One of Northern Scotland’s most unusual attractions and one which is unique in Britain, is Pluscarden Abbey, near Elgin. It is the only medieval monastery in Britain still inhabited by monks and being used for its original purpose. Founded in 1230 by Alexander II, its site in a sheltered, south-facing glen against a background of forested hillside, adds to its beauty.
The atmosphere of quiet reflection and of work dedicated to the glory of God is as attractive to young people today as it was in the past and the community is thriving. The community uses the BA(Divinity) distance-learning programme for its initial theological studies so that novices and brothers can study with the best theologians and yet remain within the spiritual atmosphere of the monastery. The student monks visit Maryvale for one residential weekend per year and graduates, such as Dom Benedict Hardy, have been involved in coursebook writing for Maryvale programmes.
Not only this but the abbey acts as a focus, a source of spiritual nourishment and a spiritual home for many Maryvale students, staff and other partners. Students of the Catechist course in the Aberdeen Diocese have benefited from Pluscarden as a place for the annual day retreat. One of the Graduates is now in a new foundation in Ghana and uses the Maryvale Catechist course to train one of the novices who goes back to his own people at regular intervals to give catechesis.
For pictures and more information please visit www.pluscardenabbey.org