Strangely familiar

Do you know the sensation of simply taking a breath or casting a gaze and being flooded with a sense of memory, as if the air itself, or a even a scattered leaf blowing within it, is familiar, is family, is somehow part of you? Yesterday morning, with sodden maple leaves underfoot and the air…

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The sidewalk side

Care of the sick and the reception of guests are about the only reasons we don’t head to chapel at the sound of bells, so it was a strange sensation last evening to be standing outside as the final Vespers bell called the community to our evening prayer. Guests were…

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Gladness of heart

One morning this week, a slip-o’-the-fingers fumble was followed by an semi-athletic and somewhat comic search-and-recovery effort that I won’t even try to describe because it falls into the “you had to be there” category. Suffice it to say, we had some gentle laughter with our toast and coffee. Admiring…

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The Benedictine Express

We recently hosted a small gathering of Benedictines from around the country.  On the morning of their departure, a few envelopes began to appear on a table near the morning coffee.  As departing Sisters sipped coffee, cleared their meeting room, or passed by with their bags, they invariably stopped to look…

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Happy Birthday Sacred Heart Chapel!

On this date in 1931, a Solemn Pontifical High Mass was held dedicating our chapel “to the honor and service of Almighty God.” Today, as we do every year on October 11, we celebrated with a special anniversary Mass and remembered with deep appreciation our Sisters who first envisioned this beautiful chapel…

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Sister Anastasia’s orchestra

Yesterday when I arrived for Vespers I found in my choir stall a sheaf of blank music composition paper marked with the name of Sister Anastasia. I’m not sure who put it there, but someone must have come across it and decided I was the likeliest one to use it….

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Story upon story

Sister Magdalena has returned from Wales along with the Benedictine Journeys tour group that she led for two weeks. I met them at the airport, which meant that I was the fortunate one who was able to hear the first rush of stories. They told of Cardiff and Snowdon and Hay-on-Wye…

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A house at rest

A quiet afternoon here at the monastery, full of stillness and muted light…  I know that the earth turns and the wind blows, but the weekday wheels of the monastery have come to a Sabbath halt and everything appears motionless. Tools are in their places.  Offices are empty.  Lights are off. …

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Trust and transition

Last night I walked through the monastery kitchen. A pan of beans sat on the counter, partially shelled. No one was around. It was all I could do just to keep on walking, to leave them out on the counter, and to trust that whoever had stopped mid-task would return. In…

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Over easy

I awakened early this morning, walked for a bit, prepared guest books for Lauds, made the first pot of Retreat Center coffee, and then paused for a while. Later, at breakfast time, I served up grits and carried pans of eggs from the kitchen – over easy, hard cooked, and…

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