Research project 2016-18

Research project on Contemporary Monastic Communities


Research Project 2016-17

Dr Wim Vandewiele is the lead researcher in this research project of KU Leuven. He has established a research framework that expresses eight characteristics of the project’s viability. It must be sustainable, plausible, generative, expressing solidarity, co-operative, co-creative, communicative and empirically grounded. Every feature must be logically interlinked with other features. Each feature must be concretely translatable into the goals and actions of the different partners of this international research platform.

Dr Wim Vandewiele

Dr Vandewiele and Fr Abbot write, “We are happy that Ealing Abbey will be a ‘promotor abbey (OSB)’ in the initial collaborative network that we will create around the international research line on contemporary monastic communities”.

Dr Vandeweile has identified another three ‘promotor abbeys’ in Belgium, the Netherlands and elsewhere in recent months. Finding a sufficient number of ‘promotor abbeys’ is a condition for a provisional start in February 2016.

Research project

Research project

An important characteristic of the research project is sustainability. We wish to be involved in a medium-term vision on the finance and building of the collaborative network. The initial range our lead researcher suggests a period of 5 years (2016-2020). We hope that the project will continue for longer, so firm foundations are necessary.

The two working languages will be Dutch and English.

Dom James Leachman has accepted an invitation to be the lead researcher’s ‘monastic’ partner in creating this framework during the coming weeks and months. There is also an ‘academic’ partner already in place. These two conversation partners strengthen the framework by anticipating as much as possible any emerging questions and expectations and by maintaining a realistic balance of interests.

Research project pre-preparation

In a preparatory phase from April to August 2015 the research associate, Zia Ali, who was working with Fr James Leachman. Zia made himself familiar with the Benedictine ethos and culture and with the different parties at Ealing Abbey who are engaged in the conversation. He wrote a position paper for 1 July, “Feeding Others: Baking bread and generating life” and “Feeding Others: Baking bread and handing on new life” for 1 September 2015. A third paper, “Preparing the Harvest” or “Readying the Harvest” is proposed for Christmas 2015.

The Research project steering group, Drs Vandewiele, Leachman and McCarthy met in KU Leuven on Thursday 29 October 2016

Research project stage 1

Research project, contemporary monastic communities

Research project 2016-18 contemporary monastic communities

After the planned start of the research project in February 2016 the research face of Ealing Abbey in the larger initiative will become clearer.

In this way Ealing Abbey can effectively be a  ‘promotor abbey’ in this international research project on contemporary monastic communities

Research project stage 2

The Research project steering group, Drs Vandewiele, Leachman and McCarthy proposed a Colloquium in Ealing Abbey on “Re-envisioning Generative Communities” in October 2019 before the next LEST XII Conference.

© Ealing Abbey, James Leachman, O.S.B.,  1 August 2018