Already fascinated with Jesus, the founding members of Jericho had become captivated by the sheer warmth of his humanity - his compassion for the poor, the lowly, the sick, the oppressed, the sinner, the excluded - and by the utter simplicity of his life-style.
His compassion was deep, his concern genuine, and none could doubt the love in his heart for those in need of his friendship and healing. He was God’s most precious and revitalising gift to Humankind, mixing with the multitude, living in their midst, walking their streets, talking their language, down to earth but pointing to Heaven. People needed a Messiah like this!
“How wonderful if the living, loving, approachable Jesus were to be walking our streets today!”
And so it came about that the Jericho Community of the Monastery of Jesus was born, a group of men who came together to live a life of Christian simplicity in community, a life-style inspired by Jesus and the Twelve, and who through on-going conversion of life to Christ-likeness and instructed by Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan would open Jericho Inns at the heart of town and city from where they would exercise their ministry of being ‘JESUS AMONG THE PEOPLE’ welcoming, supporting, and caring for those being ‘passed by on the other side’ irrespective of colour, class, creed, sex, or sexual orientation.
The Brothers felt an affinity with Prinknash Abbey in Gloucestershire, whose Founder over a hundred years ago had intended to found such a sister monastery of men with an apostolate to the poor, an intention which was never realised. An approach to Prinknash led to an informal Association with the Jericho Community being graciously voted in by the Prinknash Chapter in 1992, and in 1998 a request from the Jericho Community to be received as a community of Benedictine Oblates of Prinknash was acceded to by the Abbot and Deans, the Jericho Society becoming a Scottish Charity as the ‘Jericho Benedictine Society’ and the Brothers becoming commonly known as the Jericho Benedictines.
So thought a priest of the Diocese of Paisley in 1970, moved by the plight of ostracised alcoholic men and women written off by society and shunned by the populace, living in squalor in derelict buildings in the neighbourhood of the church in which he served.
“Let’s do it”‚ he thought, “Let’s make Jesus present in the warmth of His humanity. Let’s open up totally our minds, hearts and souls to the Spirit of Jesus and beg of Him to so take possession of us that each can say with St. Paul, “There lives no longer me, but Christ lives in me” and thus transformed, make Him again available and approachable at the heart of our towns in our times to shelter the homeless, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, embrace the excluded.