Sister Elizabeth Mary has led the Community at the Monastery of Our Lady and St. Bernard in Brownshill since they arrived in the Diocese of Clifton 14 years ago. She is saying farewell to this diocese next week as she moves up north to the Monastery of Our Lady of Hyning, Warton, near Carnforth.

Phil Gibbons from met with her this week to get her thoughts on what has been achieved at Brownshill and also her thoughts for hers and the Community’s future. You can hear the podcast below:


Sister Elizabeth Mary has written the following letter to explain why she is moving:


Dear Friends

I hope that you have all been continuing to keep well. We do not forget you and have been remembering you in our prayers during these very strange weeks of the lockdown. The guesthouse remains closed. Our own situation concerning public worship is slightly different from that of a Parish Church as the Community, including its ‘vulnerable’ members, uses the Chapel five times daily to sing the Divine Office.

I am writing to share some Community news with you and apologise for this rather formal and impersonal nature of this post.

Our 6 yearly General Chapter meeting of the Order, due to be held this summer, has been postponed for a year. For various reasons, this has resulted in changes to our Communities in England.

I have been asked to move to our Community of Hyning, situated in north Lancashire. Sr. Reina will move ‘up north’ with me. There she will join our other two sisters in temporary profession.

The Community here will have the joy of welcoming Sr. Maria as Prioress. Sr. Maria is no stranger to Brownshill. She was here from 2006 until 2008 as part of the founding Community and shared the adventure of those early days of setting up the Monastery. I know that she is looking forward to being back.

Coming ‘down south’ with Sr. Maria will be Sr. Michelle Marie, who has been a relatively frequent visitor here over the last 14 years, and Audrey, who is a novice preparing for monastic vows.

I know that you will give them a warm welcome and will enjoy getting to know them. Change, while bringing new life, can be challenging, and I am confident that you will continue to support the Community through this time of transition and beyond.

Please keep me, too, in your prayers, along with my new Community at Hyning. It has been a wonderful privilege to be here for the last 14 years and to participate in the Lord’s work of building up this Monastery. I will leave with a deep sense of gratitude for the Community here, our wider community of friends, all we have shared together…….and no doubt with a few tears. It is no secret that I have loved the years here!

The moves are scheduled for mid-August. I hope that the easing of lockdown measures will now allow some face to face ‘goodbyes’.

With our love and the assurance of our continuing prayers,

S Elizabeth Mary