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Tyburn Nuns to open first convent in Africa as order grows worldwide

By on Thursday, 10 January 2013

Tyburn Nuns pictured in Peru

Tyburn Nuns pictured in Peru

A London-based order of nuns is to open its seventh convent in the space of just 20 years.

The Tyburn Nuns, whose mother house is situated near Marble Arch, have started to build their first African monastery in the Diocese of Minna in Niger State in the north of Nigeria.

It will be their 11th monastery, the 10th since the Second World War and the seventh to open in a rapid global proliferation of religious houses under the order since 1993.

The contemplative Benedictines were invited to Nigeria to promote Eucharistic Adoration and to pray for peace in a country afflicted by a bloody conflict between local Christians and Muslims.

The monastery will be dedicated to Our Lady, Queen of Peace, and is expected to be fully completed, with a novitiate, by 2015.

Bishop Martin Igwe Uzoukwu of Minna laid the foundation stone of the monastery at Kafin-Koro last month.

He said he invited the nuns – whose proper name is the Adorers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Montmartre – because he wanted a place in his diocese that would serve as a “watershed for prayer”.

“Their specific apostolate is Adoration of the Eucharist so the Eucharistic Adoration will be taking place here and it is Perpetual Adoration morning, afternoon and night,” he said.
Bishop Uzoukwu said he flew to England to visit the order and was so impressed by their apostolate that he invited them to his diocese immediately and offered them land.

Mother Mary Xavier McMonagle, the Mother General of the Tyburn Nuns, said she visited several sites in his diocese before opting for Kafin-Koro.

“As soon as we came to Kafin-Koro and saw all those people and they all waved at us as if we were their long lost friends, and I don’t know why they did, but we felt we were warmly welcome by these so friendly people,” she said.

“So that is how it happened. And then when the bishop brought us and showed us the place he would like us to have, we thought that this was just a gift from heaven, from God.

“The parish priest tells us that he has been praying for years to have nuns here. So I think it is God’s Holy Will.”

The nuns will be the first contemplative religious order in the diocese since it was erected in 1911.

The Tyburn Nuns are themselves a young order, having been formed into a community in Paris in 1898 by Mother Marie Adèle Garnier, a French mystic.

They soon fled to London to escape anti-clerical laws and in 1903 established themselves just yards form the site of the Tyburn gallows, where 105 beatified and canonised Catholics were martyred during the Protestant Reformation.

After the Second World War, the order expanded to Ireland, Australia and Peru and since 1993 the nuns have opened houses in Scotland, Ecuador, Colombia, Italy and two in New Zealand.

There are about 80 nuns in total and six will be sent to build the new monastery in Nigeria. The bishop is hoping that a chapel will be open on the site by March.

Five local women have already expressed an interest in joining the order.

  • Tomas

    Fantastic, they will need our prayers for future vocations and for growth of the order.  

  • Sweetjae

    Deo Gratia!

  • Kevin

    “Bishop Uzoukwu said he flew to England to visit the order and was so impressed by their apostolate”

    I am not surprised. This is some good news at last.

  • clee

    This is wonderful news especially in the face of dwindling memberships in some religious orders. It goes to show the criticality of having contemplative prayers at the heart of religious order. Inception of modern overtures only spell death knell to a religious order.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter


    Don’t nuns have convents?

  • http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/ The Catholic Herald

    Dear Benedict, 
    Thanks for your question. We thought we had better check and, according to Catholic Encyclopaedia, the two terms are interchangeable: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04340c.htm

  • Polly

    That’s fantastic news. Deo Gratias! A shot in the arm, a breath of fresh air, a sign of hope.

    I also heard on the grapevine that seminaries which train Mass in the Extraordinary Form are also attracting vocations and keeping them!

    This is the Roman Catholic Church moving onward, upward, resiliant and robust against the liberal, happy-clappy, plain clothes orders that are no longer attracting vocations.

    Bishops in the West (and here in Britain) should take a leaf from Africa’s book who, in turn, are taking more notice of our beautiful Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    Fair enough!

  • Marcie

    Monastery is the correct term, Benedict. There is a Franciscan monastery near my home and it is full of nuns.

  • Marcie

    Sorry Benedict I didn’t scroll down. CH has answered your question more fully than I.

  • savvy

    Has anybody wondered, that maybe today’s Feminist nuns simply do not have the same spunk, that nuns once did. Pre-Vatican 2 nuns could invoke awe and fear in a person at the same time. Kings who were not afraid of the Pope, were afraid of St. Catherine of Sienna. 

    Female saints have had a huge impact on shaping the church’s theology.

    So, instead of blaming the patriarchy, it could be these women simply do not inspire the same kind of charisma and are themselves responsible for not making strides like their ancestors did.

  • Marcie

    Is that you again, Savanarola? Apologies if not. Anyway whoever you are – this sweeping generalisation does you no favours. Not only that, it is a grave insult to all those post-V2 sisters who have given their lives for their faith, and continue to live lives of self-sacrifice in solidarity with the poor and in prayer. And you are forgetting Sr Wendy Beckett, of course. Also, charisma is not a thing which is inspired, but a thing which inspires. Get it right.

  • savvy

    No the tide is now turning,  Post V2 younger women, are being drawn to traditional orders and the ideals of their founders. 

  • Marcie

    That’s as may be, Savvy, and all well and good I am sure, but none of that makes you a better Christian, or more likely to be willing to be martyred for the faith, unless you are actually saying that a liberal, wishy-washy Catholic is actually less likely to be an excellent Christian than a traditionalist one.

  • savvy

    I never said, it makes anybody a better Christian or a better martyr. Perhaps this is not the appropriate thread for the is comment.