Oasis of Silence – Contemplative Prayers Retreat at St. Hilda ́s Priory, Whitby

In 2023 the “Oasis of Silence” is offering a variety of contemplative retreats: monthly one-day retreats (21st January, 18th February, 18th March, 10am – 4.30pm), a four day “Tasting the Silence” after Easter and the classic 10 day contemplative retreat in early July. In Lent there will be courses each week (“in every day life”) beginning Thursday 2nd March. 

For more information, please contact:
[email protected]    
Tel. 01947 899600

Oasis of Silence

“Into the silence of our hearts, with Father and with Son, in answer to our constant prayer, o Holy Spirit come!”  This daily prayerful plea of the monks in Ampleforth is echoed in the hearts of many who seek to encounter God amid the hectic of their everyday lives.  As Jesus himself knew so well, in order to find stillness and silence it helps to “come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest awhile” (Mk 6.31).

A new programme in Whitby, “Oasis of Silence”, has recently begun to offer such stillness and prayerful encounter. “The Oasis is a wonderful way of helping people to get to know contemplative prayer practice,” says Father Pat Keogh, parish priest from St. Hilda´s in Whitby, “It´s good for Whitby to be known for its prayerfulness and spiritual education, as it was in the time of St. Hilda. Sadly, nowadays the abbey is better known for Dracula than for St. Hilda. It´s time that changed!”

Based on the “Gries Path” taught by the Hungarian Jesuit, Franz Jálics, which has brought thousands in Europe and elsewhere to pray with the Name of Jesus Christ, the “Oasis of Silence” wants to attract – and be affordable to – anyone interested in contemplative prayer whether they are just starting out or have been practicing using other methods (all of which are compatible) for years. 

The new programme is an ecumenical project and is housed in the peaceful surroundings of St. Hilda´s Priory on the outskirts of Whitby (Castle Rd). “As a community, we are delighted that this programme and ministry has begun here. It is important for us to work together in God´s vineyard,” says Sr. Helen Stout, one of the Anglican sisters of the Order of the Holy Paraclete, responsible for hospitality and the retreat house. Angela Simek from St. Hilda´s RC parish who leads the retreat programme agrees: “Contemplative prayer is about listening to the Holy Spirit and then going wherever called. It is certainly what Pope Francis is teaching us to do.”