If you were wondering how many monastery employees it takes to change a light bulb, well the answer is three. That is if the light is oh, say, 70 feet in the air and weighs oh, say, 70 pounds, and is oh, say, in need of more than just a bulb change but actually needs a bit of rewiring, re-coaxing, and reminding how to shine, and oh, say, needs to be completed by Vespers. Oh and by the way requires three levels of scaffolding to reach.
And if you are wondering how many Sisters it takes to herd a cat it is oh, say, three. That is if Kitty B, an outdoor cat, makes a mad dash through an open door after supper into Ottilia Hall and is miraculously confined in a parlor by a closed door before she has access to all three floors of Ottilia, the dining room, and so many other connected areas that we might not find her until tomorrow.
This was just what happened after supper tonight (which followed the well-lit Vespers). Three Sisters gathered in the parlor to try to catch, coax, entice, or otherwise lead Kitty B into the waiting arms of her most favorite of all her favorite Sisters. But she was resistant to coaxing, as cats will be.
Eventually the three Sisters, with the help of 13 coherent and 1 incoherent text messages along the way, were able herd Kitty B untouched out the back door of Ottilia Hall. Imagine a pass rush of three linebackers against one scrambling quarterback who eventually gets run out of bounds. It was kind of like that.
So if you are wondering about the answer to these age-old questions of ‘how many…’, the answer is three, at least for today and tonight here at the monastery where the lights shine brightly, the cat runs free, and good humor prevails.
Postscript – Yes, I will take responsibility for having let Kitty B in! Sister Emilie and I spent a good long stretch after supper sitting on the back porch of Ottilia, just talking together and watching the sky grow dark until it felt like time to come in. Well, Kitty B came in too. Argh!
While visiting on the porch Sister Emilie and I watched Sisters Treva, Regina, and Jane return from a post-dinner walk, Sister Tonette and later Sister Mary Adrian head down to the wood-working and pottery studio, Sister Eileen start out on a walk, Sister Magdalena come out and feed Kitty B, and Sister Bernadette take a stroll down to the pond for some quiet moments of water-side solitude. We watched the light go on, and then off, in the sacristy, and then on, and then off, in the dish room as various Sisters tended to evening duties.
It was a lovely, quiet evening of monastic life unfolding in the best way possible – together.