Community Statement on the Safeguarding of Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults Visiting Holy Cross Abbey
First Written May 2010
Revised 2013, 2017 & 2022
1. Who we are
1.1 The community of Cistercian sisters at Holy Cross Abbey live a Christian monastic life according to the Rule of St Benedict and the Constitutions of the Order of the Cistercians of the Strict Observance (OCSO). We live a life apart and yet immersed in a loving care for the earth and its people, a loving care that transcends time and space, for the monastic way of life has its own hidden mode of apostolic fruitfulness
1.2 Our work is prayer: for those who ask our prayer, for those who need our prayer, and for our complex world. To support itself the Community bakes, cuts, packs and sells altar breads /communion hosts across the UK. We also sell our surplus fruit and vegetables, logs and preserves. We are developing our land by using organic methods in the market garden, polytunnels, and in the maintenance of our gardens. We have added to our wood land to enhance the natural beauty of the valley for generations to come.
1.3 Our monastic guest accommodation is small and comprise of four self-contained flats:2 two-bedded flats, 1 studio flat and 1 one-bedroom flat. As well as facilities for day guests and groups. Our hope is that everyone is welcomed to the monastery as we would ‘welcome Christ’
2 Our Safeguarding Statement
2.1 We choose to make this statement on the Safeguarding of our guests and visitors. Our social contact with children, young people and vulnerable adults is minimal. Nevertheless, given the current situation we choose as a community to make this statement for the visitors who come for a day or several days, that we wish to provide for them a welcoming, kindly Christian environment which offers sanctuary and solitude away from the business of society.
2.2 Many of the sisters at Holy Cross Abbey have lived in community for over 50 years, Nevertheless the sisters have all undertaken the Disclosure & Baring Service (DBS) checks in order to witness to a more transparent Church.
3 Practical Provision
3.1 All the sisters in the Community have had a share in the preparation of this statement. All are aware of the reports and of the Holy Father Pope Francis’ concerns for those who have suffered abuse at the hands of members of the Church, priests and religious. All recognised the need for prayer and reparation at this time.
3.2 The Coordinator of the Diocesan Safeguarding Office have visited us several times and has talked to us about all aspects of safeguarding, to include not only the sexual, physical, emotional and financial abuse of children, young people and vulnerable adults but also issues around bullying.
3.3 We have now joined The Religious Life Safeguarding Service
3.4 We have in place guidelines to ensure the well being and privacy of guests
3.4a No sisters, unless invited visits a guest in their guest flats. Such visits are for specific purposes only.
3.4b No sister goes out with a guest without the permission of the Abbess, the sister returns in time for Vespers at 5pm.
3.4c No sister is alone with a child, young person or vulnerable adult unless they are a family member of the sister and with permission.
3.4d The Guest Parlour is the usual place to meet guests and the wooden door has glass panels in.
3.5 The Safeguarding Policy is easily accessible in the guest areas. Guests are invited to speak in confidence to the Abbess should they be concerned or distressed by the behaviour of any member of the community, or any other person whilst they are visiting the monastery and church.
The Abbess can be contacted by:
Telephone 01994 240725 (press 2 for a private voicemail)
Letter addressed to Sister Jo Harrison, Abbess
Holy Cross Abbey
Whitland, Pembrokeshire SA34 0QX
If the Abbess is away Sr Edith, the Prioress is senior sister in-charge and will attend to any concerns.
5. Our part-time workers
Have no contact with guests to the monastery
The sisters at Holy Cross Abbey wish to reassure all who visit the monastery, that they will be welcomed as Christ and encouraged to share in the Community’s prayer life by, joining us for Mass / Eucharistic Service and the Divine office.