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The Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance is a monastic institute wholly ordered to contemplation. The monks dedicate themselves to the worship of God in a hidden life within the monastery under the Rule of St Benedict. They lead a monastic way of life in solitude and silence, in assiduous prayer and joyful penitence, thus rendering to the divine majesty a service that is at once humble and noble.

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Cistercians monks seek God and follow Christ under a rule and abbot in a stable community that is a school of brotherly love. Since all the brothers are of one heart and one mind, they have everything in common. By bearing one another’s burdens they fulfil Christ’s law, participating in his sufferings in the hope of entering the kingdom of heaven.

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The monastery is a school of the Lord’s service where Christ is formed in the hearts of the brothers through the liturgy, the abbot’s teaching and the fraternal way of life. Through God’s Word the monks are trained in a discipline of heart and action to be responsive to the Holy Spirit and to attain purity of heart and a continual mindfulness of God’s presence.
Constitutions of the Order.

Welcome to Our Lady of Bethlehem Abbey Website

Welcome to this window into our life here at Bethlehem Abbey, in Portglenone, on the banks of the River Bann. It is our hope that, with your visit, you gain an insight into the daily routine and rhythm of our life in this place, and get a flavour of our Cistercian monastic vocation lived in Community. Our silence, solitude and simplicity of life leave room for contemplative encounter with God – join us, even for a moment, as we consecrate our days in prayer and work.

In Christ’s peace.
Dom Celsus Kelly OCSO

Contact Us

Our Lady Of Bethlehem Abbey
11 Ballymena Road
Co. Antrim
Tel: +44 (0) 2825 821211