Series 2: A Benedictine Toolbox
Episode one, Abbot Robert Igo
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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.