The Cistercian Abbey of Sancta Maria and historical Nunraw Abbey Guest house are located in the Lammermuir Hills of East Lothian, Scotland. The community of Monks live a contemplative life of prayer, simple manual labour and works of charity, living harmoniously with one another.
From the outside, the abbey at Nunraw looks remarkable ~ a large grey utilitarian building, perched on a hillside in a clearing in some pine trees.
I spend a couple of days at the adjoining guest house which provides accommodation for pilgrims and others with a passing curiosity, such as myself. The guesthouse is a place of meditation and peace and I enjoyed taking time out of my busy schedule to quieten my mind through, stillness, prayer and meditation.
During my stay I had the privilege of having a coffee with Fr Mark (Abbot), despite his busy schedule we chatted for about 45 mins, he was engaging and funny and worldly wise. I was encouraged to use the public area of the Church for quiet prayer, or take time to sit still and reflect on my life and what is happening for me and those whom I love.
I also had a wee blether with Helen (Brown) who volunteers in the shop, and Shirley and Heather who are the housekeepers for the guesthouse. It was a pleasure to hear about history and the day-to-day life at the abbey and also about the wider community of Garvald.
While the Abbey remains a place of meditation and peace, it also continues to evolve. The current plans are to build of a new “Reception and Welcome Centre” at the front of the monastery. This will include a new tearoom, shop, public toilets, office space and a new entrance to the Church.
I strongly suggest you have a look the Secret Paradise of Sancta Maria Abbey video, which I stumbled across YouTube, and I hope you enjoy browsing the website and perhaps visit Sancta Maria Abbey one day!