I am finally back home in the warm, sunny South. My three and a half week conference and retreat at Annunciation Monastery in North Dakota was followed by a weekend meeting at Mount St. Scholastica Monastery in Kansas. And now I’m back home. All told, I was away for four weeks.
In both Bismarck and Atchison I was the glad and grateful recipient of warm Benedictine hospitality. Sometimes it’s good to visit another Benedictine house and to be on the receiving end of the welcome. The experience gives a good reminder of the importance of welcoming the guest as Christ, which is what St. Benedict enjoins us to do in his Rule.
When I returned home Sunday evening I experienced yet another warm welcome, this time from my own community. Sr. Regina met me at the airport and caught me up on all the community news. Sr. Tonette helped me haul a month’s worth of luggage up the stairs to my room. The Sisters on my floor greeted me with festivity and listened to my initial burst of stories. I’ve also received countless hugs in the past day and a half from my monastic Sisters who are eager to welcome me home and hear about my time away.
Their warm welcome reminds me that Benedictine hospitality is not just for the guest. It is for everyone we encounter – both those arriving from far away and as near as hand as the Sister next door.