The Chapel today
The spacious L-shaped Chapel, combining modern and traditional features in a light and harmonious whole, offers a beautiful and flexible area for both liturgical and private prayer.
The more you sing His praise, the more you will restore your strength (Augustine Commentary on Psalm 99 17)
The Blessed Sacrament Chapel and Lady Chapel provide spaces for private devotion.
The History of the Chapel
One of the first concerns of the foundresses in 1921 was to set up their own chapel, where the Holy Eucharist could be fittingly celebrated. This they did in the former billiard room, at present the Guests' Dining Room. Here they erected the altar and installed the beautifully carved dark wooden stalls that they had brought over from France. In accordance with their Constitutions of 1666, they attached prime importance to the chanting of the Office. 'In houses where there are four Choir Sisters in good health the office will be recited in choir at the appointed hour each day...nothing must impair this occupation worthy of the angels.'
In 1928, a new convent was built for the community, thanks to the generosity of the Catholic Friendly Society. This included what was to be known until 1961 as a temporary Chapel. Today's Chapel incorporates the structure of this into one of its wings.
After 33 years of patient waiting, and again thanks to the generosity of numerous friends, the new Chapel was blessed and opened on the 29th September 1961. Its luminosity, its spaciousness and the beauty of the light oak choir stalls and parquet floor, were an inspiration and invitation to prayer.
By the 1980s, the liturgical renewal and our desire to encourage others to share with us in celebrating the Prayer of the Church, meant that we needed to reorder the Chapel once again. After long and prayerful reflection in the community, and much hard work, together with our guests, patients and local people, this re-ordering was finally completed in 1994. There is now easy access to the choir and to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, making it possible for all 'to take part in the great chorus of praise and intercession that resounds throughout the Church at every moment'.
The striking stained glass in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel and mosaics in the Lady Chapel were designed by Robin Riley.
The Oratory was designed and built by the architects Benson and Forsyth in 1986, to commemorate the 1600th anniversary of the conversion of St Augustine. It has won a major architectural award. Its striking simplicity makes it a perfect place for private prayer.
There is a wonderful BBC programme about the Oratory made in 1991. It lasts about 10 minutes but is well worth taking the time to watch.
CLICK HERE for the link.
The Chapel and Oratory are available at any time to any of our residents or guests for private prayer or to join us in our regular community prayer