New Life at The Abbey

May 31, 2019 | Current News

On Friday 31st May we were blessed in the entrance of Celine Loh into our community. Celine is originally from Malaysia and has a Doctorate in Haematology. She has been involved in research and now commences research of a slightly different kind! Celine’s journey to the monastic life took off in earnest as she completed each of the three aspirancies asked of all candidates.

Her parents Helen and Cyril Loh along with her sister Joanna, sister-in-law Pauline and her nephew Ignatius travelled from Malaysia to meet us, see the abbey and surrounds and to be with Celine as she took this milestone in her life. Her brother Alvin was unable to come but was very much present in the beautiful family bond that was so evident among the Loh family. Three of Celine’s close friends also came to be present with her as well.

In order to honour their presence we asked them all to join us in a simple ceremony of blessing before we prayed Middle Hour. We asked Celine’s parents to accompany her to her new place in our Church. With this picture in their minds and hearts they will be able to think of their daughter doing that which is so valued by them, namely committing herself to prayer for the world.

What follows here is the reflection Mother Hilda delivered during this ceremony of blessing:


“I would invite you all to sit down. I wish to address these words, on behalf of all the community, to Celine’s sister Joanna, to her nephew Ignatius, her sister-in-law Pauline and her brother Alvin who though unable to be here, is very much a part of this day. I address myself also to her friends who have taken the time to be with her on this very important milestone in her life.

I address myself most especially to Helen and Cyril, Celine’s’ parents and I invite you Celine, and your parents to come and stand out in the centre of the choir.

Helen and Cyril, it is never easy to see someone we love take up a life that seems to separate them from us. You will already be thinking that life will never be the same again for you and you would be right. Things will be different from now on. Hopefully it will also be the beginning of many blessings.

Celine’s choice of entering an enclosed Benedictine Monastery in another country has come, as you know as a result of a lifelong search for what really matters to her and she has discovered that all you told her, all you showed her, in the example lived by you Cyril and Helen, was true. There is a God who really does live within us, there is a God who never leaves us, who never asks without giving first, whose love is endless and there is a God who can span the distance between Malaysia and Australia in less than the blinking of a heartbeat.

Celine therefore has much for which to thank you. You gave her a happy home life. You gave her sound principles, you taught her generosity of spirit, you gave her a family, you gave her love and you gave her God. Today she is saying “Thank you” not goodbye. Today Cyril and Helen you are seeing the flowering of all you have been and are in Celine’s life and today God blesses you for yet another act of supreme generosity on your part.

You can safely entrust Celine to us. We give you our word that we will care for her, that she will know every consideration from us and that we will endeavour to continue give her all that you would want her to have. Our Holy Father Benedict says in his rule, “May He bring us all together, to life everlasting” and that means that as of today you will too will have a place with us in the Benedictine eternal life.

I will like to invite you now to actually walk over with Celine to her new place in our Church. From this place she will pray for you, she will remember you at the altar of God. From this place she will intercede before God for the entire world.

Now Joanna, Pauline, Ignatius and Celine’s friends would you all come forward into the sanctuary as we sing a blessing over you.”

“The Lord bless thee and keep thee.
The Lord make His face shine upon thee
and be gracious unto thee.
The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee
and give thee peace