One of Australia’s best-known enclosed nuns, Sr Hilda Scott osb, has been elected Abbess of the Benedictine Sisters at Jamberoo Abbey.
Sr Hilda, who appeared in the 2007 ABC Television series on monastic life, The Abbey, is well-loved around Australia, especially with young people, thanks to her warm and down-to-earth spiritual talks at various events such as the Australian Catholic Youth Festival. She also contributes to a segment on The Journey, a weekly Catholic Radio show from Wollongong Diocese.
She succeeds Mother Mary Barnes osb as Abbess at Jamberoo.
Wollongong Bishop Brian Mascord, who was present at the abbatial election, said in a Facebook message that through her ministries, Mother Hilda “inspires thousands of young people each week in their walk with God”.
“I am delighted for Mother Hilda and for the sisters at the Abbey. It was such a privilege to preside at the election process today. The presence of the Holy Spirit in the room was moving,” he said.
In a letter to oblates and friends, the outgoing Abbess, Mary Barnes osb, said that after 12 years as Abbess she had taken the decision to resign.
“This decision has been coming for some time and as a community, we have been preparing for a transition of leadership over the past year,” she wrote.
“I want to thank you all for the support, encouragement and love that you have shown to me over the past 12 years. I remember you all with much love and gratitude. You will remain in my heart and in my prayer.”
Bishop Brian thanked Mother Mary for “the faithful leadership she has given to the community over the past 12 years”.
“Like a true servant leader, Mary has always led with others in mind, and it gives me great comfort knowing that she can now take a well-deserved rest,” he said.
“I ask that you join me in praying for Mother Hilda and the community as they move forward together with their new leader, and as they continue to pray for the world—a world that needs prayers more than ever.
In a message posted to The Abbey’s Facebook page, Mother Hilda expressed her thanks to all who had wished her well in her new role.
“Abbess Hilda and the community thank you very much for all your messages posted over the past few days. We are grateful and continue to hold you all in prayer,” the message said.