Our mission as Benedictine women is to live as a community, sharing our liturgy and hospitality with all in a spirit of peace in and for the world. Prayer is the very breath of our Benedictine life, from which all else flows. It is communication with God, a way of responding to and deepening our friendship with God. Our shared Liturgy and personal prayer are means of attaining inner healing and strength.
Hospitality is our response to Benedict's instruction to receive each person as Christ. We realise this in our sharing of worship, prayerful support and personal contact.
We understand the gift of Simplicity as joyful trust and dependence on the goodness of God. As Benedictines, peace is both a well from which we drink and the fruit of our lives together. It is the greatest gift we can have and wish for each other. This peace of Christ is what we inherit and in turn pass on to others.
The present Benedictine nuns of Kylemore Abbey have a long history, beginning at Brussels in 1598. This was the time following the suppression of religious houses in the British Isles when British Catholics left England and opened religious houses abroad.
A number of monasteries originated from one Benedictine house in Brussels, founded by Lady Mary Percy in 1598. Houses founded from Lady Mary’s house in Brussels were at Cambray in France (now Stanbrook in England) and at Ghent (now Oulton Abbey) in Staffordshire. Ghent in turn founded several Benedictine Houses, one of which was at Ypres.
Kylemore Abbey is the oldest of the Irish Benedictine Abbeys. The community of nuns, who have resided here since 1920, have a long history stretching back almost three hundred and forty years.
Founded in Ypres, Belgium, in 1665, the house was formally made over to the Irish nation in 1682.
The purpose of the abbey at Ypres was to provide an education and religious community for Irish women during times of persecution here in Ireland.
Down through the centuries, Ypres Abbey attracted the daughters of the Irish nobility, both as students and postulants, and enjoyed the patronage of many influential Irish families living in exile.
At the request of King James II the nuns moved to Dublin in 1688. However, they returned to Ypres following James’s defeat at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. The community finally left Ypres after the Community the Abbey was destroyed in the early days of World War One.
The community first took refuge in England, and later in Co Wexford before eventually settling in Kylemore in December 1920. At Kylemore, the nuns reopened their international boarding school and established a day school for local girls. They also ran a farm and guesthouse; the guesthouse was closed after a devastating fire in 1959.
In 2010, the Girl’s Boarding School was closed and the nuns have been developing new education and retreat activities.