In about 30 minutes, Sister Magdalena and I will depart for the Huntsville airport, board a plane, and begin a 3-legged journey to Bismarck, ND. My bags are packed and sitting at the infirmary door. Car keys are at hand. My room is clean. The garden is tidied. Everything is ready.
Our destination is the annual Benedictine Spirituality Workshop and Retreat. It is being held this year at Annunciation Monastery in Bismarck. The event is for Benedictine women in temporary monastic profession (first profession) who are preparing for final, or perpetual, profession. I am attending as one of the participants, and Sister Magdalena as one of two Co-Directors. The workshop portion lasts about two weeks, followed by a week-long retreat. In total, we will be away for nearly four weeks.
Sister Magdalena and I will travel to Bismarck with a major air carrier, but more importantly we travel on the wings of our Sisters and we depart this morning with their support, love, and prayers. On a practical level, they are covering our many and varied responsibilities around the monastery, providing funds for our travel, and making it logistically possible for us to go. Yet while the logistical assistance is what is most readily noticed, the spiritual support that travels with us is what is most prominent in our awareness.
Each day, near the conclusion of Lauds and Vespers, the leader intones “May the Spirit of the Lord be with us throughout this day.” The community responds, “And with our absent Sisters.”
We will be absent, yet present in the Spirit, and borne up on the wings of God’s great love.
Postscript: I will continue to blog from Bismarck. If you wish to keep up with happenings at the monastery while I am away, Facebook users can follow Sister Therese’s posts on our Facebook group, Friends of the Benedictine Sisters of Cullman.