Journal

At our community chapter on March 25, the feast of the Annunciation of the Lord, we had the joy of clothing our postulant Sharon in the novice's habit. The simple ceremony took place between the 7:00 a.m. Office of Lauds and our 8:00 a.m. Scripture and Communion Service. (Yes, like the rest of the world, we cannot attend Mass right now, since our would-be chaplain must stay home.) Here...

You know that old saying, "Count your blessings"? That is exactly what we are doing in this first journal entry of 2020! Grasshopper mower First of all we wish to thank all those who so generously responded to the fundraising appeal in our Christmas newsletter. Our grounds workers, Felipe and Zach, love the rugged new Grasshopper mower which enables them to cut our large fields and yards with ease. As you can see in the photo below, Mother Vicki loves it, too! Thank you, one and all! Kitchen renovation project Speaking of our recent Christmas newsletter, you may recall that we were hoping to begin a kitchen renovation project in the monastery in early January this year. The project ran...

Merry Christmas! Here are a few glimpses of our Christmas Eve, Midnight, and Christmas Day celebrations. We hope that your own celebrations were full of wonder, grace and thanksgiving. We are blessed to have Fr. Thomas, a monk of New Clairvaux in Vina, CA, as our Christmas chaplain. Christmas Eve 4:00 p.m. Just before Vespers on Christmas Eve, we had our annual Christmas tree blessing. Fr. Thomas gave the blessing, and Mother Vicki turned on the tree lights for the first time.  Afterwards, we processed down the cloister where the lights draped over the window blinds are also lit for the first time this year.  In church we celebrated Vespers I of Christmas: the official Christmas Season has begun! Christ,...

Highlights from October, November, and the Season of Advent at our monastery of Santa Rita October Our annual private community retreat this year was held October 13-19. Our retreat master was Dom Eric Varden, abbot of Mt. St. Bernard's Abbey in England. Fr. Eric offered Mass for us each morning, and gave two retreat conferences each day. His talks were explorations and meditations on Genesis 1-3. We found them very enriching. That's Fr. Eric with us in our community photo above, and below, at Mass. November We were delighted to have our friend Fr. Joe Corpora spend three weeks with us. What a joy to have Mass every day! He shared in our Thanksgiving Day celebration, too. Two women participated...

Here's some highlights from August and September at our monastery of Santa Rita August We were delighted to meet our new parish pastor, Fr. Alex Tigga. He offered Mass for us on August 24th and stayed for brunch afterwards. We enjoyed learning about his native India and his early vocation to the priesthood. Sister Esther has kept us well supplied with fresh vegetables from her garden this summer. There's nothing like a home grown tomato, not to mention cucumbers, green beans, egg plant, peppers and beets! New Bell Ringers "It is the abbess' care to announce, day and night, the hour for the Work of God. She may do so personally or delegate the responsibility to a conscientious sister, so...

Forty years ago, in September of 1978, Arizona Highways magazine did an article about our monastery. Tim Fuller was the photographer in 1978, and last year he called Mother Vicki to ask if they could come back to visit us again for another article. Kelly Vaughn interviewed Mother Vicki and wrote the article. Tim Fuller did the photography. We thought they did a great job and so we want to share it with you. Enjoy! AzHighways_0819_SantaRitaAbbey (1)  

We were very happy to host a number of women interested in learning more about our Cistercian way of life for a beautiful and grace-filled Monastic Experience Weekend August 16-19. The days afforded participants with both personal reflection and group sharing time, as well as the opportunity to pray and talk with sisters and to share a meal with the community.   Here are a few of their reflections on the weekend: "I am so happy I carved out time to attend!" "There was a good balance of content and rest in prayer and reflection. I really enjoyed sharing dinner in the refectory, seeing the altar bread area and walking in the desert." "The program was so rich! I would...

As promised in our July post, here are more fawn photos! Since mid-August there has been only one fawn with the doe. We are afraid that something may have happened to the other fawn, but are hoping that maybe that doe moved her twins elsewhere and the doe and fawn hanging around now are a different family ... ? In any case, this fawn is growing up quickly. Already its spots are beginning to fade. A documentary film crew from the University of Arizona has visited us several times over the last year. We and a group of Sisters in Maryland are the subject of their film "Final Vows."  Vicky Westover has interviewed Mother Vicki and several of our Sisters....

  We've been blessed this summer to have several different visiting priests who have kindly offered Mass in our chapel during their stay. Sr. Hildgard's family friend, Fr. Josephat (pictured above), was here in early July. Not long after, the superiors of seven monasteries of our Order held their pastoral meeting in our family guest house, and the five abbots in the group took turns presiding at the daily Eucharist. In the photos below you see our Sisters enjoying an informal Sunday brunch with the superiors on the last day of the meeting, left to right: Fr. Charles of St. Benedict's Monastery in CO with Postulant Sharon; Sr. Margarita and Fr. Paul Mark of New Clairvaux Abbey in CA; Sr....

Feasts of the Lord All of the post-Easter season solemnities fell in the month of June this year: the Ascension of the Lord, Pentecost (photo above), Most Holy Trinity, Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ, along with the feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus on the last Friday of the month. In addition, June has two solemnities of its own: the Nativity of St. John the Baptist on the 24th, and Sts. Peter & Paul and the 29th. These are of course beautiful feasts, each with its our proper Office and Mass--lots of singing practices!--and each one a gift from God to draw us further into the mystery of God's love and saving power. Aren't these the...