"The Monastery" - update

In 2005 the 3-part BBC 2 tv documentary series "The Monastery" followed 5 contemporary men who volunteered to live 40 days at the Benedictine monastery of Worth Abbey. A friend of mine managed to do a decent transfer from vhs to dvd for me. After getting permission from the Abbott of Worth Abbey, Abbott Christopher Jamison, I made it known to friends that I could give them copies. I also advertised the fact on this very blog. It turned out that the BBC weren't interested in releasing it commercially. The only payment that I have ever asked for from those requesting copies is prayers for my family.

The 5 volunteers...

... with the monastic community at Worth Abbey.

I used part of the series in school. It's a wonderful resource to have: insights into religious life - its difficulties, its riches, insights into Christianity in general, a very positive image of the Church and of the Benedictines involved - the Abbot, Novice Master, etc... some of whom give individual guidance to the volunteers and classes to the whole group. Each of the 5 volunteers came with "issues" that needed sorting out. Three of them were not practicing Christians, but they all thought that their time in the monastery would allow them to take stock, to recharge the batteries and come back "into the world" hopefully as better people. Little did they know that they were going to get far more than they bargained for.

Since making the first advertisement of being able to do copies I must have had about 70-80 requests from people around the world who have seen the series on tv in their own country (about 25 different countries so far), who have searched on the internet for a copy they could buy only to find there isn't one, and who found my blog instead.

I have struck up correspondence with some of these people and some have told me their stories. This has been an unexpected joy for me: to see how God is at work in the lives of others.

In my next article I will post a testimony sent to me recently (with the person's permission) from someone to whom I sent a copy and whose life has changed dramatically in the year since receiving the dvd. Such stories as these convince me more than ever that God is still powerfully at work through the series itself and that my small efforts to spread its message are most definitely worthwhile.

Praise be to God.


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