Journal

We just had a real rainstorm. It lasted five minutes, but what can you expect. It was honest rain and even hail, with a lot of wind. The Monsoons have not yet evaporated. There has been trouble with some type of caterpillar. They ate one whole walnut tree outside the Altar Bread building, and have moved on to the pecan tree in the dog yard. In addition, this is the season in which flies and gnats seek shelter within doors. They are little creatures of God, but STILL... The Holy Father has asked for a day of fast and prayer on Saturday. So we moved our Friday soup-and-bread lunch to Saturday, and included in our Celebration of Word and Communion a prayer for...

Because of our large windows, the outside comes inside. Because we live in such a marvelous physical manifestation of God, we develop a particular intimacy with the natural world he has given us. Bells have a sacramental quality and relate to the beauty with which we live. They speak out across the glorious western landscape and their melody carries the prayer we offer for God's world. Our entire life is a kind of sacrament--an outward manifestation of  the Gospel invitation to dwell quietly in the immensity of creative beauty. And your life? exactly the same, the search for eternal glory in the humblest place and action, in the sweet...

  Here is Cathy with the icon of Eternal Wisdom. there is something infinitely deep about the "writing" of icons, and no one who has dipped ever so slightly into its mystery is left untouched. Cathy has obviously artistic talent, but she had never done icons before coming to  us. The heart stops, and the breath slows when in the presence of an artistry which makes concrete the work of the Spirit of God in paint, prayer, and self-giving. one can hesitate to say, "her" icon, because the image is so much an expression of the eternal which it represents. it does not belong to the one from whose body and...

Dear Friends, My favorite tomato from beside the church is gone. Esther picked it and it weighs one and a half pounds. We look forward to tomatoes that taste like tomatoes. They are knobby and funny-looking but they outclass the perfectly round, anemic sort you get in the market, which hardly deserve the name tomato. Father Robert celebrated his eighty-something birthday on the Solemnity of St Bernard. How about that—being born to be a Cisterican. I prayed for our Jewish brothers and sisters. Many Jewish men are called Bernard because St Bernard got up out of his sick bed to go to Cologne and save the local Jews from a pogrom. “When you touch a Jew, you touch the apple...

August 11, 2013 Dear Ones, Today is clear, warmish, and sunny. I hope the monsoons are not over. They have given us our only rain for ages. And the grass leaps up as if it would never see moisture again. We look like Ireland, believe me. A day after Abel cuts it, back it is, waving in the breeze. This morning we had a squirrel at Mass—well, not inside, but right in front of the window behind the altar. At first it was in a prayer position—you know how squirrels sit on their haunches and put their little paws together. Then it scampered away. We are on the verge of having—pardon me—tomatoes. Not the kind you dump into your cart...

      We are getting used to seeing Cathy in her new black veil. Cathy came to us from the Missionary Sisters of Korea, and has her Green Card for US Permanent Residency. She is a delightful, talented and generous sister to us all, and we are grateful for such a gift of God. Her darling mother, in a traditional Korean dress she had made for herself, was our guest of honor, together with Cathy's sister and husband. Our Brothers of Erlac attended the Mass, with our Sister Lupita of the Benedictines in town, a priest from the local Korean community, and many of our "parishioners." Of such days are memories made.

June 24, 2013 Dear Friends, We keep getting forecasts of rain. We even get congratulations on same. The only thing we don’t get is rain. I spent a week in Kentucky for a meeting, and the air was so humid you could wring it out. We do have a bit of humidity—monsoons are upon us—but it never coalesces into water. The meeting I attended, for directors of the Junior Professed, was exceptionally good, and we expect great things for our formation program. The new Regional Secretary of Formation is very well qualified and creative. The participants were open and inventive. Fr Carlos of the host house, Gethsemani, couldn’t have done more for us. It is always a privilege to participate...

June 8, 2013 Dear ones, We had the most wonderful community day for Cathy’s Profession. What we do in these circumstances is to descend upon the kitchen and pitch in together to prepare the meal for next day as far as we can ahead. So on the Profession Day we are free to concentrate on the Big Spiritual Event without getting caught up in the lunch. It’s a wee bit crowded but much fun. Actually, it’s hard to convey what this kind of day is like. It is so joyous, so fun, so human and deeply spiritual all at once. Of course, as our prioress stresses in her talks, it is in the ordinary and the daily that we find...

June 6, 2013 Dear Friends, It feels as if the monsoon has begun. They date it by the dew point, but one can feel the humidity, and the increasing heat. This does not mean we will get rain. We can hope, of course, and pray. It would be so nice to have rain. The grass panics at the first drops and shoot sup greenly, so that we look like Ireland. Well, almost. Speaking of which, we had a little part for Msgr. Cahalane before he went on his annual trip home. This is the fiftieth anniversary of his Ordination, so his well-beloved parish gave him a Big, Sacred Blow-out. We were invited, but being cloistered, and liking small gatherings, we...

May 16, 2013 Dear Friends, A couple of quail have taken up residence outside my window. There are few things cuter than quail. Our Iris season is almost gone. Great gratitude to the hybridizers. Think of it: huge white ones with orange beards; yellow with white falls edged with more yellow; velvety, deep wine; pale blue; very dark purple; multi-colored stripes —and when they stand there in all their majesty with the sun inside, what more could you ask. If you go by the tulip tree when it is in bloom, you might pass by the bloom. The flowers are green—yes green, with yellow and orange at the base. These also are at their best with the sun inside. We...