Mother Mary Benedict Brown
Mother Mary Benedict Brown was the last Prioress of the Canonesses of St. Augustine, founded in Paris in 1634. Her first visit to Colwich was in 1995 for the 200th anniversary celebration of our community's departure from Paris, where, after release from prison, the "Black nuns" had been living at the house the "Austin nuns". Her community only came to England in 1911, when they settled at Ealing and ran a school.
Barbara Brown was born in 1928 at Southport, Lancashire. She was clothed as an Augustinian in 1965 and made solemn vows in 1969. She taught in the school and served as Bursar, before she was appointed Prioress in 1995.
Mother Mary Benedict in 1995, with Abbot President Francis Rossiter and Archbishop of Birmingham Maurice Couve de Murville
When the Augustinian nuns dispersed in 1996, Mother Mary Benedict came to Colwich permanently, but it was not until 16th July 1999 that she was free to make her Benedictine profession. A year before, she had an operation for cancer. This returned, and brought about her death at the age of 72.
At Colwich she played the organ and worked in the sacristy. She made and mended the habits, and did exquisite fine needlework. Always willing to share her experience with others, she endeared herself to the community and made friends locally in her all too short stay with us.
That she died on Good Friday seemed to consecrate the many painful trials she suffered in recent years. Her funeral was a reunion for many of her friends and colleagues and a happy occasion.
Mother Mary Benedict, with Sister Theresa Mary