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Nuns invite young women to get a taste of Abbey life

In a bid to revive their Austrian abbey that doubles up as a health resort, a group of nuns are inviting young women to come and stay with them to get a taste of nun life.

With many of the nuns living at Marienkron near Neusiedler Lake on the Hungarian border at pensioner age, it is hoped that the initiative to attract new nuns will help to keep the abbey and resort going in the years to come.

Marienkron is a resort of 100 beds, normally frequented by older guests, where people can receive treatments ranging from traditional Chinese practices, water gymnastics and hydrotherapy treatments.

The resort has been running since the sixties but now less than half of the 12 nuns who live there are fit and healthy enough to work at the resort and provide the treatments.

With a full week at the abbey priced at just 529 EUR, Marienkron also struggles to turn a profit and made a loss last year.

The nuns are due to re-introduce the scheme inviting women to join them temporarily to show people some of the benefits that comes with the quiet life of a nun.

"Such lovely work as we have - you can't find it any more," said the abbey's Sister Bernarda, who is aware that there is only so much they can do to attract new nuns. "If someone decides to join, that's not up to us."

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