The chapel is at the heart of our community, strategically located between the community accommodation and the ‘public’ areas. We feel very blessed to have inherited such a beautiful chapel and to have the Blessed Sacrament reserved there. The chapel was built for the Grail Community and officially opened in May 1957 and dedicated on 28 April 1958. The architect, FX Verlade, also designed the local parish church of St. Luke, and there are distinct similarities in the design of both. On the sanctuary there is a beautiful tapestry of the Last Supper by Luc Van Hoeek and at the other end a stunning depiction of the Stations of the Cross. The altar contains a relic of St Thomas Becket who was in nearby Harrow about a fortnight before his martyrdom in Canterbury.
The community at SPEC meets in the chapel at 0800 for Lauds (morning prayer), 1700 for Vespers (evening prayer) and Holy Hour and then again at 2100 for Compline (night prayer).
On Mondays, when we have no groups visiting us, we have a community Mass celebrated by Fr David Reilly, or Fr David Burke, our chaplains.
The Library is used as the main meeting space for groups coming on retreat. No doubt it had more books in it when the Grail Community lived here, but our collection is slowly expanding.
The effective under-floor heating means that it is always a cosy space and in the summer we enjoy opening the patio doors that lead out onto the garden.
It is fitted with a data projector, PC and speakers for audio-visual use.
The Grail Room
Named after the Grail Community, who were the previous residents at Waxwell, the Grail Room is one of our small-group rooms. It is fitted out with comfy chairs and sofas and a wide screen TV for connecting to a laptop for audio-visual use.
The Becket Room
Named after St Thomas Becket, whose relic is in the altar in the chapel. Like the Grail Room it fitted out with cosy – and tasteful – furnishings for use as a small-group room.
The name of the Calefactory comes from the heated sitting room in a monastery where the monks or nuns would go to warm up. Due to our somewhat quirky heating system, it’s not actually the warmest place in the house although its panelled walls give a warm ambience. Like the Grail room it is fitted with a wide-screen TV that can be fitted to a laptop for audio-visual use.
Next door to the Calefactory, the Group Refectory, named after the dining rooms in monasteries, is another panelled room. It is also the place where our visiting groups can relax and enjoy their packed lunches.
Supervising adults bringing groups to SPEC deserve some comfort and the ‘teacher area’ (not just for teachers, but catechists and anyone else!) provides a space for sitting, relaxing, getting on with any school work that you might have had to bring with you, or reading the periodicals that are available there. It’s also a good place for a chat with each other or members of the SPEC community. It is in a good strategic location to be able to relax but also be able to see what is going on with your group.
Not just for tea, but coffee too. This is the place where supervising staff can make a hot drink. Tea, coffee, milk, sugar and biscuits are provided. There is also a microwave if you want to heat anything up.