21 March, 2019

21st March 1819

Downside Monastery in Somerset (England) shewing the buildings constructed in 1823.
These buildings were constructed whilst Dom JB Polding was part of the monastic community. 

Image : Downside Abbey website.

In March 1819, in the small chapel of a great house in Wolverhampton, England, a young monk from Liverpool was ordained a priest.  He belonged to a community of Benedictines who had re-established themselves in a new monastery at Downside, in Somerset only a few years before. 

The young monk offered his first Mass solemnly at Saint Gregory's Monastery, Downside on Saint Benedict's Day, 21st March 1819, two hundred years ago today

This was Dom John Bede Polding.  His young life and his initial priestly ministry was based in monastic communities.  But in 1834, the Holy See selected Father Polding OSB to become the first Catholic bishop on the Australian continent.

This photograph of 1857 depicts the Benedictine Community of Saint Gregory at Downside.
These monks were contemporaries of Archbishop Polding.

Image : Downside Abbey website.

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