One of my former students and friend, Nancy, comes from Indiana every month to our Oblate meetings. She stays overnight and we have some wonderful visits. Her daughter Jeannie recently said, “Mom, what do they do there all that time – just pray?” Well, Jeannie, far from it … although we do pray while we work!
One of St. Benedict’s teachings is “Ora et Labora.” It means we are to pray and work. Our days are filled with many activities besides the times set aside specifically for prayer and our ministry work, though. We also enjoy conversation and the companionship of each other. We know leisure is healthy for each of us!
There is often something special happening here at the Monastery as well. For example, last week we had the annual gathering of our Oblates. Each year we sponsor a special speaker to educate and inspire us all. Sister Meg Funk, OSB was the speaker this year and she was amazing.
Later that weekend, we enjoyed the privilege of hosting Sister Joan Chittister, OSB for 2 nights. Joan is an internationally known author and lecturer. She was giving a lecture in our area and we felt honored to have her speak to us and stay with us. What I like best about Joan is she is so human, funny, down to earth, practical, and one of those people whose words inspire you to be the best you can be. As famous as she is, she makes you feel you are the famous one! In our gift shop we have many of her books and I asked her which book she would recommend. She suggested the one she just completed called The Monastery of the Heart.
I am reading that book now. I love it ! I think you would also. Joan invites each one of us to become monastics of the heart. She wrote the book for anyone who is searching for God, and my friend, that includes both of us.
By the way, if you go to our website and click on Oblates you can learn all about our Oblate program. It would be nice if you were an oblate … but I am praying that you will be more. Why? Because, if you are discerning a vocation – if you are searching for God in a community – you are the one I am particularly praying for. Maybe our community is not the right “fit” for you – and maybe it is! The only way you will know is to come and see for yourself. This coming Sunday we are having open house to celebrate the 10th anniversary of our move from Nauvoo to Rock Island. Come look us over and stay awhile!
I must stop now. It is time for Peter’s piano lesson. As I have been writing to you I keep looking at the beauty of the trees. No one paints the colors of autumn like God. Wherever you are, I imagine you have the same beautiful landscape. So as you view your trees and I view mine let us pray for each other. As the leaves fall gently and cover the ground may blessings and graces fall gently upon your soul.
Sister Mary Jane