Bearing the cross during Advent

This morning we had one of those Masses that leaves the sacristan feeling like she barely escaped with her life. The cross-bearer forgot to bear the cross. The organist couldn’t find the music for the final hymn. And there were a couple of other heart-stopping moments.Heart-stopping if you’re a sacristan,…

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Beginning again…

It’s that time of year. Tonight at Vespers we enter the season of Advent, beginning another round of the Church year, another cycle in which we encounter the Lord through the seasons of the liturgy, always beginning again, yet moving ever deeper into life in Christ.The liturgical year is not…

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My pilgrim boat

Day after day, I return to the same wooden choir stall. Nothing much changes. I chant the same Psalms from the same books in a set four-week cycle, the pattern broken only for feasts and solemnities. I make the sign of the cross at certain, unchanging, times. I bow at…

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Breaking open the day

 If someone handed me colors and a brush and asked me to paint a picture of this day, I would paint the pomegranate that spilled its riches across a platter at lunch this afternoon.We’re not accustomed to having pomegranate around here, but it was on sale at a local market…

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A baker’s dozen

One flashlight, two hammers, three phone calls, four screwdrivers, five Sisters, and a dozen or so vigorous kicks… It took all that and a dedicated employee to free a Sister and a guest who were trapped behind a stuck door in the basement of Ottilia Hall late this afternoon. We tried…

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The view from a hallway on a Friday evening

When you imagine a monastery, I’m not sure what picture comes to your mind, but here’s the view I had last evening as I stood on a chair in a hallway and pulled things off a closet shelf for a Sister that needed a hand. It was mid-evening. Vespers and…

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Signs and ‘wanders’

It seems that with any gathering of people, a gathering of signs inevitably follows, and the monastery is no exception. If you were to wander around our house, you would see signs aplenty. Posted at various places are prayer requests, sign-up sheets, instructions, reminders, thank you notes, meeting minutes, interesting…

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Carpenter of light

This morning after Lauds, I lingered in the chapel to pray for a bit. As I departed, I noticed sunlight falling across the statue of St. Joseph, illuminating his solemn hands in a way that I’d not noticed before. I’ve been thinking about St. Joseph ever since, thinking about his…

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Departure and Arrival

It seems that history – both of the world and of individuals – can be seen as the history of arrivals and departures. We turn a knob, step through a doorway, unpack our bags and say that we’re home, only to eventually depart toward another arrival. We are drawn to…

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Everyday Saints

Yesterday, just in time for the Solemnity of All Saints, I returned to the monastery following my family visit. I drove for hours and hours across the Deep South along roads that flowed like a line of chant through cotton fields and woodlands, towns and cities. The towns formed a…

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