02 November 2009


For All Saints, we decided we'd do something a little different this year, and went to St Hugh's Charterhouse.

St Hugh's is a Carthusian monastery near Partridge Green in West Sussex, and as Parkminster had been recommended by several people we know as being a Mass to get to if you can, when we could, we went.

The chapel for the public is to the left of the main gate, and a wall sized grille separates the people from the sanctuary. The Mass is in Latin, it isn't overly long and gets to the point (if you get my drift) yet in no way does it feel rushed. Communion can be received kneeling (yay!) as there's a handy step by the part of the separating grille which opens and through which you receive. And I didn't feel the slightest bit uncomfortable that I had a scarf wrapped round my head (unfortunately, that's not how it feels at a *normal* parish church).

If you're ever in West Sussex on a Sunday in need of Mass, it's a lovely, quiet, prayerful experience. Wear warm clothes though, it's a bit nippy in the chapel!

La Grande Chartreuse in the French Alps is the most famous Carthusian monastery, and was the subject of the DVD Into Great Silence a couple of years ago (highly recommend seeing it if you haven't already).
I'm not a tremendous fan of Chartreuse liqueur, I think it's like drinking a soggy medicinal hay field, but the DH likes it very much, so it's all the more for him. We both agree though that Into Great Silence is one of the best adverts for monastic life we've ever seen. So here's a clip, because I like it:


Gerontius said...

Pleased you got there Annie. It is a worthwhile and different experience. I hope the gas fires were lit and your knees survived the hard floor. Three years ago the Monastery had 9 priests, 7 brothers and 9 in the novitiate - I don't know current numbers.

One dark evening, I shall sit down and watch "Into Great Silence" in its entirety. Meanwhile, I recommend Parkminster's own CD "In the Silence of the Word".

I have great respect for the Carthusians.

Annie said...

Hello! A very amazing vocation, to live almost like a hermit.

It was worth the trip, but a heck of a way, and the weather was appalling. Watching the DVD when tired is not to be recommended, it's er, a bit soporific - but in a good way :D.

I'll have to hunt out that CD.

Lagenda said...

I was at Parkminster as a postulant in 1962. The extern chapel was cold, but the main choir was freezing in winter. I don't know which rattled most, my rosary beads or my teeth.