25 November 2009

One of those days

I woke up this morning with a throbbing headache, sore throat, stuffed-up nose. Yet my first thought was: Thank you God for letting me be at this abbey! And I meant it as a sincere prayer of Thanksgiving.

I suppose it is apt that the day before the colonies... erm, I mean, the United States of America celebrates a Thanksgiving Day: God has filled my heart with gratitude.

Happy Thanksgiving Day and God Bless you all.


22 November 2009

A Visit to Stroud

We in the novitiate have had a fairly busy week. The highlight of it came early: on Tuesday. We visited The Monastery of Our Lady and St. Bernard in Brownhills, near Stroud, Gloucestershire. It is a community of Bernardine Cisterician nuns. They were most welcoming and hospitable.

Before we got there, we popped in to visit the chapel of Prinknash Abbey, a Benedictine abbey. As we were leaving there we met a couple of the monks there. It is unfortunate that we were pressed for time. We were not able to visit with the community - although the very kindly invited us to. I would love to make another visit to Prinknash.Fr. Terry and Brother Paul: Novice Master and Assistant Novice Master,repectively (and respectully) with Prinknash (pronounced Prinnish) Abbey in the background.

When we got to they Bernardine Cistercian we got the grand tour from our own Fr. Peter C., who is their chaplain. I really liked their Early English (Gothic) styled chapel. The original part of it being from the 1850's. Back then an Anglican community lived there, and they helped women who were involved with prostitution to get off the streets. In another "incarnation" this was a place for priest and religious with substance abuse issues to come for help. In the chapel you can feel that this is a place of healing.If you look closely at the picture you can see a rainbow over the chapel.

At 12:30 we sang the Office of Sext with the sisters, after which we had dinner and a walk on the commons. The monastery is set on the edge of the Cotswold a truly beautiful part of England. The sisters wished to extend their hospitality to us - even offering us use of the guest house if we wished to stay overnight. It was a lovely offer, but we had to head home.

13 November 2009

A few fall photos

Here is a peak at our lovely autumnal weather around the abbey. Some complain that winter is just around the corner, but I am going to enjoy this while it lasts. So on this day, The Feast of All Saints who fought under the banner of the Rule of St. Benedict, relax and enjoy these photos. While I relax with an afternoon off of manual labour.

God's Blessings and Peace to you all!

06 November 2009

Mount St. Bernard Abbey: Update

Well I have been here at the abbey for 5 weeks now, and there have already been some changes:
One of the brothers was ordained deacon. He was ordained by the Bishop of Nottingham. Because of his tight schedule a Dominican brother came to the abbey to be ordained too. The Dominican had been born profoundly deaf, but with speech therapy and modern hearing aids (and I am sure plenty of lip-reading), he is able to communicate quite well. Both of them should be ordained in about six month.

My fellow postulant was "clothed" on the All Saints Day; now I am postulating on my own. He took the name Rafael after Rafael Arnaiz Baron a Trappist Oblate who was canonized a few weeks ago by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. St. Rafael was noted for his self-abandoning love for God, humility and detachment. He is a very apt patron for our Brother Rafael. Please pray for him.

So until the end of January -God Willing- there will be two novices and a postulant. Then we have a man scheduled to join the postulancy, and two more in the Spring-time. With God's great grace we shall have a pretty full house.

And one personal note about my blog: I have now have at least one visit from every continent on the planet, including Antarctica (thx Melanie). I am still marveled (and grateful) at the amount of readers that I have. God Bless you all.