On 26 July 2019, the Carmelite nuns at Thicket Priory near York celebrated their 10thanniversary in their purpose-built monastery with a Mass of thanksgiving.
The community was originally founded at Exmouth in 1926 but relocated to Yorkshire on 26 July 1955, to the Victorian manor house known as Thicket Priory, built on the grounds of a medieval Cistercian convent. In 2006 the Carmelites made the decision to sell the large house and build a smaller monastery within their own grounds, which would be more suitable for their needs. They moved on 21 May 2009.
In his homily, main celebrant Fr Tony Lester spoke of contemplation as a gift rooted in baptism, the fruits of which are shown most clearly in a welcoming heart. He believes that this is manifested in the diversity of people who feel at home at Thicket and have a deep sense of connection with the community of Carmelite nuns.
The congregation at the Mass reflected this diversity. Over 150 people were present for the celebration: clergy from the dioceses of Middlesbrough and Leeds; Sisters from Stanbrook Abbey, Wass, including the new Abbess Sr Anna Brennan. They also celebrate their tenth anniversary this year, having re-located on the same day as the Carmelites of Thicket; Sisters of the Congregation of Jesus from the Bar Convent; Sisters of Mercy from Hull; members of the Carmelite family; Bishop John Thompson of Selby who has encouraged many of his clergy to go to Thicket for quiet days; members of the local Anglican communities; representatives of architects MacNeil, Beechey, O’Neill (MBO) of York, who designed the new monastery and many other friends and supporters of the community who travelled from near and far to be with them on this special day.
After the celebration of Mass, the sisters invited everyone to stay for afternoon tea, which was served in the monastery and gardens. The rain held off to begin with but even when it began to fall, it did not dampen the joyful atmosphere.