The Chateau dates from the 1700's, backing onto the remains of an 11th Century monastery. Other buildings consist of a collection of farm buildings, a gatehouse and a hunting lodge. The land offers 160 acres of grassland, woodland, walled garden and marshes, with natural springs, the river ‘Rhune’, a lots of animals and flowers. On the domain there are 24 ecosystems of local and national heritage. An ancient fishing lake embedded in the south-facing aspect of the main house.
This place was bought in October 2017 through funds raised from an international network of meditators rooted in the contemplative mystical traditions of Christianity. Restoration of the buildings began in January 2018. A small group have been living on site during the renovations, which has seeded the start of the resident community and daily rhythm of life.
In March 2018 we began our trial Workaway volunteer program. Inviting Workaways has been a hugely successful experience on both sides. Together we share beauty of the land, the buildings and the richness of our meditation life and work. It has been a wonderful experiment and learning-curve that convinced us that welcoming volunteers will be a vital part of the life here. A vessel for mutual learning, the chance for everyone to feel valued and empowered in their specific skills, making a contribution to a greater whole and spiritual development through participation in the day-to-day rhythm of the community's rule of life and meditation.
We feel very grateful to have lived and worked alongside such amazing people, all so generous and open-hearted in participating and contributing to what we are building here.
The renovation of The Abbaye was completed in Easter 2019, which is now inhabited by an evolving residential community. Two other buildings are now renovated to form the Retreat and Conference Centre wit 23 further rooms. Now that we have dropped all Covid restrictions in France you are welcome to apply to come and share our life, meditation and work. Reminding you that the WorkAway requirement is 5 hours of work a day.
Our vision is to build a space inclusive to practitioners, seekers and pilgrims from all spiritual traditions (or none) to help to make the world more peaceful. Ask us for our website link
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
Help with Computers/ Internet
Volunteers will have the opportunity to learn about the how work collaboratively with others in running retreats and courses, gardening, land management, house-keeping, cooking, living and working with others from diverse backgrounds and different cultures, meditation and spiritual writings from Christian and other traditions.
There are no Covid restriction at this time in France . . . .
Please note that stays of a month or more is preferable / desirable but we will consider volunteers for periods of a minimum of 2 weeks. Unfortunately we do not currently accommodate families.
Type of help needed
Helping to run a Retreat Centre
Creating and maintaining a vegetable garden
Forest clearance and fencing
Managing wood collection for fires
Cooking / shopping for the community (not guests)
Cleaning of communal spaces
Small admin tasks
Filming online events and retreats
We are looking for people who enjoy living on the land in quiet countryside and are willing to offer a flexible open-minded approach to doing what needs to be done, as well as participate in the day-to-day rhythm of meditation and meal times. A space to be in relationship with other whilst exploring the nourishment of silence and solitude is at the heart of life here. We aim to encourage varying levels of silence as part of the every day life here and with the support of the community and resident teacher this is an opportunity to discover or deepen your own spiritual practice.
Typical Daily Rhythm (please note this is adjustable with the change of seasons)
Sunday to Saturday
7.00 – 7:30 - Silent meditation (optional)
7.45 – 8.35 - Morning meditation
8.40 – 9.15 - Breakfast in silence
9.30 – 10.00 - Study / Reading / group sharing (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday - Saturday)
10.00 – 12.00 - Work
12.15 – 13.00 - Midday meditation
13.00 – 14.00 - Lunch / Clean-up
14.30 – 17.00 - Work
18.00 – 18.45 - Evening meditation
18.50 – 19.30 - Dinner
Wednesdays are silent days of no work, a chance to read, study, renewal of your inner peace, rest, be creative or in silence …
Saturdays are days off to have the chance to do some cultural or relaxing activities with other volunteers.
Sundays are days of community life: eating and doing light work together.
Unified Consciousness: One Mind One heart our theme 2022. During this year we will be bringing people together from around the world to reflect on the meaning of the oneness for themselves and for the planet. It will help them to emerge from the isolation and fear of Covid into a new engagement with reality and potential.
The experience of unity among each other enjoying their diversity is an important part of the experience. Just as peace needs to be found within us before we can live peacefully in our personal lives and bring it to the world, so the spring of inner joy needs to be unblocked and set to flow. The daily schedule will focus on allowing this to happen freely.
Practical projects for 2022 include:
- Support with the organisation of communal spaces in the newly-inhabited Abbaye and meditation centre.
- Ongoing planting and maintenance of the vegetable and flower garden.
Workaways are accommodated in bedrooms in the newly renovated Abbaye. Volunteers will be invited to share in the cooking of meals in the community kitchen, which will be eaten in the dining hall with community residents. Volunteers are invited to join the community for lunch and dinner every day, consisting of a blend of international cuisine, where we will accommodate as far as possible any special dietary requirements. The Abbaye building provides a good WiFi connection.
Our place is situated amidst beautiful countryside for walking and many places of historic and cultural interest. The nearest village is Marçay, 2 kilometres away and situated along the route Jacque de Compostella, which is a section of the known Santiago de Compostella. The nearest market town is Vivonne with supermarkets and other facilities. The ancient Abbey of St Martins at Ligugé is 6 kilometres to the north. Fifteen kilometers away the medieval city of Poitiers (which has an airport Biard along with local and TGV train links from Paris) boasts one of the most significant gothic cathedrals in France. Further afield there is also the cities of Tours and Saintes and the coastal town of La Rochelle.
When making travel arrangements to our place please note we plan arrivals and departure to allow you as volunteers to settle into the life here with minimum disruption for the life of the resident community. So following your registration and interview, please arrange your travel accordingly. We can arrange pick-ups from Vivonne train station (regional line from Poitiers). Pick up from Poitiers main line station or airport is also possible.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
More than two
Maximum 5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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