Monday, July 31, 2017

Last days of July

A week ago, Br. Bob Pierson arrived at the monastery after a week-long cross-country trip. He has moved in to become once again part our community. He will take his new responsibilities as Novice Master and Sub Prior this month of August. Br. Bob had been a member of our Mount Calvary monastic community in Santa Barbara, California, for the last three years.

In the time he was away, Br. Bob was also received as a priest in The Episcopal Church. I was happy to worship under his presiding this week. There are eight priests in residence at the monastery, five of whom regularly preside at our Eucharists. While the Order of the Holy Cross was founded initially as an order of priests, we now have both lay and ordained brothers. We give thanks for the many gifts our ordained Brothers bring to our community and the church.


This past week, our guests have been particularly lucky. The weather has been moderate and nice and the Guesthouse has been sparsely populated. As it is, we are closing the Guesthouse for three weeks as we do each summer. Our last guests have gone home Sunday. The Brothers will have a simplified liturgical schedule and long intervals of free time to enjoy summer pursuits. Many Brothers will take this opportunity to go on vacation.
The Rev. Stacey Grossman and Br. Adrian enjoying the Great Cloister
This is also a time we take advantage of to do maintenance work and upgrades to our facilities which would otherwise interfere with our hospitality ministry. This week, a local paving company has started working on our sacristy parking lot (next to the Middle House). Over the course of August, they will repave all of our driveways and also pave our Guest parking lot for the first time. Our driveways were badly degraded in some areas.


On Saturday, Brothers Bob, Aidan and I drove to Hudson to go visit Christine Simoneau Hales' pop-up gallery. Christine was showing some of her recent work in both contemporary painting and icon painting as well as some photographs of her husband, Mick Hale. We enjoyed the works of art and eventually sat down for refreshments and conversation. We rarely get to hang out with people for some length of time and lost track of the time. We made it back home a few minutes late for Vespers. As is the custom in those cases, we sat back in the Visitors Court of the church. And, we'll have to confess our misbehavior in Chapter of Faults this coming Tuesday.

"Chapter of Faults" is a part of our daily chapter meeting where anyone who has committed a fault that negatively impacted the community life stands up and confesses the fault. The whole community then stands up with him and recites a prayer of forgiveness. It is a good way of maintaining accountability to our community and of experiencing the forgiving love of God.


Having leisure time together is an important part of building community. Sunday afternoon and evening are often times to hang out together. We play games, have supper in the enclosure, watch a Netflix movie together.

This week, we inaugurated our own game of Quirkle with new brothers joining in. Up to now, we had been playing Quirkle compliments of the Companions of Mary the Apostle who brought their own game when they visited us.

From left, Enrique, Bros. Bob, Aidan, John, Randy and Josep starting our summer closure with a game of Quirkle
Last night, we watched "Monsieur Hulot's Holiday" a mid-fifties French movie of Jacques Tati, a situational comic who makes me think of a postwar Mr. Bean. Each brother gets to suggest movies to put on our queue, but this one was a reminder of my own childhood.


This Monday morning, Brother Robert James and I went out for our customary walk. Usually, we walk over the Walkway Over the Hudson. But today, we discovered Fanny Reese Park, an underused little gem in the town of Highland. Our Monday walks are an opportunity to exercise and to catch-up on our respective weeks at the monastery. It is good for the body and good for the soul.

Fanny Reese Park in Highland overlooks the Mid-Hudson Bridge to Poughkeepsie
This week, we also started a Monastery Instagram account. You can follow it at If you post monastery pictures on Instagram, please use the hashtag #holycrosswestpark.

This coming Thursday, I leave on vacation with Bros. Aidan, John, and Joseph. We are going to Bailey Island in M
aine. Later on, I will also be going to Manhattan for a few days of visiting.

1 comment:

Jeff Lowry said...

Br. Bernard,

Hopefully August vacation is going well for you and the other brothers!
May it serve to rejuvenate all of you so that you will be invigorated to
serve the guests during the upcoming guesthouse season.

Thank you for bringing back The Prior's Column! I enjoyed it when Br.
Bede had it. I think it helps those who cannot visit the monastery as
often as they like stay connected.

Yours in Christ,