Northumbria Community in France
Northumbria Community in France

L' Abri à Suvigny

Exploring New Monasticism

-- Interior of chapel --



Rhythm of the Day


08:30     Breakfast

09:30     Morning Office

10:00     Work

13:00     Lunch and

              Midday Office

14:00     Reflection and Prayer

15:00     Work/Recreation

18:00     Evening Office

19:15     Supper

20:00     Recreation/reading


21:30     Compline

22:30     House quiet


Le Rythme du Jour 


08:30    Petit Déjeuner

09:30    Offices du Matin

10:00    Travail

13:00    Offices de Midi et                         Déjeuner

14:00    Méditation et prière

15:00    Travail/Loisirs

18:00    Offices du Soir

19:15    Diner

20:00    Jeux/Lecture/loisirs/un

             temps de partage et                 de convivialité

21:30    Compline

22:30    Maison calme





Who We Are

---------- Jane and Andrew ----------

L ‘ Abri à Suvigny


(A House of Prayer, Retreat and Hospitality)


L’Abri à Suvigny is a project which has been developing since 2005 into a place where people can come to stay for a short or longer time, to live in a Christian Community and practise a modern form of monasticism, working within a framework and rhythm to the day allowing space for work, prayer/meditation, relaxation and study. The 'cell' that a monk of old would withdraw to can be developed as a 'cell within the heart' to which one withdraws spiritually throughout the day, rather than necessarily being a particular place. This aside, we have a 'poustinia' or prayer cell in the prayer garden, as well as a chapel. L‘ Abri runs as self-sufficiently and organically as possible with a woodland, orchard, a Shetland pony, small livestock like sheep, chickens and rabbits, vegetable garden, pond, meadow and prayer garden. The aim is to be environmentally friendly to wild creatures as well as domestic ones, and encourage all visitors to be involved in the day to day jobs, as well as any training/retreat programme they might be coming for.

-Hospitality of heart and home -

L'Abri is affiliated to the Northumbria Community in the UK, and because those who espouse the Community principles vow to be available, intentionally vulnerable and to show hospitality to all, there is also the option for anyone who feels pulled to community living to live on the farm for a time or longer, as God leads.


There is a further opportunity for groups to come and run their own retreat programmes with the proprietors of L’Abri à Suvigny acting as hosts. The pattern of the monastic day would remain the framework during this time. The property is situated in Normandie in France, to the East of Avranches, between St Hilaire du Harcouët and Mortain.


The property consists of a house and a separate barn. The ground floor of the house is for communal use and the upstairs is the private area for the owners. An extension to the house has been built with a guest bedroom and lounge downstairs. there is also a chalet in the garden for the use of visitors. The barn has storage/workshops/stables downstairs and an upper level used for storage although this has potential as a communal space as well. It is possible for tents/caravans to be accommodated next to the orchard. The project required the full renovation of the existing buildings as a first phase, followed by extension of the house to accommodate the extra bedroom and the conservatory. The planting and design of the grounds has now been achieved and now requires ongoing maintenance. A prayer garden with Poustinia, is well developed, and there is a chapel near the barn.


Considerable work has been accomplished on the house, but it is still in the process of renovation, and does not offer 5 star accommodation! The ethos is that of sharing life together and generally helping one another out and being willing to live with some inconveniences.

One of the working groups who have helped out at the property

Just as important as the physical progress is the social and spiritual progress which has also started with the people who have been involved thus far. Our prayer is that God will be in every block laid, and every plan made, in every plant that grows and in every life that is touched by contact with the project. So far, those who have come, have expressed the desire to return, and many have in fact done so. A warm welcome is always offered, and time and space for reflection and conversation is constantly available.




Compline round the campfire

A celtic blessing


May the road rise

to meet you;

May the wind be always

at your back.

May the sun shine

warm upon your face

and the rain fall

softly on your fields.


Until you come again

may God hold you

in the hollow

of his hand.




Que la route se monte a vous rencontrer;

Que le vent soit toujours votre soutien.

Que le soleil brille chaleureusement sur votre visage,

et la pluie tombe doucement sur vos pres,

jusqu’au temps que nous nous rencontrons encore une fois.

Que le bon Dieu vous tienne dans le creux de sa main.

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The Northumbria Community in France Trust is registered with the HM Customs and Excise in England as a charity. © Andrew Perkins