We (finally) obtained Planning Permission on the 28th September 2017 the feast day of “Good King Wenceslaus”. And we managed to install a couple of the land drains and do some of the landscaping before the very wet autumn set in followed by the Orkney winter darkness – not a time to build! And not a time when we could put anything on the website - as we had too little electricity during the Orkney dark season.
Now the days are beginning to lengthen again, and it is time to plan the next stage. Not that we did nothing in the last couple of months – Fr. Stephen manfully planted about a hundred trees, many shrubs and hundreds of bulbs. Of the 33 trees we planted last winter at least 30 are still alive. Trees would be very valuable to help provide shelter from the wind – however, trees are not supposed to grow in Orkney – so we will just have to pray.
We now need to start building the Hermitage, so please pray for donors to come forward.
The Hermitage is small: three individual wooden hermitages 3m by 9m, the main building of 10m by 12m consisting of the Chapel with Sr. Colette’s disabled wing/anchorhold at one side, and the community wing on the other side with a small kitchen/refectory, bathroom, and the parlour/guestroom. Together with a 3m by 4m shed all the buildings are set around a rectangular cloister garden.
The small Chapel just happens to be the same size as St. Francis’ Portiuncula (we didn’t plan it that way – it just happened, but as we are Franciscan hermits it is very appropriate.
We are trying to develop our 0.8 acre plot as a “Lord’s Garden”, an area praising God through His creation.
A garden containing:
a wild flower meadow;
a ‘physic’ herb garden showcasing dozens of the hundreds of plants with healing properties;
a sheltered Mary’s garden, with many colourful shrubs and flowers surrounding an area for walking, sitting and praying;
The Lord’s copse of shrubs and (hopefully) trees, carpeted by woodland flowers, a vegetable potager garden,
and the cloister garden which lies at the heart of the cloister and the small Chapel.
We hope and pray that the garden will be a faint reflection of the Garden of Eden where God walked with man in the cool of the evening (Genesis). A place of peace in which to contemplate the beauty of creation, but also to learn of the wonderful healing properties that so many of the plants contain.
One of the hermits, who spent over twenty years working as a senior hospital doctor, is also a qualified herbalist. She is planning to produce leaflets about the herbs in the garden, explaining how they can be safely used – and when they should not be used. She would also be available to give herbal advice – free of charge.
But, we do need money!
If you feel that you could give even enough for even one plank of wood, you could either send a cheque made out to:
Fr. Stephen de Kerdrel, The Hermitage, Rapness, Westray, Orkney KW17 2DE,
or if you wanted to give by direct debit then please e-mail us on [email protected] for our bank details.
We are a charity so if you need a gift aid form again please write to us and we will send you one.
If you cannot help us financially then PLEASE pray for us and in that way you will be helping us in a very valuable way. All donors whether of money or prayers are remembered by us each day in prayer, and our Sunday Mass is always offered up for the Community, friends, and donors so all of you will be included.
But the main reward will come from Christ himself: "Whoever gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he shall not lose his reward" (Matthew 10:42).
July 2018 Update
We have received three very welcome donations which are allowing us to start building, a total of £8,120. With the added help of credit cards we are putting up the Chapel - the Heart of the hermitage. This is a simple log cabin 6m square, which will later be incorporated into the main building, which can then be clad and roofed in the way that the Council Planners insist upon.
The concrete pad for the Chapel's foundation was finished last week, and hopefully in a couple of months the Chapel will be up.
Sammy, pretending he is the site foreman.