Saint Lorien Cloister & Church

(Left to Right) The Prioress, Sister Alayna, and The Abbess, Sister Noemi, induct the newest sister, Novitiate Joasia Potter, into the order of Saint Lorien. Joasia is the first new sister to join the order since the recent plague and war. During that time, the Prioress, Abbess, and sister Emmaline took sanctuary at the Abbey, but kept completely closed off to the outer world.
Novitiate Joasia is creative and enthusiastic about learning to illuminate manuscripts. She is the youngest daughter of a Yeoman potter family.
In her first few weeks at the abbey, Joasia painted a portrait of the Abbess for the records.
And was defeated soundly at chess by the Prioress
Joasia can be playful, but is earnest in her devotion. It bothers her that the Prioress does not seem to like her. The Prioress often chastises Joasia, like when she caught her chatting with Sister Emmaline, the kind hearted lay sister who tends to the grounds, gardens, markets, and cooks.
Lay Sister Emmaline Walsh loves plants and the natural world. She is a good cook and works hard to keep the Abbey’s grounds and fixtures in tip-top shape.
Sometimes when the Prioress is busy elsewhere, Sister Emmaline befriends the novitiates.
The Prioress supervising Joasia’s work in the scriptorium
Some of the Prioress’s many areas of expertise are ancient texts, human physiology, and management of the wealth of the Abbey. She is an ambitious and hard-working nun who is not very personable. Without her knowledge, the Abbey’s sick guests would not be helped, and the Abbey would fall into disrepair and chaos.
Sister Alayna Grigorov, Prioress
The Abbess, who is not naturally as stern as Sister Alayna, depends on the Prioress for practical matters such as stewardship of the Abbey grounds, lands, and maintaining the standards of the Abbey among the order, pilgrims, and those who visit for their health.
This leaves the Abbess free to live a more contemplative, reflective life.
She often takes a personal interest in the novitiates, encouraging them in their adjustment to monastic life.
She and the Prioress have become good friends, and are able to rely on each other’s strengths.

Tour of the Cloister & Priory Grounds

The Priory Church

The Narthex. To the left is the stairwell to the balcony above.
The Narthex stairwell
The high altar, from the balcony above the Narthex. To the immediate right from the balcony, one can enter the visitors’ dormitory. The lay sisters and visitors use this entrance to the Priory church.
The passageway from the Narthex balcony to the visitor’s dormitory.
The Nave, looking back into the Narthex. There are four main shrines to saints at the church, each are an important destination of worship for pilgrims.
Ancient graves that are protected on sacred ground in the left side of the transept.
The high altar and right transept. The door in the right transept is locked to all but the cloistered nuns. It is their entrance to and from the Priory church, and leads to the passageway between the scriptorium and the inner courtyard of the cloister.

The Cloister

Inner cloister garden at night, looking from the passageway that leads from the Priory church.
Looking back the other way, into the passageway between the Priory church transept (left) and the scriptorium (right straight ahead).
The Cloister proper is a walkway that encloses the inner garden on the other two sides from the Priory church. It is used for exercise and meditation and to buffer the cloistered nuns from the outside world.

The Scriptorium and The Chapter House

This is the Scriptorium and Reliquary. It is entered under the stairwell from the inner courtyard, or from the Chapter House.
Here, the main treasures of the abbey are stored, maintained, and studied.
This is the primary mission of the nuns of Saint Lorien. They are an order dedicated to the study and preservation of knowledge, art, and beauty, as well as relics of religious significance.
The Scriptorium passageway leads into the ground floor of the Chapter House. The ante-room to the meeting room is where the most precious manuscript of the Abbey is displayed.
The Chapter House proper, where the nuns meet to discuss any business of running the order.
The second floor of the Chapter House. This room connects the ground floor with the scriptorium second floor (left) and the Abbess’ private quarters, (right).
The private sitting area in the Abbess’ quarters.
The small garden and shrine between the Refectory and the Chapter House (on the right).

Cloistered Nuns’ Living Areas

The Refectory, where the cloistered nuns dine and socialize.
The upper level of the inner courtyard, where the cloistered nuns’ quarters are located.
The private chamber of the Prioress is next door to the dormitory for the purpose of supervision.
The cloistered nuns’ dormitory

The Guest Dormitory

Pilgrims and sick people visit the Priory church for blessings and healing. The guest dormitory and infirmary is above the smaller arched entrance way.
These stairs lead from the guest entrance way to the guest dormitory
The dormitory hallway. The privacy windows allow light from the inner courtyard, but prevent guests from seeing the inner cloistered area.
Guest dormitory bath house
One of the dormitory rooms for guests

The Lay Sisters’ Kitchen, Garden, & Quarters

Sister Emmaline working in the lay garden. From the dormitory entrance, one can also reach the lay sisters’ garden.
Entrance to the kitchen from the Lay Sisters’ garden
The Kitchen
The Larder. The simpler door leads to Sister Emmaline’s quarters. The stone arched door leads to the Refectory.
Sister Emmaline’s quarters are off the larder, between the Refectory and the kitchen.

Floor Plans

Ground Floor
Second Floor
Ground Floor, close-up of the Priory Church
Balcony Level, close up of the Priory Church
Ground Floor, close up of the Reliquary & Scriptorium (left), Chapter House (top), and Refectory (bottom)
Close Up of the second floor of (left) Scriptorium, (top) Chapter House Abbess’ quarters, and (bottom) Refectory
Ground Floor Close-Up of the Lay Sisters’ areas (in the lower right and right side)

Thank you for reading!

Published by Shannon SimsFan

Author of Simdale Valley Post

Join the Conversation

2 Comments

  1. This is amazing! I absolutely love the cloister and the archways you have, the garden space. It was fun meeting the new people and seeing their dynamics too. Your hood is such an inspiration, I love the tours and all the rules.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maisie, I was so excited to use those arched columns in the cloister! And it was interesting with the random rolls for the Abbess, Prioress, the novitiate, and the lay nun. Most of them were not the personalities I would have probably chosen, which makes it much more interesting. So glad you enjoy seeing the tours; I love creating them 🙂 and of course, it makes it all even better having readers I know will be interested.

      Liked by 1 person

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