All change has been our experience here in the Oratory since the New Year. In January mum, just turned 90 years young, asked to move in with us. Now whilst we had a large Victorian house in Oratory_Back_gardenPortsmouth, it was on a blind bend, on a busy road. Also, with Portsmouth one of the most densely populated cities in Europe, there was no green space for mum to sit out and enjoy life as it meandered by, since we had a yard and no garden. Portsmouth provides a plethora of wonderful public spaces, but not necessarily gardens.

Mum’s request coincided with our own reflection that despite offering retreats at the Oratory, this opportunity hadn’t been taken up. Plenty of individuals seeking Spiritual Direction, but no retreatants. It was perhaps more of my own creative thinking and drive rather than God’s preference for my life.

The final aspect was the growing call I felt and wanted to respond to in exploring life as a hermit. But more of that in a future post!!

So we marketed the house, sold within five days. Mum found a bungalow she liked on-line – we enquired – it was available and we bought it. A chain of three couples only and we moved end of May. It’s been a whirlwind, one of God’s own making. Exhausted, yet happy, we have downsized and now are preparing the new St Cuthbert’s for mum’s arrival, hopefully at the start of July. We shall become a small community of three and offer prayer, Spiritual Direction, coaching and retreats. I hope to utilise nearby Romsey Abbey as a suitable ‘thin place’.



So fresh beginnings. The Oratory has reduced its footprint, yet retained its commitment to contemplation and prayer. No longer in an urban setting, we have to learn to live a more rural life, and I will encounter God as I learn how to manage a garden.

Whilst our location has changed at speed, I know that the inner change of the heart that is a critical part of this relocation will take some time to present itself and then for me to wrestle with becoming who God is calling me to be in this new season.

Pray with us – Peace and Goodness be yours and ours!