Welcome to the website of the Carmelite Priory in Oxford.

We are a small community of Discalced (Teresian) Carmelite friars who live their lives in allegiance to Jesus Christ focusing on prayer and retreat ministry following the teaching of Saint Teresa of Avila and Saint John of the Cross. Our home, the Priory, also known as Chilswell House at Boars Hill, is former home of the famous English poet Robert Bridges. We bought this house from the Bridges Family in 1961 and turned it into a centre of prayer and spiritual renewal.



Dear Friend

We need your help

The Carmelite Priory Boars Hill has started a renovation project to meet increased demand for the use of the Priory by many groups seeking somewhere to meet and reflect that is at once a place of beauty and an oasis of peace. Part of this project has been the conversion of our old garage into a beautiful meeting room and prayer space. The new space is now dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel and is called 'Mount Carmel Room'.

The completed work will cost £69,781.00

Please, will you help?

To learn more about this vital renovation project, please click Fundraising Appeal to read a letter by Fr Liam Finnerty, the Prior. 


Thank you to those who have generously responded to our appeal.

We have received £16,000 to date.

Please help us to reach our target of £69,781.

What's on in March

March 1-3       Retreat: 'I have brought you into the Land of Carmel' - an exploration of the key characteristics of Carmelite spirituality,  led by Fr. Matt Blake, OCD

March 2          Spirituality Enrichment Lecture Series (SELS): Praying int he Company of Mary, given by Anne Harriss, OCDS

March 4-8      Individually Guided Retreat

March 16        Spirituality Enrichment Lecture Series (SELS): Carmelite Prayer, Mindfulness and Mental Prayer, given by Prof. Peter Tyler

March 22-24    Retreat: 'The Road Less Travelled' - help for the problem of addiction from the redeeming power of the Gospel of Jesus, led by Fr. Liam Finnerty, OCD

March 25-29   Individually Guided Retreat

March 29-31    Retreat: 'Whoever seeks not the cross of Christ seeks not the glory of Christ' - enriched and guided by the poetry and teaching of St John of the Cross, led by Fr. Matt Blake, OCD

Day Programmes - starting in March

March 1 & 15 Fridays DREAM GROUP 7 pm - 8:30 pm

March 5     Tuesday HEALING MASS 7 pm

March 6     Wednesday CHERITH DAY (Quiet Day) 10 am - 3 am

March 7, 14, 21, 28 Thursdays LECTIO DIVINA 7 pm - 8 pm

March 13, 20, 27 Wednesdays LENTEN DESERT WEDNESDAY (in the place of CHERITH DAYS) 10 am - 3 pm




The retreat programmes for 2019 are now available. Please go to Retreats 2019 for more information. 

The preached retreats in March and April are:

March 1-3 'I have brought you into the Land of Carmel' led by Fr Matt Blake OCD

March 22-24 'The Road Less Travelled' led by Fr Liam Finnerty OCD

March 29-32 'Whoever seeks not the cross of Christ seeks not the glory of Christ' led by Fr Matt Blake OCD

April 12-14   'Ours were the sufferings he bore' led by Fr Liam Finnerty, OCD

April 17-21   'He is Risen!' Celebrating the Easter Triduum led by the Carmelite Community

... and for retreats in the rest of the year, please go to Retreats 2019.

Individually Guided Retreats in March and April: March 4-8, 25-29 and April 8-12, 2019. For more dates of Individually Guided Retreats for the rest of the year, please go to Individually Guided Retreats

To make a reservation, please go to Booking.


Other Programmes

Short Course on Carmelite Mystics (August 5-8 residential) - The Wisdom of St John of the Cross: Entering its Depths and Exploring Ways of Sharing it. Given by Fr Matt Blake, OCD

The Carmelite Days for Everyone  (previously known as 'Carmelite Days') are on Wednesdays May 29, June 26, July 24, September 25, and November 13,  10:30 am - 4 pm


Centre for Applied Carmelite Spirituality 

New Courses in 2019

The Centre for Applied Carmelite Spirituality is offering two new courses in 2019:

Living Prayer: A Carmelite Prayer Course on the Practice and Deepening of Contemplative Prayer and Living - September 2019 - May 2020 (a nine-month prayer course meeting one weekend a month)

Spiritual Direction Training Programme - September 2019 - July 2021 (a two-year programme with attendance at the Priory and learning through online facilities) The first year 'Spirituality Enrichment and Life Formation Programme' may be taken as a stand-alone course. 

For more information: please go to (click) CACS - Carmelite Courses or the CACS website: www.cacarmelitesp.co.uk, or email: info@cacarmelitesp.co.uk or telephone: O1865 735133/730183 (press 1 for Retreat Centre or press 2 for CACS)


Scripture & Contemplative Spirituality Conference 

12th - 14th July, 2019

This conference will be held at the Carmelite Priory, Boars Hill, Oxford

For more information: please go to CACS - Conference 2019 or www.cacarmelitesp.co.uk or email: info@cacarmelitesp.co.uk or telephone: 01865 735133/730183 (press 1 for Retreat Centre or press 2 for CACS)




The Carmelite Priory in Oxford is hidden in the remote area of the Youlbury Woods, set in seventeen acres of woodland and surrounded by beautiful hills of Oxfordshire. It is, together with our retreat centre, an oasis of peace, stillness and prayer. While near to England's two largest cities, London and Birmingham, our retreat centre offers peaceful and green spaces being an ideal place for quiet prayer and meditation. This goes alongside our lifelong commitment to everyday liturgical and personal silent prayer. Therefore, all our guests are always very welcome to join us in this prayer.



The Retreat Centre is run by the community of friars and the Boars Hill Retreat Group. As a team of friars and laypeople working together, we welcome guests of all faiths, nations and social groups, as well as those with no faith who desire to search their own way to the wholeness and the meaning of life. We offer preached and guided retreats, based mostly on Carmelite spirituality and the ancient tradition of prayer. We are also available for private groups and individuals on private retreats. The centre has 27 rooms of which 13 are twin. The Chapel, Dining Room, conference rooms and the majority of the bedrooms are on the ground floor, with no steps. We hope that everyone who comes to stay with us for a while will experience an unforgettable encounter with God and others.


Fr Thaddeus Ekuma, OCD, from the Carmelite community in Oxford, leading the Wednesday Carmelite Day on August 2, 2017 discussing the Pauline inspiration of St John of the Cross.



Fr James McCaffrey, OCD, from the Carmelite community in Oxford, giving lectures on Scripture through the eyes of St Teresa of Jesus. To watch his videos, click the picture above.


Fr Matthew Blake, OCD, giving lectures on St Teresa of Jesus: "Life". To watch his videos, click the picture above.

To watch videos from other members of the Carmelite community, click here.

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.

Saint Teresa of Avila

Teresian Press New Publications & Mount Carmel Magazine 

For the Carmelite Book Service online catalogue - please click here.

Mount Carmel Magazine
Mount Carmel Magazine
Volume 66, Number 4
Oct - Dec 2018
Writing of St Teresa of Avila
Writing of St Teresa of Avila
An Introduction
by Eugene McCaffrey, OCD
John of the Cross
John of the Cross
Season of Prayer
by Iain Matthew, OCD
Elizabeth of the Trinity
Elizabeth of the Trinity
Volume 1
by Joanne Mosley
Elizabeth of the Trinity
Elizabeth of the Trinity
Volume 2
by Joanne Mosley
Infinite Horizons
Infinite Horizons
Through Carmelite Eyes
by James McCaffrey, OCD






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