An illuminating glimpse into the little-known life and role of the St Beuno’s Jesuit Spirituality Centre and religious retreat, situated high above the villages of Rhuallt and Tremeirchion, was provided by its director Father Roger Dawson in a talk to Rhyl Rotary club members at the Faenol Fawr Country House Hotel in Bodelwyddan.

Introduced by senior vice-president John Hickerton, Father Dawson explained that the 58-bedroomed grade-two listed building, built in 1848 with a current staff of 34, provided the opportunity for nearly 2,000 people to visit each year to seek Godliness and truth through peaceful and generally silent retreats in the magnificent setting of the Vale of Clwyd.

It was during his three years at St Beuno’s that world-acclaimed Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote some of his greatest poetry.

The happiness he found at St Beuno’s showed how silence could open up the space to find the spirituality and beauty that still remains enduringly precious.

Father Dawson said plans were under way for a staged development of St Beuno’s, costing over a million pounds, to ensure the centre’s future, despite the demands of an annual budget of £1.5 million and a deficit of £15,000 last year, largely funded by donations.

The warm thanks of the club were voiced by past president Rod Brocklehurst, who said Father Dawson had presented a most enlightening and impressive insight into a secluded tranquil place.

Members were reminded that their attendance was required to man two charity collections at the Asda superstore on December 5 and 6 while the next full meeting would be at Faenol Fawr on December 5, with past president Andrew Brown the speaker.