Finding space
5 tips to meditate
The Bible for bluffers
How to read slowly
How to become a Catholic
Worth Abbey
English Benedictines
Recommended Reading
What was 'The Monastery'
The Big Silence




In 'The Monastery' Worth Abbey invited five participants to live along side the monastic community and discover for themsleves the wisdom of St Benedict. Now in 'The Big Silence' five new participants are invited to take the wisdom of silence found in the monastery and take it into their everyday lives.

The Big Silence from Catholic Church (England/Wales) on Vimeo.

Five volunteers go on a journey into silence, led by Father Christopher Jamison. His starting point is simple: “Many of the world’s religions believe there is one simple path that leads us towards God. It’s called silence.” As a Benedictine monk he is steeped in the Catholic mystical tradition of the contemplative life, but he is convinced that everyone can benefit from sustained, regular periods of silence. “When we enter into periods of silence, we start to see things with greater clarity. We come to know ourselves, and come in touch with that deepest part of ourselves. That is our soul”

left to right: Helen Doughty, David Dalglish, Trish Adudu, Jon Treanor and Carrie Lloyd
left to right: Helen Doughty, David Dalglish, Trish Adudu, Jon Treanor and Carrie Lloyd

Carrie, David, Helen, Jon and Trish have high-pressured typical modern jobs – in business, teaching, PR, media and hospitality trades. They live sound-around lives – full of internet, txt, mobile phone, conference-calling, multi-media noise. First, Christopher invites the volunteers to spend 2 days with his community of monks in Sussex, before they try to find regular times in their busy lives just for contemplation. It is not a question of a quiet weekend in the country. Father Christopher says it is not “a spiritual bath or tonic. The reality is very different. We bump into our deepest selves.”

Fr Christopher Jamison
Fr Christopher Jamison

Only one of the volunteers is a committed believer. Most of them are sceptical, at first. “It’s like .. planet of the monks. Weird geeky men walking around church praying” “It was a very bizarre experience for me not to have any stimulus … my ears found it hard to adjust.” But quite quickly, new insights emerge. “Through the chatter of thought, you start to get glimpses of peace.”

At the centre of the project is a total-immersion course in silence at an 8 day retreat in North Wales, run by Jesuit priests and spiritual guides. Absolutely no talking is allowed, except a one-hour counselling session a day, and recording a short diary on tape. The volunteers confront fear, boredom, denial, anxiety, and anger; they emerge with remarkable insights into themselves and their lives. They return back to their jobs, families and communities to confront the pressures of life in a new way. Over a 2 month period Father Christopher monitors their progress. At their own homes and his, they meet up for a spiritual health check. Some make big decisions.

In this fascinating series we explore whether the spiritual tradition can be brought onto the street of Britain. Can this ancient guide to finding inner peace work for real people, with real problems in the wider world? The question is, after their time with Father Christopher and their Jesuit spiritual guides is over, will they return to their old ways or will they have learnt valuable lessons that profoundly change their lives forever?

NewThe whole series of three one hour programmes is now available on DVD from

"The Big Silence" can be viewed, in 12 parts, on YouTube - see HERE

Retreats at Worth

We have set up a series of retreats directly in respose to the program called 'Finding Silence'. Please see our retreat program for full details and other opportunities.


Please visit the Jesuit website that has been set up in responce to this program.

Return to Worth Abbey Portal Return to the start of this section