Benedictine Community of the Holy Cross (CHC)

Introduction to the community

The Community of the Holy Cross was founded in 1857 by Elizabeth Neale, (sister of John Mason Neale, the hymnographer), at the invitation of Father Charles Fuge Lowder. The foundation was intended for Mission work in Father Lowder’s parish of London Docks, but succeeding generations felt that the Community was being called to a life of greater withdrawal, and in the 1920s the Benedictine Office, and later the Rule of St Benedict, were adopted.

Holy Cross aims to achieve the Benedictine balance of prayer, study and work. All the work, whether manual, artistic or intellectual, is done within the Enclosure. The daily celebrations of the Eucharist and the Divine Office are the main work and the centre and inspiration of all activity.

The Community also provides hospitality for retreats and quiet days, deals with a large postal apostolate and produces greeting cards and publications as described below.

The care of the grounds and conservation work in the woodland, old orchard and fields ensures a flourishing of the wildlife much enjoyed by visitors.

Contact details

01509 852761

Address: Holy Cross Convent, Highfields, Nottingham Road, Costock, Loughborough LE12 6XE
(Southwell & Nottingham Diocese)

Community information

Date of foundation:
Registered Charity number:

Bishop Visitor: The Rt Revd Dr David Hope



Alan Russell, The Community of the Holy Cross Haywards Heath 1857-1957: A short history of its life and work, 1957.

A leaflet: A short history of the Community of the Holy Cross.
Available from the Publications Secretary.

Third Order, Fellowship, Associates

The Community has women & men Oblates who are attached to it in a union of mutual prayer. Each has a rule of life adapted to his or her particular circumstances. Oblates are not Religious but they seek to live their life in the world according to the spirit of The Rule of St Benedict. There are also Associates who have a much simpler rule.


Mother Superior: Sister Mary Julian Gough CHC
Assumed office 10 May 2020


Sister Mary Luke Wise
Sister Mary Joseph Thorpe
Sister Mary Cuthbert Aldridge
Sister Mary Hannah Kwark
Sister Mary Catherine Smith

Members who have died since the last Yearbook:

3 Jul 18 – Sister Mary Michael Titherington, aged 82, professed 54 years

31 Jul 23 – Sister Mary Bernardette Priddin, aged 92, professed 55 years