Time and Space
As an evolution of Fr. Tom’s life and work, Ince Benet will be widely available to individuals, couples and groups of all faiths or none as a place of prayer, reflection and renewal. The chapel, rooms and communal areas have been designed not just to be set in the beautiful surroundings, but to be part of them, allowing visitors to blend contemplation and conversation according to their needs.
By catering for individuals or groups up to 12 in these quiet surroundings so close to the city, we aim above all to allow you, the visitor, access to the most important resource: yourself.
In 1980, Father Tom (Thomas Anthony Cullinan) along with three other monks was granted permission by his superiors at Ampleforth Abbey to build a monastery at Ince Benet where he would live the monastic life of a Benedictine monk in a monastery built by hand, made possible by the support of the Augustinian sisters at Ince Blundell Hall and with help from his architect brother Edward and local friends.
It was a monastery that was to be at the service of the local and wider community, welcoming guests, caring for trees, growing food, baking bread, and the constant round of monastic prayer and engagement with scripture.
Over the forty years Tom lived there, many people stayed and benefited from the atmosphere of prayer, study conversation and stimulus. As Steve Atherton, MBE wrote in Fr. Tom’s obituary ‘Fr. Tom introduced us to a world that is utterly simple yet breathtakingly complex, where everything that is experienced as self-sufficiency is the gratuitous gift of God, where brokenness is replaced by wholeness, where future promise becomes present reality.’
For much of the time, Fr. Tom lived in solitude, a solitude that in his words, ‘…in fact brings us into profound communion with people. Solitude sensitises us, makes our hearts both more vulnerable and more all-embracing’.
Throughout his years at Ince Benet, he was always supported by the Augustinian sisters at Ince Blundell Hall, without whose help and support Ince Benet would not have been possible. They have continued this support in repurposing Ince Benet for this new chapter in its history. Much of what Fr. Tom provided and strived for is present in the new building redesigned by Harrison Architects Studio, all in keeping with and sensitive to the original created by Fr. Tom.