Clare Priory is holding its inaugural flower festival in its newly-extended church from midday to 5pm each day on Saturday, August 27, Sunday 28 and Monday 29. Entry is free and refreshments will be available.
“The new extension to the church is such a lovely building that complements the original fourteenth century edifice beautifully,” said parish priest Father David Middleton OSA.
“Our team of flower arrangers for the church provide stunning displays every week so, really, they provided the inspiration for a flower festival.
“Of course, once inspired, you have to decide on a theme and a date. As this year’s feast of St Augustine falls on Sunday, August 28, and the feast of his mother, St Monica, falls the day before, on Saturday the 27th, it provided a real opportunity and a ready-made theme: St Augustine and the Order of St Augustine to which the Clare Priory community belongs.
“The floral arrangements will represent some of the saints of the Augustinian Order, including St Rita of Cascia, St Nicholas of Tolentine, and St John Stone, and other members of the Order who have made a name in history, such as Gregor Mendel, father of modern genetic science, and Andres de Urdaneta, navigator and explorer in 16th century Spain.
“Underlying the displays and the people they represent are the concepts dear to Augustine’s heart, of unity, truth and love,”
Father David adds.
“Augustine’s Rule of Life, which is followed by the Augustinian community here at Clare Priory, and by many other religious communities around the world, has a phrase that encapsulates these themes: Be of one mind and one heart on the way to God.”
Augustine of Hippo was born in Tagaste in Roman Africa, the son of Patricius and Monica, who ensured that he received an excellent education. He became a teacher of grammar and of rhetoric, in Africa, Rome and Milan.
Augustine did not at first adopt his mother’s Christian faith but delved into many different philosophies in his search for meaning. His wonderful conversion, in Milan in 386, gave new depth to his spirit.
Augustine had come to realise that God had been searching for him. As he recalls in his Confessions: “You have made us for yourself, Lord; and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”
After his mother’s death at Ostia, Augustine returned to Africa, determined to continue his prayerful study with his friends.
Soon, however, such was his reputation, he was chosen to be priest and later bishop.
He became an important figure in the Church of his day, involved in theological development and the busy life of a bishop.
He always maintained a community around him and provided a rule of life which Augustinians and a third of religious communities around the world follow to this day.