Video: South African monastery builds community, locally and globally

By Matthew Davies
Posted May 5, 2014

[Episcopal News Service] The brothers at Holy Cross Monastery in Grahamstown, South Africa, observe a holy routine. With six services and an extended period of silence every day, it’s a life of prayer and worship, of community and of deep devotion to God.

But while living in community may be central to the brothers’ vocation, building global partnerships is critical to their ministry here.

For the past 10 years, Holy Cross has partnered with the Episcopal Church’s Young Adult Service Corps program. The young missionaries, age 18-30, live at the monastery and assist at the affiliated Holy Cross School, founded by the brothers to provide education to the children of local farm workers.

Another fruit of the global partnerships is the annual Reading Camp, a ministry begun in the Diocese of Lexington and replicated in Grahamstown to help children who are struggling to read and write.

The Mariya uMama weThemba Monastery, as it is known locally, is one of four communities throughout the world that form the Order of the Holy Cross. The others are Holy Cross Monastery in West Park, New York; Mount Calvary Retreat House & Monastery in Santa Barbara, California; and Holy Cross Priory in Toronto, Canada.

Founded in 1884 by Episcopal priest the Rev. James Huntington. The order lives by the rule of St. Benedict, which says: “All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ.” As such, hospitality is a key part of community life and the brothers routinely host guests for retreats.

— Matthew Davies is an editor/reporter of the Episcopal News Service.


Comments (7)

  1. John B Hills says:

    It is significant that the Order of the Holy Cross has returned to Africa, where the Order ministered for many years in the highlands of Liberia. One Holy Cross monk, Robert E. Campbell, was Bishop of Liberia, 1925-1936. Leopold Kroll, Bishop of Liberia 1936-1945, later entered the Order and was its Superior for a number of years.

  2. Jay Abbott says:

    Thank you so much for the wonderful video! Very inspiring and informative!

  3. So great to catch at least a glimpse of my old friend, Brother Timothy!

  4. Wendy Sweetman says:

    This is a wonderful video. I feel privileged to be associated with the Holy Cross community, which does so much to reflect God’s love and goodness here in Grahamstown and throughout the world, in the work they do. Their presence here is a deep blessing to all and uMariya monastery a serene and peaceful space where God may always be found

  5. Hannelie Duvenage says:

    I’m very fortunate to be an associate. It supported me to redefine my life and find my way back to church. God bless this monastery!

  6. Janet Sage says:

    I feel I want to get on a plane and join you immediately .Love this place of peace.

  7. Irene Pearce says:

    Lovely video. 🙂
    The sense of deep prayer, deep peace as God can only give.

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