Something NEW in Clyde!

Hello Friends,

I have been eager to tell you some exciting news happening here in Clyde… but first I have to back track a little and give you some history.

As you know we make and sell altar breads to many parishes across the country. We also sell breads to other religious communities who re-distribute our breads. One of these customers is a community of Carmelite Sisters in Jefferson City, MO. They themselves made altar breads and also sold our breads to their customers.

In the past several years, their community has gotten increasingly smaller, to the point that there are now only 3 sisters in their community. They decided that this Year of Faith would be one of deep discernment for them as they ponder what God was calling them to do in the future, how He was leading them to continue their lives of prayer. They could no longer do the altar bread work as they had – so they graciously referred all their customers to us. That helped alleviate SOME of their work load but not all of it. After meeting with them about altar bread business we asked how we could help them. The Mother Superior asked if the 2 other sisters in community (who are 70 & 80) could come to our place to make a retreat as they had not been able to do so for several years. We of course agreed …. and that began a chain of events that we didn’t expect.

The sisters who came for retreat/rest loved their time with us and we loved having them. We could see how the smallness of their community was a difficulty for them and at the same time we saw how much they embodied the Carmelite charism. Our shared love of the contemplative life and Divine Office made us kindred spirits. There was such a lovely connection that we asked them to consider relocating their Carmel on our property as part of their discernment. They did so and it wasn’t long at all till they replied with a wholehearted and enthusiastic YES!

They are, of course, very sad to leave their Carmel in Jefferson City. They have deep roots in that area and are a very important prayerful presence in their diocese. They will continue to be under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Jefferson City and will continue to offer prayers and sacrifices for the good people of that diocese (as well as all the world). But their physical location will be on our property.

Saint Paul's guesthouse, this is where our Carmelite Sisters will re-locate their Carmel!

We have a old and lovely guesthouse very near our chapel that was built in the 1920s. It served as the Chaplain’s house for many years before it became a guest space for us. It will become the residence of the Carmelite sisters. They will be close enough to join us for prayer and Mass as well as meals if they so wish. They will also have a kitchen andsmall chapel in their house if they choose to eat and pray there. As the sisters age we have invited them to reside in our health care facility on our Clyde property.

As of Dec 2,2013 the Carmelite Sisters of Jefferson City will be relocated on the property of the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in Clyde MO. We are so excited and happy to welcome them. We know they are women of deep prayer and their presence can only enrich our lives. They are eager to join us but the transition and leave-taking of their property and home as well as saying goodbye to their many benefactors and friends will be painful and difficult.  So,  please keep them in your prayer.

So that’s our good news! We are grateful to be part of this small sign of unity in our Church!

A Day in my life – Part II

Here’s Part I in cased you missed it..

So… we left off after noon dishes.

1:15-1:45 PM Met with our cooks – this time of year we have employee evaluations.  Brenda has been cooking for us for about 20 years and Rachel is for just a few months!  They are both exceptionally good at their jobs and so evaluating them was a joy not a chore.

1:45-2:00 One of our sisters is a potter – she was excited about some new items that she had just taken out of the kiln so I stopped by the pottery to ooh and aah over her work.   They were truly quite lovely – she had an assortment of mugs, bowls, vases, and small holy water jars.  She will sell them in our gift shop.

2:00-3:00 – Back to my office.  I spend more time with our chronicles and also getting some paperwork done.

3:00-4:00 Met with one of our women in formation.  Every week I meet individually with each of our women in formation.  This is a time for us to continue to discern how they are progressing in their spiritual journey with us, how they are adjusting to monastic life and to talk about any concerns, questions or issues they may have.  It is a sacred time as we are treading on the holy ground of the soul.  It is a tremendous responsibility that my community has entrusted to me.  I am grateful for their confidence in me.

4:00-5:30 Office work and some personal prayer time.  I am the most tired at this time of day.  I try to walk or move around a bit – if I sit too long I will fall asleep!

5:30-6:00 Evening prayer with the community.

6:00 – 6:40 Supper – This is our lighter meal of the day.   We usually have things out for sandwiches, perhaps some leftovers from the noon meal and always a big salad bar.  Since we’ve been blessed with a lot of homegrown lettuce I have been enjoying salads in the evening.  Another summer perk besides the fresh produce is the option to eat outside on our porch.  We have a lovely long covered porch that runs the length of our refectory.   These days before the full heat of summer hit are the best for dining al fresco!

7:00-7:15 Community gathering.  Almost every night we have a brief meeting for any announcements that need to be made or if a sister wants to share anything with the whole community.  It is in this space, too, that we offer apologies to the community if we have in anyway disturbed the peace of the house.

7:15 (or whenever we finish with Gathering) – Compline (Night Prayer) in chapel.  This is our last prayer together for the day.  It is my most favorite of all our prayer times.  It is the same every night.  We sing psalms 4, 91, and 134.  We have a brief Scripture reading and then we sing the Canticle of Simeon (Luke 2:29-32).  We end with a blessing and a Marian hymn.  Since it doesn’t change from day to day most of us have it memorized so we sing it in the chapel in the dark.  It is a lovely quiet way to end the day.

7:30-8:30 Wrap up the day – I went by the kitchen and make sure the stoves are off and the lights are out.  I went back to my office and called my sister to wish her for her birthday.

8:30-9:00PM – Bedtime!  I take time to do an “examen” – to look over my day with God and ask His forgiveness for ways I failed to do His will and for grace to do it better tomorrow.  I take time to pray for my family and friends.  I usually need a little “brainless” reading to fall asleep – usually a novel or something light to help me wind down.   Then, lights out -I try really hard to turn the lights out by 9:30 because that alarm goes off pretty early!

So… that’s one day in my life.  The community prayer schedule rarely varies, my morning and afternoon activities change a bit from day to day.  For example, Thursday mornings I do the community grocery shopping, Tuesday afternoons we have longer community meetings, and Sundays have more leisure time. However, by and large, my life is fairly consistent and regular.

As I read over this post and my last, I thought… this sounds pretty boring.   Happily, I don’t experience this life as boring.   I am grateful for the gift of my vocation.   I feel so blessed to able to have my day arranged and ordered around times of prayer and contemplation and to have the support of my community, my sisters in Christ, who encourage and help me to grow in holiness .  I am so very thankful for the ability to pray for others… to continue this ministry that has been given us to pray for “all people, of all places, at all times.”   May our lives continue to be a witness to the Kingdom of God and bring Him glory!.

 

A Day in my Life – part I

I’ve been wanting to blog more often but I can’t ever seem to think of anything interesting to blog about… so I took it to Twitter and the first suggestion was my day to day life … thanks, Kelly!

So here was my day yesterday!

4:00 am – Alarm goes off -I would love to say that I jump out of bed eagerly every day… but most days its a bit of a battle.  I do try to make my first conscious thoughts and words a prayer – offering my day to God and invoking His aid.

4:15-4:45 Exercise… we have an elliptical but it needs a new belt (or ball bearings or something… you start talking mechanics and all I hear is blahblahblah) … so I used our circuit machines.  Not my favorite exercise routine but necessary!

4:45-5:30 – Shower, dress etc – I know it’s a lot of time but I do NOT like to rush in the mornings.

5:30-6:30 – Personal prayer time and lectio.  I  pray with the Mass Readings for the day and I pray the Rosary. (Note another blog idea!)

6:30 -7:00 Lauds – Morning Prayer with the community

7:00-7:30 Read the newspaper or check news online

7:30-8:00 – Mass

We try to keep “silence” in the morning until after Mass.  This means that we only talk if really necessary and even then we try to use a quiet voice.  So after Mass, there is usually more sound in the house as we begin our day and greet one another.

8:00 – Check in with cooks – I am the kitchen manager for our monastery.  We have 2 women that cook for us during the week.  It’s my job to prepare the menus and do the shopping and food ordering.  Every morning I check in with our cooks to make sure they are okay with the menu and see if they have any questions. Also, I confirm the number of people who will be at the meal.  Our main meal is at noon and it’s pretty substantial.  The meal for today is  peppers  stuffed w/ground chicken and rice, oven roasted zucchini and creme de menthe cake.  YUM!

8:30 – 9:15 am met with the copier repairman – We have a large copier that we lease.  I don’t remember how it became my responsibility but it is… so when the lid broke I had to call in the repairman.  He was very nice but didn’t have the part we needed (again I heard blahblahblah) but it’s been ordered so help is on the way!

9:15 – finally ate breakfast!  Breakfast is the only meal we have “on our own”.   This means there is not a set meal time – we each get our breakfast whenever we want to eat.  Some sisters eat early,  I usually choose to eat after Mass but since the repairman was here I ate a bit later.

9:40ish – finally get to my office.   I am the formation director for our Congregation which means I work with  the new women who enter our community hoping to become full sisters.  It is a minimum of six years of preparation.  I am their director for the first three years which consist of the postulancy and the novitiate (a whole other topic to explore in a future post!).

Also work on another new project – our chronicles.  We keep a brief day to day journal of what happens in the monastery.  We have these records dating back to our beginnings in 1874!  The sister that usually does this task became sick suddenly and will probably have a long recovery so I was asked to fill in for her for the next few months.  I discovered however that she had not done the last weeks of May so I have been trying to think back and fill in the blanks.

11:45 – stop office work and head to chapel.  We have a time of community prayer before our main meal.   Its about 20 minutes long – 10 minutes of which is spent in silence.   Its a nice way to re-focus our minds after a busy morning.

12:20-1:15 – Dinner and dishes! We eat the meal together.  We call our dining room the “refectory” – a monastic term for the place where you eat.  We have tables that seat six – there is no assigned seating.  We do speak at our meals, a way of recreating with each other.  After the meal – every one helps with dishes.  We are assigned either to the big dishwasher that does the plates and utensils or the kitchen where we wash the pots and pans.  I am assigned to the kitchen.  I also take this time to talk to the cooks about supper preparations.

so… that’s was my morning yesterday.  Stay tuned for the afternoon adventures!

 

 

HABEMUS PAPAM!

Well, here we are on the eve of our new Holy Father’s Inaugural Mass.

The last month has been a momentous one in the Church.  Pope Benedict’s resignation was unexpected and alarming to some – was he seriously ill or perhaps dying? Were the scandals in the Church too much for him to face?  This hasn’t been done in 600 years… is he making a statement about changing the papacy??  It seems like the most simple and likely answer is that he is frail and most likely in failing health.  He was wise enough to know that he could not steer the barque of Peter with the sureness that was needed at this time.  With great humility, he recognized that there was someone else who could do it better than he could.  After his final farewells, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI quietly entered Castel Gandolfo to live a life of prayer for the Church.  Outside the castle walls, the world erupted in chatter about when the next Pope would be elected and more importantly WHO it would be. I am a dedicated Pope-aphile.  I love all things Vatican and I jumped in with both feet reading and researching who the likely candidates could be.

I grew up with John Paul II.  I loved him for his ease with the people and his love of the young.  In my college years, his World Youth Day addresses made me feel like I was part the Church NOW… not just the future of the church.  His writings on the Theology of the Body changed my whole way of thinking.  He made me want to live my faith vibrantly and faithfully.  Then he died and Pope Benedict XVI stepped into the famous red shoes of the fisherman.  I wasn’t sure what to think of our new Holy Father… he was quieter, didn’t seem quite as comfortable with the spotlight.  Yet, his writings moved me, here was a deep thinker with the ability to make even complex theology understandable.  His love of Jesus and personal relationship with Him was evident and just as I was beginning to love Benedict XVI, he retired!

As the days of the Conclave approached, I joined my sisters in daily prayer for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Some were saying they wanted a pope who was this or a pope from here … I didn’t have any strong preferences.  I think I secretly hoped he might be from the US but really – I just wanted one who would lead us in holiness.

Enter Pope Francis!  Jorge Mario Cardinal  Bergoglio was one of the names I heard mentioned in my web-surfing.  I was excited about him as he was from South America and yet of Italian descent – a bridge perhaps.  So… I was thrilled when I heard his name read after the HABEMUS PAPAM!!  WOW!  A pope from the new world, a Jesuit, FRANCIS… all kinds of firsts were happening.  His papacy is still in its natal stages – yet, I love him already.  He is humble, gentle, funny, and kind.  These things have already been seen.  He is devout, prayerful, and committed to the teachings of the Church, this, too has already been witnessed.  Now what remains to be seen is how he will shepherd and administer this unruly flock of sheep that has been entrusted to his care.  I imagine it will be by showing us how to live lives of simplicity and holiness.  The Holy Spirit is with him, the prayers of 1.2 billion people are supporting him, and he has entrusted himself to the protection of the Blessed Mother – he’s starting off on the right foot – even if it’s not in a red shoe!

VIVA IL PAPA!! VIVA!