Alumni Reflections

Sr Joanna (2017/18) Novice at Ty Mawr Convent

“I came to the Holywell Community a year after graduating university, having spent a year working in university administration, and beginning to explore my sense of vocation in the Church. At this time I thought that I might have a call to the Religious Life, but I wasn’t yet sure, and wanted some time to reflect, grow in my faith, and examine the different options available to me. My university chaplain passed this email on to me, and after visiting the community, I decided to move to Abergavenny and take a step forward on my vocational journey. 

Bishop Richard ( 1st Visitor), Sr Joanna & Prior, Fr Mark


My year in Abergavenny gave me the opportunity to live in a Christian community, and explore what that might mean, in all its blessings and challenges. Working alongside clergy, lay readers, lay leaders and leaders from other denominational backgrounds gave me a chance to reflect on what areas of ministry I might be called to, and to step outside of my comfort zone. Over the year I helped with an ecumenical youth outreach centre, helped lead a toddler group, preached at Evensong, gave talks on life in community, learnt to make a decent cup of coffee, and much more! The support of the community and the time to pray built into the monastic rhythm of our life gave me time to think about my own journey, and led me to joining a traditional Anglican Religious Community as an Alongsider, and more recently as a Postulant. 


Spending time in a new monastic community isn’t just for those who think they might be called to the Religious Life, or even to the Priesthood (although it’s a great way to explore those options.) Previous members of the Holywell Community have gone on to a diverse range of careers, and different ways of serving the Church. Spending a year living in Christian community and having the joy of talking about my faith every day was transformational for me, and I’m very thankful for the support of the Anglican parishes of Abergavenny and the Holywell Community on my journey. “

Deacon Sam (Founder)

“During my time in the community I discovered a love of youth and kids work and I developed a deep appreciation of liturgical worship. Both of which I have carried into my training and continued to develop. 

I loved living in community, it shaped how I think about Church, and the rhythm of the offices, prayer then food then work and back to prayer, I hope these are things I can bring to my future ministry”

Br Adrian nOSB (2015/16), Mucknell Abbey

“Being part of the Holywell Community was a great privilegefor me.  Having come from a career in pharmaceuticals and not having the opportunity to properly discern my vocation to the church, the year offered the opportunity to take time out, to reflect and to test various aspects of both priestly ministry and the Religious life under the Rule of St Benedict.  

It was through the daily rhythm of the monastic office, through the psalms seeping their wisdom into me, and living life in common in community that began to draw me towards the monastic path.  The Community then allowed me to take periods away to test that calling further.  I don’t think I would be at Mucknell Abbey now living the Benedictine life if it hadn’t been for my time in the Holywell Community gently nudging me in that direction and this along with the lifetime friends I’ve made in the process made the time very worthwhile and an experience I will always hold dear.”

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