Monastic Gardens


01The Dominicans20040523

>In the first of a five part series Peter France explores how the garden belonging to a community of Dominican nuns in Stone reflects the character of their order. Dominicans are intellectuals and scholars but they are also strongly based in the local community. This Staffordshire convent garden is used by children, the elderly and by the nuns for teaching, play and contemplation.

02The Franciscans2004053020041225

St Francis of Assisi is renowned for his love of nature.

The religious order he founded in the 13th century, the Franciscans, carry on his ideals today.

Peter France visits an enclosed order of nuns in North Wales to see how their garden reflects their attitude to the natural world.

03The Jesuits20040606

are traditionally thought of as God's storm troopers! They are famous for being intellectual, daring missionaries and running disciplined schools. But the Jesuit retreat centre on the outskirts of Liverpool is surrounded by beautiful and carefully planned gardens which aid meditation and teaching. Some areas are formal, others 'natural' but all have a specific function in mind.

04The Cistercians20040613

are renowned for their life of silence, industriousness and removal from the world. At Mount St Bernard Abbey they run a dairy farm as well as grow all their own food. There is little time for convening with nature. Life for these monks is simple and practical.

In this programme Peter France goes on a tour of the Abbey to find out the spiritual significance of their garden.

05 LASTThe Benedictines20040620

They are the oldest religious order and all others have adopted their rules for monastic living. In a quiet rural valley in County Down, Northern Ireland, Peter France visits a small community who have just established a monastery in the Province, the first one to be built here in 800 years. How will this community develop their garden to reflect their desire for peace and reconciliation?