Minster Abbey is one of England’s oldest continually inhibited dwellings. It is one of the earliest female monastic foundations in England and today, following re-establishment in 1937, maintains its original purpose of prayer, work and hospitality. It is a place of saints and of pilgrimage. Sts Domneva, Mildred and Eadburga were all abbesses in Minster. We know that St Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury, came to Minster to receive the vows of St Mildred. St Mildred is the Patron Saint of Thanet and is often depicted with her mother’s deer (which by legend marked out the monastic lands). The early Minster nuns, under St Eadburga, helped the first missionaries to Germany, through prayer, the creation of vestments and manuscripts, and probably also provided a place of refuge and hospitality before embarkation nearby and shelter on return. Correspondence between the first Anglo-Saxon missionaries and Minster still exists.
Catholics is Minster often pray and worship with the nuns at St Mildred’s Abbey who have the office and Mass daily. The nuns are an integral part of the parish and local community. Every year on the feast of St Mildred (13th July) there is a procession of the relics of the saint through the streets, a solemn Mass in St Mary’s (a hallowed place established by the first saints), and veneration of the relics by the faithful.
Tours of Minster Abbey are available every day at 2.45pm and retreats by request.
The Benedictine Nuns of St Mildred’s Priory
Minster-in-Thanet, Nr Ramsgate,