Stella Matutina chapel
At the heart of the second phase of the work at Nový Dvůr is a chapel for use by visitors who are not part of the closed community of monks, from priests and pilgrims to the families of the brothers.
The monastery’s requirement is for a modest, freestanding building which can house a congregation of as many as forty-five people but which feels comfortable for a solitary individual. The programme encompasses the usual elements of a church, including presbytery, altar, tabernacle and sacristy. In terms of exterior form, it is important to the sense of a natural hierarchical order and also to the aesthetic harmony of the site as a whole that the chapel does not compete with the church for visual prominence.
The architectural approach is a design anchored in the spatial themes and gestures explored on a more expansive scale in the monastery’s cloister — a quality of proportion, clarity of volume and surface, a spare material palette of burnt wood and granite rubble and the quiet drama of natural light. Simple geometries and uninterrupted planes will come together to create a place of serene contemplation and sanctuary.
Morning star, inaccessible Queen,
We advance toward your illustrious Court,
Behold, the plateau of our poor love,
Behold, the ocean of our immense suffering.
(When one realizes that Nový Dvůr means ‘New Court’, the allusion is fitting.)
Morning Star is the invocation to the Mother of God that the monks of the Priory of Our Lady of Nový Dvůr have chosen as the name of their guest chapel, consecrated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
This chapel will mark the completion of the monastery that the FatherAbbot and monks of Our Lady of Sept-Fons began to construct in 1999. Presenting itself with a great simplicity of form, it lacks nothing that is essential.
In Christian Europe, people knew how to give the best of their time and talent to constructing the churches and the cathedrals without which, today, our villages and our cities would be nothing more than dormitories, without horizons and without beauty.
The Stella Matutina chapel at Nový Dvůr is destined for the use of monastery guests and of those who frequent the monastery. It will shelter their prayer. John Pawson’s studio, the studio of Soukup and Bolid-M, who have worked on the construction of the monastery of Nový Dvůr since 1999,with the support of numerous friends and benefactors, have agreed to design and supervise the construction of the Stella Matutina chapel without accepting any fees. The monks are proposing that the firms constructing the workshop building between 2011 and 2013, erect their chapel at the same time, donating their labour or materials.
God is light. Light reveals that which it illuminates, yet itself cannot be seen. God illuminates us and remains in our sight, even in darkness.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is present in the tabernacle of our churches and our chapels, where we come to pray.
There is nothing greater, nothing more noble for man than to open his heart to Christ and to invoke Mary, his Mother. Stella Matutina, the Virgin Mary lights up the way that leads to her Son.
When the storms to temptation burst upon you, when you see yourself driven upon the rocks of tribulation, look at the star, call upon Mary. When swallowed by pride or ambition, or hatred, or jealousy, look at the star, call upon Mary. Should anger, or avarice, or fleshly desire violently assail the frail vessel of your soul, look at the star, call upon Mary. If troubled on account of the heinousness of your sins, distressed at the filthy state of your conscience, and terrified at the thought of the awful judgment to come, you are beginning to sink into the bottomless gulf of sadness and to be swallowed in the abyss of despair, then think ofMary. In dangers, in doubts, in difficulties, think of Mary, call upon Mary. Let not her name leave thy lips, never suffer it to leave your heart.
May God grant that this chapel be a sign that our age has not abdicated all hope.
May God grant that the hidden life of the monks bring, invisibly, to those who are in need, consolation, comfort, and faith.
The monks of the Priory Our Lady of Nový Dvůr Abbey of Nový Dvůr