Dom Philip Wilson
Although I was born and grew up only a few miles from the former Portsmouth Priory, I didn’t even really know it existed in those days. My family were Baptists and the difference in religions would have made the distance seem even greater.
Nevertheless, it was there that I met Dom Hugh Diman, a Roman Catholic convert and a monk of Portsmouth Priory as well as founder and long-time headmaster of its School. Since I was preparing at that time to be received into the Catholic Church, he invited me to visit him at the Priory.
I did so shortly afterward and knew almost immediately that it was where I wanted to spend my life. And so I have, working as a teacher and housemaster for many years.
In the beginning, I had difficulties, as did many monks, in accepting the changes in our monastic life arising from the decrees of Vatican II. The result has been a rather different monastic life than I had ever expected. But nevertheless I have been, and continue to be, happy and content with doing the work given me, which I hope is also God’s work.
Dom Edmund Adams
I was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1939 and attended many schools, including Portsmouth Priory. I graduated from Suffolk University and received my PhD in English literature from the University of Washington. Then I became an assistant professor of English at the University of Toledo, where I taught for 13 years.
There were two periods of withdrawal from Catholic faith, from the ages of 17-22 (when I nearly converted to Judaism) and another from about 28-36. Whenever I turned back to the faith, I called two beloved monks of Portsmouth, Dom Bede Gorman and Dom Andrew Jenks.
By the time I was 37, I realized my life had no center beyond my apartment. It lacked dedication and consecration. When I visited Portsmouth Abbey in 1978, I felt immediately at home, for life.
Living at Portsmouth Abbey has been largely defined by monastic and sacerdotal rhythms. But I have also been engaged in an unpredictable variety of other activities ranging from coaching baseball to running a radio station with my own program to running a dormitory to teaching Christian doctrine.
I have realized with full certainty that God has placed me in this life in part to preserve me from what I would have made of my life without Him. And that I might serve Him in ways known to Him but not to me. I thank God with all my heart for the gift of a life of love in Portsmouth’s unique prayerful simplicity.