Archive for April, 2012

Journey from airport delayed after the car sent for me had to detour due to a demonstration.

I have booked into the Vatican Guest House,and visited the Head office of the Jesuits ans St Peter’s Square. Did a little shopping atthee Pope’s tailors.


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As part of the Diocesan Year of Pilgrimages the parish is organising a number of opportunities for parishioners to be pilgrims:

St Davids: May 8-10    

Penrhys: May 12th

Walsingham: July 23-26

For details: vicar@stmarys-priory.org

A pilgrims trail has also been prepared for pilgrims visiting St Mary’s Priory.

For details: enquires@stmarys-priory.org

Monastic Days:

May 2nd, May 12th & June 20th

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The St Mary’s Priory Choir will sing at Llansantfraed’s Church at a Service in Honour of the Poet Henry Vaughan at 3pm on Sunday, April 29th.

Henry Vaughan lived in the village most of his life and his buried in the churchyard. His Grandfather , William, owned Tretower Court.

Both he and his twin Thomas were schooled locally by the rector of Llangattock, the Rev. Matthew Herbert.

Henry Vaughan's Grave at St Bridget's Church

Archbishop Trench has proposed that “As a divine Vaughan may be inferior [to Herbert], but as a poet he is certainly superior”. Critics praise Vaughan’s use of literary elements. Vaughan’s use of monosyllables, long-drawn alliterations and his ability to compel the reader place Vaughan as “more than the equal of George Herbert”. Yet others say that the two are not even comparable, because Herbert is in fact the Master. While these critics admit that Henry Vaughan’s use of words can be superior to Herbert’s, they believe his poetry is, in fact, worse. Herbert’s profundity as well as consistency are said to be the key to his superiority.

The explicit spiritual influence of Herbert on Henry Vaughan[ is undeniable. The preface to Vaughan’s Silex Scintillans does all but proclaim this influence. The prose of Vaughan exemplifies this as well. For instance, The Temple, by Herbert, is often seen as the inspiration and model on which Vaughan created his work. Silex Scintillans is most often classed with this collection of Herbert’s. Silex Scintillans borrows the same themes, experience, and beliefs as The Temple. Herbert’s influence is evident both in the shape and spirituality of Vaughan’s poetry. For example, the opening to Vaughan’s poem ‘Unprofitableness’:

How rich, O Lord! How fresh thy visits are!

is reminiscent of Herbert’s ‘The Flower’:

How fresh, O Lord, how sweet and clean
Are thy returns! ev’n as the flowers in spring

Another work of Vaughan’s that clearly parallels George Herbert is Mount of Olives, e.g., the passage, Let sensual natures judge as they please, but for my part, I shall hold it no paradoxe to affirme, there are no pleasures in the world. Some coloured griefes of blushing woes there are, which look as clear as if they were true complexions; but it is very sad and tyred truth, that they are but painted. This echoes Herbert’s Rose:

In this world of sugar’s lies,
And to use a larger measure
Than my strict yet welcome size.
First, there is no pleasure here:
Coloure’d griefs indeed there are,
Blushing woes that look as clear,
As if they could beauty spare.
 As is the case with many great writers and poets, Henry Vaughan was acclaimed less during his lifetime than after his death on April 23, 1695, aged 74.

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On the day HM The Queen visited Gwent volunteers in the Abbot’s Garden were planting lettuce seeds for the Big Jubilee Lunch on June 4th.


Volunteers maintain this beautiful garden for the benefit of the public. In addition to vegetables and herbs we grow plants and flowers to enhance this tranquil space.

The Magnificat bed contains a range of flowers named after the Blessed Virgin Mary: Our Lady’s Gloves, Rosemary, Lillium Regale, Our Lady’s Tears,Mary’s Gold, Our Lady’s Bells, Our Lady’s Modesty, Mystic Rose & Iris.

The Herbert Chapel recess has wallflowers and forgot-me-nots, along with medieval & Tudor nosegays.

In 2010 the Monmouthshire Wild Meadows Group planted a wild flowers area.


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The Next Monastic Day is on May 2nd

9.30am Terce, followed by quiet prayer and study – the Vicarage will be available
Sext  at Noon
Holy Eucharist at 12.15pm    
Vespers at 5pm,(Sung by the Choir)
Compline  at 7.30pm(Sung by the Choir)
Healing Liturgy 8pm
Lunch, tea, coffee, etc, will be provided and there will be  no charge, although, of course, donations will be gratefully received.

Future Dates: May 29th & June 20

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We are pleased to host a Floral Demonstration on Thursday (April 26th) at 7.30pm in the aid of the  NAFAS Three Counties Area  Floral Festival at Brecon Cathedral entitled Gloria in August.

Fr Mark Said, “We were pleased to host a NAFAS Area Festival here at St Mary’s some years ago, and I remember  with affection working with the ladies at the Newport Cathedral Festival in November 2008”

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Following the Easter Vestry last week today saw the new Wardens in their new role for the first time.

Following the retirement of Sir Trefor Morris as Vicar’s Warden, Fr Mark appointed Robin Smith, Assistant People’s Warden to replace him.

Fr Mark said, ” We are greatly indebted to Sir Trefor for all he has done to ensure the development of St Mary’s Priory site, I am please to appoint him Warden-emeritus as a mark of our gratitude. In Robin we have a person who I am sure will take over the  baton from Sir Tefor”. Andrew Powell was re-appointed as Deputy Vicar’s Warden.

The Vestry re-elected Mrs Sheila Davis as People’s Warden. The newly elected Deputy People’s Warden is David Williams.

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IT has been announced that the former rugby international Bryn Meredith will be the  guest speaker at the Jeremy Winston Memorial Fund Birthday Lunch on May 20th. Tickets priced £25 available from Vicar@stmarys-priory.org.

He was thought to be the most mobile front row forward of his day. he played for Newport, London Welsh, Wales ad the British & Irish Lions

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On Saturday April 21st we will mark HM The Queen’s Birthday with a themed Coffee Morning in The Priory Centre.

This is the latest in a line of events arranged to mark The Queen’s Jubilee starting with a service last  February on the 60th Anniversary of her Accession. On the Sunday of Jubilee weekend we will hold a  huge garden party in the Courtyard and vicarage grounds.

Work is also under way on the Church Tower- last repaired to mark the Coronation of the Queen’s Grandfather a century ago.

During the Coffee Morning there is an opportunity to plant lettuce seeds for the lunch, and for bunting to me made for use on that Sunday also.

Our Sister church of St Peter’s, Llanwenarth will also mark the Jubilee. With a Summer concert on Saturday June 23rd at 7.00.  ‘Gloriana’ a concert to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee with music composed for both Elizabeths , I and II. There will be  interval refreshments.

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To mark their 90th  Anniversary the  WI have decided to plant a walk of snow drops at St Mary’s Priory north side.

Fr Mark said, “The WI has had a long association with ST Mary’s it is good to mark it in this way”.

The bulbs were donated by WI members, church members and some came from the WI College at Denman. The WI was formed in 1915 to revitalise rural communities and to encourage women to become more involved in producing food during the First World War. Since then the organisation’s aims have broadened and the WI is now the largest voluntary women’s organisation in the UK. The WI will celebrate its centenary in 2015 and currently has over 210,000 members in around 6,600 WIs.

The WI plays a unique role in providing women with educational opportunities and the chance to build new skills, to take part in a wide variety of activities and to campaign on issues that matter to them and their communities.

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