriel and Br Anthony. They are part of a mission to share the monastic life with those in the city. He shares what their life and work look like and why he thinks St Benedict is worth celebrating. Enjoy the episode!

Episode 4 Fr Aidan Murray
00:00 / 25:48
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St Benedict Week - 14th July 2023

Episode 3,  Stuart McPherson

Stuart McPherson has been head master of Worth since 2015. Before that, he was a house master and teacher of English at Eton College, having been a teacher at Sydney Grammar School for the first ten years of his career. He is married to Johneen (head mistress of St Catherine’s School, Twickenham) and has four adult children. Stuart represents the Benedictine schools of the UK and Ireland on the Board of the International Conference of Benedictine Educators.

Episode 3 Stuart McPherson
00:00 / 29:21
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St Benedict Week - 12th July 2023

Episode 2,  Abbot Mark Barrett

In this St Benedict Week special episode, Mary chats with Abbot Mark Barrett, the abbot of Worth Abbey. Abbot Mark has been a monk at Worth since 1979 and was elected Abbot in 2021. He has worked as a teacher both in school and University contexts, and is the author of several books including Crossing: Reclaiming the Landscape of our Lives and the Bloomsury Lent book of 2020, The Wind, the Fountain, and the Fire. He shares what drew him to the monastic life and what keeps him going. He tells us what he would include in a Benedictine toolbox for the 21st Century and why he celebrates St Benedict. We hope you enjoy the episode!

Episode 2 Abbot Mark
00:00 / 40:54
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St Benedict Week - 8th July 2023

Episode 1,  Sarah Morgan 

Sarah is truly a citizen of the world. Born in New Zealand, raised in Northern Ireland until her family immigrated to Australia when she was 10. Sarah has been working in the UK for the past 5 years and hasn’t stopped travelling for a minute. She now hails in Brighton working full time as a barista serving the elixir of life. Sarah was raised Catholic and at 18 experienced the personal and profound love of Jesus that changed the course of her life. She has been involved in ministry for 10 years including 2 years serving on NET Australia and 2 years as a Forerunner - the Worth School chaplaincy team. This is when she discovered St Benedict and found a love for the Benedictine charism. She loves anything pink, being in the sunshine, swimming, reading and going to as many concerts as possible.

Episode 1 Sarah Morgan
00:00 / 20:35
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April 2023

Episode three, Sr Philippa Edwards

In this episode, Mary chats with
Sr Philippa Edwards, a Roman Catholic nun of Stanbrook Abbey. 

Sr Philippa has been part of the community since 1970 and, in April 2021, celebrated her Golden Jubilee (50 years). She grew up in Zimbabwe and moved to the UK when she was 21. After a number of different jobs and living in Rome, she shares how the Lord called her and how her circumstances and the way that the Lord had been preparing her meant that she listened. This led her to

St Benedict and to Stanbrook. 

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Episode 3 Sr PhilippaLCSB
00:00 / 39:00

Series 2

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March 2023

Episode two, Derek Gallagher

In this episode, Mary chats with Derek Gallagher, a member of the LCSB since 2016.

Derek is a Methodist local preacher and ex-police detective. He shares how the ecumenical dimension of the Lay Community supports and enriches him in his life of faith. Moreover, St Benedict's clear rules about the qualities of the guestmaster or guestmistress in the monastery has a particular pertinence in his current ministry of running a retreat centre with his wife Heather. 

Episode 2 Derek GallagherLCSB
00:00 / 33:48
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Dec 2022

Episode one, Abbot Robert Igo

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In the first episode of this series, Mary speaks to Abbot Robert Igo, the abbot of Ampleforth Abbey in North Yorkshire. 

He shares how the Lord has worked in his life and what drew him to St Benedict. With good humour, he reflects on how what he wants is often very different to what the Lord has in mind. From attending three different church services a week as a boy, to nursing, to priesthood, to Ampleforth, Zimbabwe and now Abbot of Ampleforth, his life has gone in directions he never could have imagined.

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Episode 1 Abbot Robert IgoLCSB
00:00 / 26:23

Series 1


Episode six, Janet Lees: remembered Benedict. 

In this episode, Anna speaks to Janet Lees, a writer and former School Chaplain. She owns an elderly campervan called Bambi. In 2019 she walked from Land's End to John O'Groats in 117 days, a total  of 1110 miles.


Janet and Anna discuss her discovery of St Benedict’s rule alongside her congregationalist and reformed background. We talk about reading Benedict backwards, our 'remembered Bible', and how to read the Rule in a way that makes it speak to our own place and space hundreds of years after St Benedict wrote it. You can find Janet's blog here.

S01E06, Janet Lees on Reimagining St BenedictLCSB
00:00 / 28:35
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Episode five, Fr. Stephen Ortiger: creative discomfort 


In this episode, Anna speaks to Fr Stephen Ortiger, a monk from Worth Abbey in West Sussex.


Fr Stephen speaks about his prayer life when living away from the monastery and the other monks there. He shares his experiences and journey with the spiritual practice of lectio divina, and how this contemplative posture in private prayer can have a profound impact on how we live our lives. Fr Stephen also speaks of solitude and loneliness - their differences and how one can be life-giving while the other, as St Benedict himself tells us, is ‘perilous’. 

S01E05 Fr Stephen Ortiger on Reimagining St BenedictLCSB
00:00 / 28:14


Episode four, Graeme Appleton: 'Maranatha.' 

In this episode, Anna speaks to Graeme Appleton, a father and husband who works in adult social care for his local Council.


Graeme has been a member of the Lay Community of St Benedict since the summer of 2020, and talks about how he came to discover the Community through his interest in and journey with Christian meditation. Graeme speaks about  the connection for him between listening to music as a musician and listening to the Rule, and how both for him are an opportunity for listening to learn. He shares with me the story of how he first connected to St Benedict’s Rule through meditation practises. He also talks of how he has found guidance and stability through the Rule in the context of his work in adult social care, and what the Rule might have to say about care work more generally. 

S01E04 Graeme Appleton on Reimagining St BenedictLCSB
00:00 / 25:24
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Episode three, Viv Randles: on breathing prayer and 'impractical spirituality'. 


In this episode, Anna speaks to Viv Randles -- a minister in the United Reformed Church. Viv has been a member of LCSB for 20 years, where she has been involved in organising scripture-based events and courses. 

Viv speaks of her ‘running away’ from training college to attend a four day retreat at Worth Abbey, and there falling in love with Divine Office. Anna and Viv discuss the experience of discovering this ancient rhythm of monastic prayer. Viv also talks about the advent course she is running with LCSB, looking at the apocalyptic texts of the Bible. They talk about the apocalypse as a revealing or revelation of God and God’s Kingdom, how we can engage with these often challenging scriptures, and even what St Benedict might have to say about the apocalypse.

S01E03 Viv Randles on Reimagining St BenedictLCSB
00:00 / 34:02
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Episode two, Anna Gomez: to be attentive and present. 

In this episode, Anna speaks to Anna Gomez, a third year student studying Operating Department Practise at University of Portsmouth. Anna is from Gambia and moved to the UK when she was a teenager. She was also one of the young adults who attended LCSB’s retreat at Douai in August.


Anna speaks about her newly found interest in the Rule of St Benedict, and especially what it has taught her about listening, both to herself and those around her. As a medical student, listening plays a really important role in her work, and she talks about the need to be attentive and present. Anna also shared how the culture that she grew up in shaped her ideas on hospitality and welcome. 

S01E02 Anna Gomez on Reimagining St BenedictLCSB
00:00 / 24:23
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Episode one, Aidan Hughes: a Rule is a Ruler.


In the first episode of this series, Anna speaks to Aidan Hughes, a student at Durham University just starting his third year studying theology. 

Aidan speaks to Anna about his reflections from LCSB's Reimagining St Benedict retreat at Douai Abbey in August, sharing how it inspired his thinking on Benedictine hospitality. Aidan speaks of the barriers that can prevent us from practising true hospitality in our present culture, specifically intellectual boundaries, and how St Benedict's Rule can be reimagined as offering us a wisdom that is lived, felt and enjoyed not merely on an intellectual level, but also in a way that encourages us to share our stories and experienced with others.  

S01E01 Aidan Hughes on Reimagining St BenedictLCSB
00:00 / 26:36
Goodness of life and wisdom in teaching must be the criteria for choosing the one to be made abbot or abbess.
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