Vita Et Pax Preparatory School

Our History

The Benedictine Congregation of Our Lady of Mount Olivet was founded in 1319 by Blessed Bernard Ptolomei.  He built the first monastery in the mountains near Sienna and called it Monte Oliveto Maggiore and the Archabbey is still on the same site.  The congregation is a branch of the old tree of the Benedictine Order started by Saint Benedict around 500AD.  The monks wear white habit in honour of the purity of Our Lady, to whom they have a special devotion.

The school was founded in 1936 by Benedictine Olivetian sisters and oblates who had been sent by their superior in Schotenhof , Belgium to assist Dom Constantine Bosschaerts OSB in setting up a Vita et Pax (Life and Peace) Foundation in London.

A small house had been purchased in Heddon Road for the sisters and it was there with a few 5-7 year old children that the school was founded.

The premises quickly became too small for the sisters and all the new pupils and within a year they had to move to two larger houses in Reservoir Road (now Linden Way). The two new houses 'Coniston' and 'Ivy Lodge' in their present state, still did not accommodate all, and a room in the bungalow in which the monks lived and celebrated daily Mass was cleared daily and used as an additional classroom.

As the community settled in to the new premises more sisters joined them from Schotenhof and the London Foundation was now growing and fulfilling the vision of Dom Constantine, which was concerned with liturgical renewal, ecumenism and the promotion of the role of the laity in the parish.

By 1940 the bombing in London was such that Dom Constantine, now in poor health took the teaching community and children to Park Lodge, Kimbolton Castle, Huntingdonshire. All returned as soon as the war was over uniting the whole community in Cockfosters once more. There was still so much work to be done and with the help of the laity the church building took shape.  Sadly the great visionary, Dom Constantine died in 1950, though fortunately the community was still growing and Dom Edmund took charge of the parish.  In order to regularise their finances the monks sold some land and the sisters sold the houses in Linden Way, moving the school into three large rooms above the church in 1954, whilst the new convent and school was being built.  The new convent and school of four classrooms was completed in 1966.