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Home for nuns with help from Hyacinth
A COMEDY actress famed for playing social-climbing snob Hyacinth Bucket is leading a £2.4m drive to build an abbey for an enclosed order of contemplative nuns.
Patricia Routledge, also the star of Hetty Wainthropp Investigates, will front the campaign for The Community of Our Lady of Consolation – members of which rarely watch television – to raise funds for the second phase of the development of Stanbrook Abbey, at Wass, near Thirsk, in North Yorkshire.
The 21 nuns have planning permission to build an abbey church with a sacristy and chapel, four parlours, a guest wing and conference room at their Modernist-style sustainable monastery in the North York Moors National Park.
They moved to the abbey from Worcester in 2009 as their Victorian building was crumbling and the new monastery, which includes a cloister, offices, kitchen, refectory and a guest room, would better serve the demands of the Benedictine charism, vocation and lifestyle.
Its abbess, Dame Andrea Savage, said while the nuns were enjoying the new monastery, which overlooks the ruins of Byland Abbey, its church was very cramped and it was difficult to have guests for retreats.
She said: “Hospitality is important to us as we don’t go out and we want to share our life of prayer.
“Our church is very, very small and if we have guests it becomes a little bit cosy.”
Ms Routledge, who describes herself as “a struggling Anglican”, developed a friendship with the nuns while preparing to play Dame Laurentia McLachlan, a former Abbess of Stanbrook, in a 2006 performance of play The Best of Friends.
Ms Routledge, who visited the monastery last week, said: “I know these are difficult times for all of us, but I do believe the wonderful Stanbrook community is very deserving of support.
“From what I have observed, the community is a power house of prayer in a noisy, violent and disrupted world. This must be influential and to the good.”
The Right Reverend Terence Drainey, Bishop of Middlesbrough, said: “What the sisters bring to our area can never be measured in financial terms. I encourage all who can to support this appeal which in the end will profit us all.”
To donate, visit Stan brookabbey.org.uk