Nuns are having to leave a historical building in Worcestershire after nearly two centuries.
Sister Joanna Jamieson said the abbey is no longer user-friendly
Stanbrook Abbey has been put up for sale - at £6m - and the entire Benedictine community is to move away to start again in North Yorkshire.
The nuns have prayed, studied, and laboured from dawn until dusk, but they cannot keep up with bills.
But after so long struggling to run the huge building they say the only way for their order to survive is to move.
Mother Joanna Jamieson said: "Everything is so expensive and it is so very sad - a building that was designed for a monastic community at that time is no longer user-friendly".
'Life goes on'
They are building a brand new abbey in North Yorkshire, and will be leaving the abbey in the shadow of the Malvern Hills which has been their home since 1837.
Andrew Grant, estate agent, said it could be a "care village" or sold for educational use.
Stanbrook contains one of the country's largest private libraries with 60,000 books, world-class printing skills.
The final straw came when they wanted to install a new elevator, the nuns were told they would have to build a five-storey extension which they could not afford.
They cannot afford the work and have decided to move to a new home and start again.
Sister Maria Boulding, librarian, said: "Life goes on", and added: "It is not as if it is all a loss and grief and misery."