Comings and Goings
The call to the monastic life is unique and certainly not for everyone. It is not an easy path and one that St Benedict refers to as the narrow gate. It is counter-cultural in that monastics strive not for achievements and success, not for popularity and power, but for the ability to relinquish the desire for these things.
Traditional monastics take life vows of stability, obedience and conversion of life. Stability means that we commit to live in this place and in this community for life. Obedience is understood as listening for the will of God with the ear of the heart. Conversion of Life is seeking to evolve, transform, and grow in grace by turning away from self-will and turning toward the will of God.
Within these vows are the classic vows of poverty and celibacy. Monastics (monks and nuns) pool their resources and do not own anything and everything is held in common. Regarding celibacy, well – it means we must seek our intimacy with God and not in other ways.
This winter one of our members who was in first vows, decided that this was not the life for her. Michelle Johnston (MJ) left the community to be in a relationship. This happens and we only wish her well on her journey. Shortly after a young man, Shelby Nowland, came to test his vocation and we discerned together that the monastic life is not for him. There is a cost for us and for the greater community as we become attached and invested. This is normal and we all soon adapt and look forward to what is next.
What is next for us is an Alongsider. This is a rather new concept that has become popular with monasteries. It is an invitation for men and women to live in community, sharing in the Ora et Labora (Prayer and Work) that is the monastic rhythm. We currently have a priest with us the Reverend Todd Blackham. He often celebrates at our Friday Holy Eucharist and brings many other gifts that enrich our community life.
As many of you know, we lost our beloved four legged companion, Ziggy, at Thanksgiving. Well, we have been blessed to find a seven year-old Miniature Schnauzer who needed a home. His name is Ollie after Oliver Twist because when he came he was starving and always asking for more. He has a nice full tummy now and brings us great joy. He, like Ziggy, is the first to run to chapel when he hears the bell ring.
So we have comings and goings. In the midst of this we are flourishing and happy. We are immensely grateful for this life and for God’s hand in molding it and shaping it.
Please join us in prayer. Visit our website for times and up-coming events and retreats.