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Ryde, Isle of Wight: Saint Cecilia’s Abbey

About Saint Cecilia’s Abbey:

Founded in 1882, St Cecilia’s Abbey belongs to the Benedictine Order, part of the family of houses connected to the famous Abbey of Solesmes, France. The nuns live a traditional monastic life of prayer, work and study in accordance with the ancient Rule of St Benedict. At the heart of their life is the praise of God, expressed through the solemn celebration of the sacred liturgy.

The Sisters maintain ‘the truth of the hours,” singing the Church’s Liturgy of the Hours at the same times which have been kept by the monastic orders since ancient times. For example, the “little hours” (Terce, Sect and None), ‘sanctify the day and are a powerful help in “the return to God” that we make throughout the day,’ according to Sister Mary David.

Ceremony, a strong family spirit and pure contemplation are characteristic of the Solesmes Congregation, founded in 1832 by Dom Prosper Guéranger. For almost two hundred years, Solesmes and its daughter houses have worked to preserve what is called ‘plainchant’ in England and ‘Gregorian chant’ elsewhere.

Visitors are encouraged to attend Mass and to share in the various services of the Divine Office. These services provide the structure of the Benedictine day, and at St Cecilia’s are sung in Latin in Gregorian Chant, the Church’s most ancient music. Office books, with English translations, are provided for those who would like them.

Visitors are also welcome to browse in our small gift shop.

Mass is at 9.30am during the week, and at 10.00am on Sundays and Solemnities.


Retreats: The Garth, adjacent to the monastery, offers self-catering accommodation to those seeking prayer, silence and reflection with God. Retreatants attend daily Mass, and share in the hours of the Divine Office, for example Vespers or Compline. They can pray in the Church or at the Garth, where there is also a library offering a range of books for lectio divina. After a preliminary visit, young women who desire to seek God in Benedictine monastic life may apply to spend some time inside the enclosure.

Retreat enquiries and bookings by email or letter to the Guest Mistress pleasegarth@stceciliasabbey.org.uk

Traveling to Saint Cecilia’s Abbey:

Address:  Appley Rise, Ryde, Isle of Wight, England PO33 ILH

email: abbey@stceciliasabbey.org.uk

Click here for the official website of Saint Cecilia’s Abbey on the Isle of Wight.

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