Santa Rita Abbey 2021 Summer Update–part 1
We are so thankful that all our Sisters were fully vaccinated this past spring. We continue to pray for all those suffering from Covid and for all the medical professionals and volunteers who are working so hard on behalf of our global human family. Because the US has yet to achieve herd immunity, we are keeping our chapel and retreat house closed to the public. If you haven’t yet been vaccinated, we urge you to prayerful consider getting the vaccine now.
We were delighted to have Fr. Mark Scott return here this March for a few more months of sabbatical time and ministry as our chaplain. Having experienced Holy Week and Easter in 2020 with no priest at all, it was all the more wonderful to have a priest this year. In mid-July Fr. Mark returned to his home monastery, Our Lady of New Clairvaux in Vina, CA. Thank you, Fr. Mark, for sharing your sabbatical with us!
Our first in-house visitor in many months was Annette, a woman who is discerning her vocation to monastic life. Her arrival date was delayed twice because of the pandemic, but she made it here at last on Easter Wednesday. After two weeks in quarantine, Annette was welcomed into the monastic enclosure to live with us for six weeks. She prayed in choir with us (see featured photo above), shared in our work (everything from washing windows to preparing dinner to sorting altar breads), slept in the dormitory, attended novitiate classes and community chapters, and had spiritual direction with the novice mistress, Sister Rita, as well as with our superior and vocation director, Mother Vicki. We loved having her with us, and she enjoyed her time here as well. God bless you, Annette! Please join us in praying for her as she reflects on her experience and discerns her next step.
Another visitor in our midst is Sr. Katie from our motherhouse, Mt. St. Mary’s Abbey in Wrentham, MA. As our elder sisters are finding that they need more assistance in their daily living, we applied to our motherhouse for help. Mother Sofia and her community generously lent us their infirmarian, Sr. Katie, for a few months. What a treasure Sr. Katie is with her medical and monastic expertise and her kindhearted spirit! That’s Sr. Katie and our Sr. Sharon in the photo to the right. Sr. Sharon, who is a physical therapist, helps in the infirmary. She and Mother Vicki are learning all they can from Sr. Katie in these precious few months.
As drought conditions persist throughout the western U.S. wildfires are raging. This year there are no fires near us, but the smoke on our horizons from fires further north and west has made for red sunrises. We pray daily for the protection of all fire fighters and those communities in the path of the fires. We pray for rain, too!
The photos below are from this June here at Santa Rita: 1) A red sunrise on June 22, just two days after the summer solstice, 2) Our cemetery in June–the local deer know where to come to find green grass, 3) Prickly Poppies (a.k.a. Cowboy’s Fried Egg) flourish in our fields in the dry summer heat.