Huge congratulations to Caroline Bowden on the publication of her edition of the Chronicles of Nazareth! It is an absolutely wonderful (and massive!) volume, which will be immense interest to those interested in early modern women religious. More information can be found here: http://catholicrecordsociety.co.uk/new-publication-the-chronicles-of-nazareth-ed-caroline-bowden/
I've just returned from a great visit to the Abbey with Frances from Downside Abbey Archive. It is in a stunning position and we are surprised that we got any work done!
I found so much there about the Haslemere/Brussels nuns, that a further trip is booked already. Amongst all the goodies I found some great photographs, some of which are appended below. There were many letters which I am madly transcribing at the moment. I'm a VERY happy historian.
Lady Abbess Philomena Holcroft with the Brussels Crozier.
The East Bergholt Community at Stanbrook Abbey
The main entrance to the Abbey at East Bergholt.
I found this image tucked away inside Lady Abbess Philomena Holcroft's diary. St Fannie's feast day is on 9th March, and that's all I have found out about her.
I'm currently transcribing the letters sent and received when Lady Abbess was sent to Hastings to recuperate from a very bad throat infection which she could not shake. She remained in Hastings for for several months and the letters show how three nuns, Lady Abbess, Dame Hildegarde Heggen and Sr Flavia Sweeney, were fascinated by life outside of the wall. Dame Hildegarde writes in great awe of the splendours of God's creation. She views in wonderment the different phases of the weather, especially its affect on the sea, which she describes at great length. All three are amazed by the local people and the fact that there are so many nuns in Hastings.
But more on this later!
Here are some examples of the Nun's Vows from the Haslemere Collection
Lady Mary Percy's vows, Foundress and second Abbess.
Sister Scholastica Tichburn's vows. She was the first Lay Sister.
The Ladies and I will be at two conferences shortly, the first paper will be given to the English Benedictine History Commission's 42nd Symposium at Stanbrook Abbey on 27th April and the second at the HRWBI conference in Dublin at University College on 8th - 9th June.
Lady Abbess Lescher suffered from bronchial problems which increased as she got older. In 1897, her doctor, Dr Carey, recommended a stay in Hastings. She remained there for a couple of months, which she hated, being unable to carrying on her duties and being away from her 'children'. Her Hastings Diary can be found in the Haslemere Collection.
An admonition to the Religious how they ought to prepare themselves to the Choice & Election of the Offices in this Monastery & Congregation. [Handwritten. Brussels, 1779]