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Ampleforth, Abbey of

AMPLEFORTH, ABBEY OF

St Laurence's Abbey, Ampleforth, near York, Diocese of Middlesbrough, part of the English Bendictine congregation. The community of St. Laurence traces its descent from the medieval monastic community of Westminster, restored by Queen Mary and finally suppressed in 1559. It was the last monk of the restored Westminster Abbey, Sigebert Buckley, who in 1607 aggregated a group of monks to Westminster, thereby establishing a certain continuity with pre-Reformation English monasticism. Some of these monks helped in the foundation of the monastery of St. Laurence at Dieulouard in Lorraine (1608). This monastery was primarily missionary in character, and most of the monks served as priests to the recusant communities of England. One of them, St. Alban roe, was canonized among the martyrs of England and Wales. This form of apostolic monasticism has remained at the core of the community's mission, though the seventeenth century also saw the flourishing of a tradition of spirituality inspired by Fr. Augustine Baker. When Dieulouard was forcibly closed in 1793, the monks returned to England, settling at Ampleforth in 1802. The community has continued its missionary work through the care of a number of parishes, and also has developed a school, which in the twentieth century became one of the leading Roman Catholic public schools. It now numbers over 500 pupils, and includes a Junior School at Gilling Castle. The community also has a guest apostolate and offers an annual retreat program. Ampleforth was elevated to an abbey in 1900, and is today a community of over 90 monks. Its foundations include St. Benet's Hall, Oxford (1897), St. Louis Abbey, Missouri (1955), the monastery of Our Lady of Mount Grace, Osmotherley (1994), the monastery of Christ the Word, Zimbabwe (1996), and St Benedict's monastery, Bamber Bridge (1999). From 1963 to 1976 the community was lead by Abbot Basil hume, who thereafter became cardinal archbishop of Westminster. From 1976 to 1984, the abbot was Ambrose Griffiths, who was appointed bishop of Hexham and Newcastle in 1992.

Bibliography: j. mccann and c. cary-elwes, eds., Ampleforth and Its Origins (London 1952).

[a. marett-crosby]

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