Br Stephen was privileged to make his retreat this year on Papa Stronsay, a small monastery island in Orkney. This holy island is home to the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer, a group of religious priests and brothers with a Redemptorist spirituality and rule of life (they are also known as the Transalpine Redemptorists, and have a wonderful blog with regular updates). They are in the diocese of Aberdeen, and use the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, benefiting from the provisions of Pope Benedict XVI’s motu proprio Summorum Pontificum.
We are always happy to strengthen the links between Catholic communities of male religious, and it is particularly wonderful to meet such dedicated and saintly men who live and breathe the Catholic Faith with all of its traditional richness and beauty.
Papa Stronsay is a beautiful island; the monastery is surrounded by fields of livestock and is home to many native birds, with the continual backdrop of the sea, the Orkney skyline, and the various climatic elements of wind, clouds, occasional sunshine (!), and (in the summer months) very long days. It is a place of peace, beauty and charm, somewhere entirely dedicated to the service of God, the perfection of the interior life, the conversion of souls (they have a public church on Stronsay with daily Masses and devotions for the locals) and the work of building up the common life with all the necessary agricultural and construction work which this entails. Retreatants are warmly welcomed, and have access to all of the common devotions, offices and exercises undertaken by the Redemptorists, receive meals in their cells, and can take advantage of the wonderful surroundings to find some peace and quiet, in order to be still and listen to the inspirations of the Holy Ghost.
It is a truly wonderful place, and we offer our thanks and our prayers to the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer for welcoming our brother for his week’s retreat. We ask our readers and friends to pray for them, and especially for their two newly ordained priests, and for all the young men currenly in formation. “Floreant!”
We offer some photographs of the monastery island and the Chapel on Stronsay served by the Transalpine Redemptorist Fathers: