Of nuns, monasteries and monkeys

Mother Mary Justin from the Tyburn Priory at Riverstone now finds herself in the heart of Kwa-Zulu Natal in South Africa.
At the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria are, from left: Fr Peter, Mother Mary Justin, Sr Thomasina and Bishop Rose.

Catholic Outlook, Volume 19, April 2016

“Of all my kids, it’s the one in an enclosed religious order who’s seen the most of the world!” This response to the simple question, “So how’s your daughter getting on?” was not one that would come to the lips of most fathers, but it has proved true enough for Eddie Allchurch.

In 2003, his daughter Emma (now known as Mother Mary Justin) joined the Tyburn nuns at Riverstone in the Diocese of Parramatta.

As this is a cloistered Benedictine congregation, her family never expected to have trouble keeping track of exactly where she was …

But the congregation, whose charism is one of liturgical prayer and perpetual Eucharistic Adoration, also has an irrepressible missionary spirit.

This spirit led to the rapid expansion of the congregation across Australia and NZ, Europe, South America and now Africa.

Mother Justin now finds herself in the heart of Kwa-Zulu Natal in South Africa at the invitation of Bishop Graham Rose of the Diocese of Dundee.

She has joined a small Tyburn community that is working to found a monastic centre of prayer and hospitality.

The sisters at Regina Coeli, Madadeni.

The sisters at Regina Coeli, Madadeni.

As South Africa faces crisis on many levels – political, economic, social and ecological – the Church’s mission of evangelisation and hope becomes increasingly imperative.

The sisters in the little Tyburn community are from different races and backgrounds. As Benedictine religious, they are giving themselves totally to helping the local community.

Their monastery, which is currently under planning, will be dedicated to the Holy Family and will be a place of Eucharistic spirituality, fraternal equality and natural sanctuary to which all will be welcome.

The sisters plan to establish the monastery property according to the principles of permaculture and hope that this might become a model for the surrounding townships and informal settlements.

They hope to foster nutritional independence and sustainability in a punishing climate very similar to Australia, but with the additional challenge of a resident family of monkeys on the property!

The sisters have been warmly welcomed and accommodated by the Dominican sisters in Blaauwbosch. They feel very much at home among the predominantly Zulu parish where already the ministry of prayer is much appreciated.

However, the sisters are eager to get on site and are looking to establish simple, temporary housing to be used over the next couple of years while the chapel and monastery are being built.

Holy Mass and Eucharistic Adoration will begin immediately in a small chapel. It will also allow for the beginning of the property development and the oversight of the construction process.

Funds for the purchase of this basic accommodation and the upkeep of the little community are in very short supply. If you are able to help this new venture of prayer and hope to become a living reality, the sisters would be most grateful!

Donations can be sent to:

Tyburn Missions

Tyburn Priory

325 Garfield Road East

Riverstone  NSW  2765

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