This past Wednesday, Br. Aidan returned from a 10 day vacation in Southern California. He spent time at our Santa Barbara monastery with Br. Timothy Jolley who lives there and Br. Scott Scott who was visiting from South Africa. The three of them also went for a four day retreat at New Camaldoli in Big Sur.
This week, Br. Josép is on retreat at Linwood Spiritual Center in the village of Rhinecliff. I drove him there on Monday. We took the opportunity to have lunch at Cinnamon Indian Restaurant; one of my favorites. It is such a joy to enjoy good food and company in a public space. It still feels "exotic" to me.
Last week, we first had three Contemplative Days of greater silence, simplified schedule and lighter work. Then, we had our first in person Associate reception in 14 months. Karen Freitag, from Pennsylvania, drove five hours for the joy of being at the monastery for a day and a half. We hold her in our prayers, as we do all our Associates. If you're reading this regularly and are not yet an Associate, you should definitely check our Associates webpage and get in touch with Br. Josép, our Director of Associates.
This week, we got delivery of great garden and patio furniture. These beautiful teak pieces were made possible by a generous gift to spruce up the welcome on our grounds. We believe our future guests will appreciate. In the meantime, the monks are dutifully testing them, just to make sure they are comfortable enough...
This week, we celebrated Br. Randy's birthday. At 55 years old, he's still considered a youth in our neck of the woods.
|Archive pictures of the Birthday Boy, Br. Randy.|
This past Saturday, we had the committal of Br. Thomas Schulz. His ashes had arrived from Santa Barbara a couple of weeks ago. We prayed over his remains and blessed them before putting them in our columbarium, down in the crypt under our church. It is always moving to put one of our Brothers to rest in the heart of our home. And it is a humbling reminder that we too are "ashes to ashes, and dust to dust."
The last two weeks have been beautiful in the gardens. We also welcomed two new colonies of bees. Br. Aidan and Yanick Savain will be our beekeepers. I will give a hand when needed. Br. Aidan has named the bee hives with the names of beguines (bee-guines, get it?); Mechtilde (of Magdeburg) and Hadewijk (of my native Brabant province in Belgium).
|Flowers and bees. From top left, clockwise: sprigs of lilac on my desk; the Mechtilde beehive; the Hadewijk beehive; "black" parrot tulips; wild columbines growing on a rock.|