Life is busy and stressful for many of us and it is sometimes difficult to find a place of quiet stillness. The centres in this section are ones that I would recommend which offer space for quiet time for part of a day or longer, some in this country, two abroad.
St Antony's Priory, Durham
St Antony's Priory was a peaceful oasis in the heart of Durham: a wonderful ecumenical centre of spirituality, "a welcoming place where busyness and stillness meet in the presence of the spirit" when Paul Golightly was Director.
Paul and his team offered hospitality, accommodation, Spiritual Direction, Wellness Practices, Meditation and a quiet space for individuals and groups to find nourishment in a beautiful setting.
There is great sadness and loss that things have changed there as Paul and Joan Golightly were ousted from fourteen years of work at the end of August 2018 by the charity that owns the Priory S.S.M.
Lady Julian's Church, Cell and Centre, Norwich
Lady Julian's Church, Cell and Centre are found on Rouen Road, Norwich.
Lady Julian's Cell is a small, simple room with a lovely atmosphere of prayer and stillness off the small church which is on St Julian's Alley off Rouen Road in Norwich.
The Julian Centre, which Robert Llewelyn helped to found, is a welcoming, bright, comfortable centre in the garden of All Hallows Guesthouse on Rouen Road. It has a wonderful, small library with books that can be looked at in the centre or borrowed, with a good selection of books on all faiths, as well as books, cards, icons, rosaries, crosses, CDs, DVDs and other gifts to buy. A warm welcome and simple refreshments are available for visitors. It is open from 10.30am - 3.30pm Monday to Saturday. The centre website is: www.friendsofjulian.org.uk and telephone number is: 01603 767380
The Meditation Centre, Dent, Cumbria
The Meditation Centre is at the top of Dent Village, near Sedbergh in Cumbria.
It is an inspiring, beautiful centre of peace, open to all. For details of the programme at the centre: email@example.com
Medjugorje is a small village situated in the former Yugoslavia some fifteen miles south of Mostar in Bosnia-Hercegovina. In the summer of 1981, six young people between the ages of ten and sixteen saw the figure of ‘Gospa’, Croatian for Our Lady, Mary the mother of Jesus, as they walked on the hillside to collect the sheep. Since that time the six visionaries, now married with children, have continued to have visions of Gospa, some daily, and Medjugorje has become a place of pilgrimage for millions of people. It is a place of peace, prayer and encouragement as pilgrims are urged to convert their hearts, fast and pray for peace in the world. I travelled with Robert Llewelyn to Medjugorje on a pilgrimage organised by Jean Dale in 1989, and we experienced for ourselves the reality of its amazing atmosphere. Robert has written in detail in two chapters of his book, “Memories and Reflections”, about the visionaries and his experiences.
Hundreds of thousands of young people under thirty, and adults of all ages, travel to Taize each year to sing chants, pray, meditate and do manual work. In this way Taize actively seeks to provide people with the experience of peace, joy, and beauty - an inner life experience that can sustain them in daily life and encourage them to promote that peace and understanding when they return to their own communities.
No one directs the prayer. Everyone sits in silence facing the cross, icons and candles. People sing from song books giving words and music, and all the chants are in different languages and repeated over and over again, gradually penetrating the whole being. Meditative singing thus becomes a way of prayer of the heart, allowing everyone to remain in this time of prayer together. "Whoever sings prays twice" as the video, "Praying With The Songs of Taize" suggests, in beauty and simplicity, a shared common human sea of sound and harmony.
Taize was founded by Brother Roger in 1940 in the small village of the same name near Cluny in Burgundy, France, as a place of prayer and refuge for those fleeing persecution. Brothers joined him, a rule was worked out and the community grew. It remains independent and now over a hundred brothers and volunteers live by their own work, offering visitors hospitality and a place of reconciliation and renewal.