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 supper were long over. We had prayed Compline and the community was now dispersed into our various living areas. I was in the Community Room on my floor. Down the hall, a Sister was crocheting. Another was reading. A couple of others were visiting. I left to walk to my room, saw a Sister gazing somewhat helplessly at the top shelf of a hallway closet, and I stopped to grab a chair and lend a hand. Any of us would have done it; I just happened to be the one who came along.
So standing on a chair in a hallway on a Friday evening, the view was this: a community at peace, relaxed yet attentive, some gathered in quiet community, some absorbed in the silence of the evening, some of us tending together to a simple task, for all of us the prayers of Compline still echoing in our hearts… The view was of a community enjoying company, appreciating solitude, gladly helping one another… The view was of the monastery as we experience it – not as an edifice, but as our home.
Postscript: Today, Saturday, the view is of attentive listening and thoughtful speech as we gather for our Fall Community Meetings. It is so good to have our mission Sisters home at the monastery!