Journal

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...

APRIL 19, 2013 All the news is from Boston, if it is not from Korea. Why do we hurt each other so? All the news pours into a monastery's heart and runs out as prayer. We try. What else can we do but keep trying to love, and keep trying to rest in the sacrificial heart of Christ? A friend sent the loveliest video study of Boston--Boston before the disaster. I suffered a major attack of nostalgia. A couple of cities have my heart and one of them is Boston. We have just got over a couple of windy weeks. The kind of wind that shrieks and whines without reason. Now the trees have stopped shivering, and the sun smiles...

March 19, 2013 Sisters who have been in town for appointments or shopping tell us that people they have never met stop them to ask what they think about the new pope. It seems kind of sad that we should be so happy about a man who is simple, loving, and gifted with a touch for the other. Very sad, because shouldn’t every pope be that? Shouldn’t we all be that? I realize that personalities get in the way and can’t be helped. We are just blessed that the cardinals shuffled through their choices and picked a man who isn’t young and doesn’t have two lungs--but who has an enormous capacity for embodying the reason for the Church—“Little Children, love...

March 14, 2013 Well, it was quite a day. I was wondering why we had had no black smoke after the fourth scrutiny. I guess it was all wrapped up by then. But what were they thinking to wait a whole hour after the announcement, with the poor, soaking faithful in the square, and us hanging feverishly before our computers. Wasn’t he dear standing there with his arms down, and the dry humor of his first words. His cassock seemed to fit nicely on his chubby little frame. And thank God he broke the tradition and took a non-papal name. Aside from “Linus, Cletus, Clement etc”, most papal names are loaded. If he wanted his to make a statement, this...