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Last Updated: Monday, 8 August 2005, 03:43 GMT 04:43 UK
In pictures: Life at Tyburn

Nuns at the 5.30am Nocturns service

Tyburn Convent is by Hyde Park, in the centre of London. While the city sleeps, the nuns are already up and in the chapel for their first daily service, Nocturns, at 5.30am.

A nun prays in the chapel

In an otherwise quiet convent, their voices fill the chapel as they sing psalms together and read from the Bible.

The Tyburn Tree gallows depicted in a stained glass window in the crypt

The monastery is built near the spot where, during the Reformation, many Catholics were hung, drawn and quartered on the Tyburn gallows at the top of Oxford Street.

Keys to the doors held by one of the nuns

The nuns never leave their cloistered home - unless a trip to the doctors, dentist or bank is called for.

Mother Lioba

Each nun uses her skills to keep Tyburn running. The day's work is done in silence as much as possible. Mother Lioba says she has a gift for talking, so she shows any visitors around.

Notice board showing the sisters training to be mothers

The nuns live to a strict timetable, reflected on the busy notice board. Sisters 'in formation' are on their way to becoming fully-professed nuns. Nine of the order's 24 women, who are yet to take final vows, are in London.

The laundry

Between the seven daily prayer services, plus Mass, the 26 nuns get on with the work of running the convent. That includes washing and repairing many habits.

The medal worn by members of the order

Once they have taken final vows, they wear a black veil, full length habit, a white cowl while at prayer, a ring and a medal.

Sister Catherine preparing lunch in the kitchen

"I always pray that there'll be dinner," smiles Sister Catherine, 23, who is single-handedly preparing lunch for 37 people - nuns and guests.

Plates set out ready for lunch

After the Chapel, the refectory is the most important place in the convent for the community, and they process in to lunch as they would into a service.

Mother Marion singing at one of the seven daily services

The nuns pray for people who send in requests - many come by e-mail from their website. The last service of the day, Compline, begins at 8.15pm.


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