Sometimes people ask how we manage to keep up-to-date at Downside Abbey. We are fortunate to have many ways in which our ‘on-going formation’ can continue. We always have reading at meals, and so we hear books that we might otherwise never read ourselves; we hear and prepare homilies; we also have the benefit of the Downside Abbey Library, and the scholars who come from places like Bristol University to use the books and manuscripts and give talks. 

George Ferzoco, from the Department of Religion and Theology, has been coming to use the Downside Library for a number of years and has helped us to know more about the collection and organise recent exhibitions, such as the Bibles of Downside exhibition in December. He is an expert on Dante, and had intended to give a public lecture on The Divine Comedy, but then came the lockdown. The Monastic Community were delighted when he suggested that he could still give this lecture to them via Zoom. Many of the Monks said that they had not managed to read all of Dante, and were keen to know more. So with the wonders of modern technology he was able to give an introduction to the thought and times of Dante and there will be a second session to see how Dante presents St Peter Damian, St Benedict and St Bernard.