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White Monks: A Life in Shadows

Abadiìa San Isidro de DuenÞas, Palencia (photo by Francesca Phillips)

The White Monks: A Life in Shadows is an exhibition of photographs in London at Holy Trinity Church, and these will also be displayed at Wolfson College in Oxford from May 6. The photographs are by British documentary photographer and filmmaker Francesca Phillips. They include photos from monasteries of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (Trappists) from Monasterio de La Oliva in Navarra, Monasterio de San Pedro de Cardeña in Burgos, and Abadía San Isidro de Dueñas in Palencia.

One of the joys of the internet is that, wherever we are, we can share in some of these photographs.

Incongruously on the Travel section of the Telegraph website (these monks take a vow of stability – the very opposite of travel! Unless one is talking about the journey inwards!) there are fifteen photographs. A collection with some similar, some different, is also found on the photographer’s site.

Abadiìa San Isidro de DuenÞas, Palencia (photo by Francesca Phillips)

Monks, for me, are leaders and inspirers of the inward journey. They encourage me. They externally express my inner monk – and the inner monk I have a suspicion each of us has. Photographs like this function like icons for me, encouraging me on my own journey into God.

Monasterio de San Pedro de Carden in Burgos (photo by Francesca Phillips)

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