Why are you called the Tyburn Nuns?
The name” The Tyburn Nuns” is not our official title, it is actually the location of where our Mother House is situated in London - Tyburn Hill (near Marble Arch). People for many years have referred to us as the Tyburn Nuns and it has stuck ever since.
The official name of our Congregation is The Adorers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Montmartre OSB.
What does OSB stand for?
Order of Saint Benedict.
We follow the Rule of Saint Benedict, one of the oldest Religious Rules in existence, dating from the 5th Century.
How many Monasteries does your Congregation have?
Our Congregation has a total of eleven Monasteries around the world today in England, Ireland Scotland, Rome-Italy, Australia, Peru, two in New Zealand, Colombia, Ecuador, and in 2013 the newest foundation was made in France.
Those who wish to join us need to be prepared to go to different countries! As we are one family we are often moved from one monastery to another by our Superior General.
You will find more details about our other monasteries here.
Do the Nuns always wear their Habit?
Yes, we always wear our full Benedictine Habit when we are doing work in the Monastery or the gardens, and we also wear the Habit when we are travelling between Monasteries.
We love our Habit! It is a beautiful witness to our total Consecration to God and signifies our complete detachment from things of this world. We wear an overall while working.
Who makes your Habits?
In each of our Monasteries (there are 12 altogether around the world) one Sister is given the task of making and mending the habits and veils of the Nuns.
In hot countries, like Australia or Peru, the Nuns wear a white habit in the summer months.
Why are some Nuns in white veils?
The Nuns in white veils are called Novices.
They are Sisters who are in formation, or the Novitiate, which is a minimum of 2 years.
Do you go shopping and things like that?
No, we do not go out shopping. All is done by delivery normally.
Do the nuns ever take holidays?
The Nuns never take holidays or vacations.
Our life is one of total consecration to the worship of the Most Holy Trinity.
It is a 100% commitment every day. Our total dedication to prayer and worship manifests our love for God and zeal for the salvation of souls.
Don´t you leave the Monastery then?
In our Benedictine Congregation we keep Strict Enclosure, meaning that we live our Monastic Contemplative Life wholly within the boundaries of what we call the Inner Enclosure.
So the Inner Enclosure includes the Chapel Sanctuary, the Nun’s Choir, the Chapter Room, Refectory (Dining Room), Dormitories, the Common Room, Library, Infirmary, Vestiary (sewing room), Kitchen and store rooms, Orchard and gardens reserved for the community.
Workmen who do some sort of building maintenance etc. are permitted to enter the Inner Enclosure. Our Enclosure is arranged to facilitate a life of deep contemplative prayer.
The visitors and Retreatants who come to the Monastery are in the Outer Enclosure, which includes the Retreat Centre, Laity Chapel, and gardens. Of course some Sisters need to work in the Outer Enclosure to maintain the Retreat Centre and it's grounds.
The Nuns do leave the Monastery if there is a question of health to see a doctor or fulfilling civil duties.
How many Nationalities of Nuns do you have in your Congregation?
We have a long list of Nationalities in our Monasteries around the world: Peruvian, Scottish, Italian, Samoan, Filipino, Chinese, Australian, English, New Zealanders, French, German, Malaysian, Chinese, Colombian, Ecuadorian, Lebanese, Irish, Spanish, Vietnamese, Nigerian... and hopefully many more in the future!
Our Congregation has a marked supranational character.
What time do the Nuns get up in the morning?
And what time do you go to bed at night?
We rise every morning at approximately 4:50am before dawn, all year round.
We retire 40 minutes after the last Liturgical Hour of the day, Compline, and in our case here in Ngakuru it is 9:20pm lights out.
Why are some Tyburn Nuns called "Sister" and other called "Mother"?
The Nuns that are called Sister are in still in Monastic formation, and it is not until a Sister has made her Monastic Profession, or Final Vows, that she is called Mother.
Why is there a gate in the Chapel?
The “gate” is called a grille, and separates the laity chapel from the sanctuary and Nuns Choir (Inner Enclosure).
It also symbolises our separation from the world which is conducive to divine contemplation.
How do you keep pace with the outside world?
Do you have TV or Radio?
Most of the news we receive comes by word of mouth from our many friends, who tell us what to pray for.
We receive only one newspaper a week which gives a broad view of international news.
There is no TV or Radio in the Monastery.
I heard one of the Nuns mention a "cell". What is a cell?
It is not a prison cell!
We use the word “cell” for our bedroom or work office.
It is a Monastic term which has been used down through the centuries. E.g. work cell, Mother Prioress‘ cell etc..
What are the different stages of Monastic Life at Tyburn?
There are a few stages to the Monastic formation of Nuns:
- The Postulate - minimum 6 months.
- The Novitiate - 2 to 2 ½ years.
- The Juniorate (First Vows) - minimum 3 years.
- Monastic Profession (Final Vows) - for life.
(Please refer to our vocation page for more details.)
What is the beautiful white garment you wear in the Chapel and why?
The Sisters wear a white cloak and the Mothers wear a white cowl for all Liturgical celebrations.
It is a Benedictine Monastic Custom for a monk or a Nun to wear a cowl.
Our cowl is white as a sign of our Eucharistic vocation.
You have the rule of Silence. Is there a time when you can talk freely?
Our Rule of Life allows us one hour of recreation each day (except Fridays) and this is when we are able to relax and enjoy one another’s company.
The more energetic ones like to exercise a bit and play badminton or even soccer in some Monasteries!
Others knit or crochet, make rosaries, cards, soap and other items for the small craft shop in the Monastery.
Is there an age limit for joining the Monastery?
Because our Mother Foundress was 60 years of age when she founded our order, we have no strict age limit for those wishing to enter.
Each person will be considered individually.
Do you like being a Tyburn Nun?
It is out of this world!