Dom Ambrose is a Benedictine monk of Ealing Abbey who will be ordained to the priesthood in July.
I have known from the age of 10 that I wanted to be a priest. I began the journey of formation when I was 21 in Ireland, but it was not meant to be. I qualified as a Secondary School teacher and at the age of 29 left Dublin to build a life in London. I spent nearly four years working with young adults with severe learning difficulties on the autistic spectrum. This experience grounded even further and deepened my sense of vocation which surfaced again when a close friend was ordained in 2005, but my tentative steps didn’t find the right place to grow. However, in September 2009, the drive to settle the score once and for all emerged again with such force that I knew I had to confront it. Ealing Abbey was the only option for me.
There has always been a Benedictine presence throughout my life. My brothers went to school at Glenstal Abbey in County Limerick and we had family summer holidays near Kylemore Abbey in County Galway, where the two sisters of my Parish Priest were nuns. These nuns often visited my parish of Rathgar. Finally, my mother spent a lot of her early years at Ealing, where I visited as a child and am now a monk of the Abbey.
I entered Ealing Abbey in February in 2010 and, although the last five years have challenged every fibre of my being, it was during the Liturgy of the Hours that moments of consolation and the discerning process found their reassurance and the strength that this is the Lord’s plan for me.
Throughout my life and reinforced over the last five years, the ‘conversation’ between prayer and pastoral activity has been porous, where one constantly challenges and informs the other. I have found this at Ealing and I give thanks to God and the generosity of both the monastic community and people of the parish for the journey so far.