20 August 2015
Monastic Consecrations at Silverstream
I wrote a little while ago about the Extraordinary Chapter of the English Benedictine Congregation, called to discuss the serious decline in the number of novices in their monasteries. Readers may recall that one of the suggestions put forward by younger monks was that "the usus antiquior should be de-stigmatized". I read today of some evidence that this really works. Silverstream Priory was formed five or six years ago in County Meath in Ireland by an American Benedictine, Fr Mark Kirby. He did this entirely on his own, with no help, except from his dog. Now we read that there are four fully professed monks, including Fr Kirby, at Silverstream, with the prospect of more novices likely to join. Now, what is so special about Silverstream Priory, for it to be growing so quickly? One answer is that there is no stigma attached to the usus antiquior there. It could be that the younger monks of the English Benedictine Congregation have put their fingers on exactly what is required for the rejuvenation of their monasteries.