On 12th January 2019 Father Leo together with Father Patrick, Subprior of Worth Abbey, and members of the St Scholastica Community based at Downside went to Canterbury Cathedral for the blessing of an icon which included a kneeler made by Father Michael.

The icon, written by Amanda de Pulford, depicts Jesus washing the feet of St Peter at the Last Supper. The invitation to Dom Michael to make the kneeler arose from last year’s BBC Four programme Retreat: Meditations from a Monastery, in which his carpentry work featured. The kneeler features the words ‘Wait for the Lord’, part of the project in which Dom Leo assisted.

The icon and kneeler, together with a candlestick made by James Price and embroidered cushion for the kneeler made by prisoners who are part of the Fine Cell Work project, will be a focus for prayer in the crypt of Canterbury Cathedral.

The inspiration for the project has been the wish to commemorate the Servants of Christ the King, who had been set up in 1943 by Roger Lloyd, a canon from Winchester Cathedral, to form small cells in the community, who would rejuvenate the Church by uniting prayer with social action. After many years of vigorous life and work in the Spirit, membership had dwindled by 2014 and it was agreed to disband the Servants of Christ the King at a celebratory conference. It was subsequently proposed that a prayer station in Canterbury Cathedral would be a living and effective memorial to their work, a proposal to which the Cathedral authorities generously and enthusiastically agreed.

It has been an immense privilege for Downside to have been invited to play a part in this project to open a new space for silent prayer at the heart of Canterbury Cathedral, the original base of the Benedictine mission to England that Pope St Gregory the Great sent out at the end of the Sixth Century. We hope that any visitors who find themselves in Canterbury will go to the Cathedral crypt and pray, kneeling before the icon of Jesus washing the feet of St Peter.