Sunday, July 12, 2020

Leisurely monks

The event of the week was our Fourth of July cookout (on the sixth of July which was Monday, our sabbath day). For these cookouts, Br. Josép gets us organized to lay out the table and the buffet. He does the shopping, the cooking and the grilling. And it is gooood!

The weather was good and Br. Aidan got home from visiting his Mom in Virginia just in time for the cookout. He wore his mask and kept the needed distance. He got tested in the next day or so and eventually was found negative. He could then put an end to his quarantine. After his one week visit to his Mom, he's been on an eight day staycation. He gets back to work on Tuesday.

During the week, we had our regular contemplative days from Tuesday to Thursday. I got a lot of prayer, reading and cleaning done.

We now have gotten into a routine of each doing our cleaning chores. The enclosure and the church look spick and span!
Monks at leisure. From top, clockwise: a big attraction of Sunday Movie Night is Br. Josép's pop-corn; Br. Bernard's right ear while watching "Riding in Cars with Boys"; cookout chilling (Bros. Randy and Josép); (Br. Bernard and Yanick Savain in the front); (Bros. Luc and Randy enjoying the food and a cool beer).

Summer blessings to you!

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Flowers and birds

This was a not unusually quiet week. Tim our maintenance person continues to paint enclosure hallways in the same linen white as the church. We have lived for sixty years with bare cinder block wall. It's a bright, cheerful and welcome change that complements our artworks better.

Since it's been quiet, I treat you to more of Br. Rob's flower arrangements in the church and to birds I have at times spotted on our grounds. It helps that I often walk to grounds to clock up my daily goal of 10,000 steps. Once I pay attention, there is a lot of birds to surprise and delight me.

Sabbath and flowers. From topo left, clockwise: Br. Robert James reading a book on the porch, while Br. Josép tends to his rose garden; unidentified plume-like flowers; blue hydrangeas; day lilies; unidentified orange flowers gracing the icon of St Benedict.

Since I am not as good at photographing flighty subjects as still flowers, I borrowed pictures from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. I also use their website to identify bird songs. Often you'll hear the song rather than see the bird...

Some of the birds seen on our grounds. From top left, clockwise: red-tailed hawk; pileated wookpecker; northern cardinal; indigo bunting; American goldfinch; red tanager; bald eagle. Credit: Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Keep safe, Be well. Save lives.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

An anniversary and a departure

This week we took part in the second session of the "Knee on My Neck: Slavery’s Ghost" program. It is amazing what a selective view many of us have gathered of our history. We are learning a lot.

We celebrated the feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist on Wednesday.

From Wednesday to Friday I taught an Introduction to Centering Prayer retreat. We spent an hour to and hour and a half each afternoon, learning about Centering Prayer and practicing it. I did OK with Zoom although I forgot to record the first session (the most information-packed one, of course). A couple of days before the retreat we had 14 registered participants. So I was suprised to welcome 26 participants by the time we started. It seems many folks register close to the event for these online retreats.

This Sunday, we said farewell to Max Esmus (earlier known as Br. Max). Br. Luc is driving him to his family home in Pennsylvania. In the morning, we all discovered a goodbye origami butterfly in our mailboxes. All the best, Max!

I got to preach this Sunday morning. Afterward, I recuperated the job of posting the sermon on Blogger, Buzzsprout and Facebook. I seeem to have not lost my hand at it. All of Max's duties have been reassigned but we will not be able to replace his beautiful organ-playing soon.

This Sunday also is the 50th anniversary of Br. Rafael's Life Profession. This morning eight of us went to the nursing home carrying balloons and chocolate cake. We gathered in the lawn under Rafael's third floor window and serenaded him. He knew we were coming and waited for us in the company of Br. Laurence.

We talked on the phone and they waved at us. The staff of the nursing home will deliver the cake and the balloons to his room. It's been three and a half month since we have been able to visit our nursing home brothers in person. The confinement is particularly hard for them as they need to remain in their rooms most of the time.

Visiting Br. Rafael. From top left, clockwise: arriving at the nursing home with presents; Br. Aidan masked to deliver the cake and Reese peanut cups to the front desk; waiting for Aidan to come back; trekking to the side of the nursing home; gathered under Rafael's window (from left, Bros. Robert Hagler, Carl Sword, John Forbis, Aidan Owen, Robert Leo Sevensky, Robert James Magliula, Bernard Delcourt - Br. Josép is the photographer); looking up for the apparition of the anniversary boy; (center) the top left window we were looking at is that of Rafael.

We are glad to be a multi-generational community.