In April 1993, the recently formed Carisbrooke Priory Trust purchased the freehold of St Dominic's Priory, Carisbrooke on the Isle of Wight, the home of a Catholic Community of nuns since the house was first built in 1866.
This was a key step in the fulfilling of a vision, given to Mrs Helen Rawlings some twenty five years before. Having suffered with serious mental illness for many years, Helen believed that during a time of prayer, the Lord Jesus Christ promised to heal her. Shortly after she was taken in a dream, westwards from Camberley where she was living at the time and shown a large Victorian house from the back and just above roof height.
The only other information given by the one who had accompanied her was that 'there was water nearby'. Helen assumed this to be the sea for she remembered thinking how much that would please her children.
During the following months with God's enabling Helen entered into a remarkable degree of healing of the mind, which she continues to enjoy to this day. Soon after, Helen with her then husband John began a ministry with Christian prayer to people seeking mental and emotional health, all the while believing that one day the house in Helen's dream would be found and become the centre of this much needed ministry.
Sister Mary Albert's Prayer
As Helen was given her dream, so Sister Mary Albert OP, a member of St Dominic’s since 1939, grew certain their house would in due course have to close. Though saddened at the prospect, the Lord inspired her with a vision for a house that would reconcile and heal the divided Body of Christ. To this end she composed a prayer and used it daily for twenty five years until seeing with great joy her vision being fulfilled before her death in 1996.
Christ of Carisbrooke
claim Your Kingdom
And lead us together
to the Father
rejoicing in Your Spirit of Love.
Canon Alan Brown's Prophecy
In 1996 Canon Alan Brown, then Chairman of Trustees, brought the following prophetic word which continues to influence the understanding of the Priory's purpose to this present day.
I will bring those for whom My heart weeps to a house prepared and furnished with love.
I am showing you My way of love - love that accepts, values, affirms and heals as the outcast is brought in.
Do not be anxious or confused - the way of love is timeless.
I am already at work.
The new way I have revealed requires you to learn My love.
I am teaching you.
I am preparing you.
I have not left you alone - see Me in one another; see Me in those I bring to you - love them as you love Me.
I am at work by My Spirit creating a community of love - love that heals through the cross.
Learn of Me that you may live in a house prepared and furnished with love.
Above: The homely reception lounge