The Monastic Mirror


Friday, January 8, 2010

This is Abbot Leo M. Ryska from St. Benedict's Abbey in Benet Lake, WI.  Abbot Leo and I are having difficulty with the coloring of words in the Rule.   It must be an American thing..

This is Father Alban Hood from Douai Abbey England clowning around....he is a kindred soul.  Fr. Alban is novice master of his community and has a beautiful tenor voice....he is cantoring for us.

I have missed a few of my classmates as they are photo shy.  They are from South Africa and of the Zulu tribe.  Sr. Ignatia is just one of these beautiful sisters.

Blessings to all....I continue to journey deep within the Rule of Benedict....Sr. John Paul

This is Brother Matthew Clarke from St. Leo's Abbey in Florida with Sr. Meg.  We were laughing as Brother Matthew became lost our first day and has since been dubbed our local tourist guide.

This is Father Michael Ryan OCist from Bolton Abbey in Ireland.  Fr. Michael is very tall as you can see but a real joy to be around. His homilies are very inspiring.

On your left is Sister Caritas Lee with one of her fellow Sisters from the Phillipines.  Sr. Caritas is from Seoul, South Korea and is a Supervisor of the Hospice program in the hospital. 

Meet Sister Ma Salete de Rocha from Brazil (left) and Sister Lumen Gloria Dungea from the Phillipines.  Both sisters have previous served as Prioress of one of the many communities of the Missionary Benedictines and are now currently in Rome.  Sister Salete is a counselor and Sister Lumen is a Supervisor.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

We come from near and far.....

Meet Dom Christopher Power and Brother Andre Melli.  Brother Christopher is on the right and is from New Nurcia, Australia.  He is currently on a sabbatical from being Rector, Business Manager for the next year.  After this course, he will go to St. John's Abbey for 10 months.

Brother Andre is from the Monsteiro de Sao Bento in Brazil.  This is the monastery that is connected to St. Vincent's Archabbey in Latrobe.  Some of my sisters will recognize Brother Andre from his visits to town.

Pictured to the right is Sister Meg Kahler, (Good Samaritan) from Sidney, Australia having coffee with Father Simon Peter.  Sister Meg teaches physical education in their secondary or high school.
Meet Sister Jaya Susay and Sister Veronica Robson.  Both are Benedictine Sisters of Grace and Compassion, England.

Sister Jaya just finished being prioress of her community for 6 years.  She is 35 years of age and a jewel as St. Benedict would say.

Both Sister Jaya and Veronica are a welcome addition to our class.

Fr. Simon Peter Njagua and Sister Scholastica Katono are from Uganda.  Sister Scholastica is a teacher while Simon Peter is a carpenter for his community in the Netherlands.

Brother Cosmas P.U. Ubadimbu is a Benedictine from Nigeria.  He only arrived yesterday due to security issues in his country.  His brother, who he had not seen in 5 years came last evening to visit with him.

We are one in Christ...Rule of Benedict

I will take this opportunity and a little everyday to introduce you to my classmates here in Rome below are Sisters Agnes, Irene and Imelda.  They are Missionary Benedictines.  Sister Agnes and Imelda visited the Mother-house in Germany before coming to this class.  Sr. Irene, just finished 8 years in China and will return home with her sisters after this class.  They will return to serve their country Windhoek, Namibia which is the former South Africa. They say "Blessings" or "Hello".

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

"Listen with the ear of your heart......"

It is spring time in Rome....and today during our "silent day of recollection"  I walked around the grounds of the monastery.  It is loaded with lemons, oranges, and cumquats.  I am told that the three together make a beautiful marmalade...but I have not tasted it.

The smells of the fruit after the morning rain tingled the senses...

Avacado's and Cabbage to be harvested..

It was during this walk that I realized God was talking to me with all of my senses....from the rich earth, the great smell of dirt, to the work of the Sisters, it all brought life to this was being reborn.  If you closed your eyes you could almost hear the plants growing....bursting with was a beautiful day to "LISTEN......"

Monday, January 4, 2010

Be a new Magi

It will be the Epiphany of our Lord Wednesday in Rome.  We Americans celebrated this past Sunday but I wanted to share the flavor of Rome with you and how this house will celebrate. 

First, the infants or Nativity Set is very plain and simple.  It includes the infant in a crib but no Blessed Mother, Saint Joseph or Animals.  The traditional manger scene is noticably absent within the convent and surrounding locales. 

In fact on Wednesday, the town will close and they will parade around with just the infant...indeed it is the celebration as it was probably intended long ago.  It is a time to see the bring gifts to the spend time with God.  You see the Magi traveled two years just to spend a short time with the Infant God.  They searched for Him under the stars with the threat of death....I wonder how many of us would search for God under these circumstances.  You see, Herod, in anger was killing all male infants under two years of age.  Sound familiar....we are killing young infants as well...either by abortion, birth control or by not caring enough to immunize, feed or care for these voice less little ones.  Are we like Herod...angry, blaming an innocent child for our troubles.  Well enough of me preaching...On Wednesday, the infants here will be honored, paraded and given gifts in commeration of the Epiphany of our Lord, 2010.  Be a new kind of Magi this year and seek God out....spend some time with the Lord.
God Bless from Rome.
Sr. John Paul

Sunday, January 3, 2010

This is the convent of the Benedictine Missionarie di Tutzing where I am staying.  As you can see from the picture, it is green and there are flowers blooming outside. 

The Sisters serve in various countries including the United States.  



Saint Benedict is the reason for my being here....It is the Intensive Study of the Rule of Benedict in the Land of Benedict. 

Our schedule is quiet full but I look forward to sharing with you all that this wonderful land and course has to offer.  In the mean time....I must get the items together for my class tomorrow..

Blessings and prayers
Sr. John Paul

I arrived safely in Rome.  The plane trip was long as we were delayed in Philadelphia waiting for 50 passengers from another airline to land.  This was the only flight for some of them.  We were welcomed by Sister Pia who is a gem.  She has everything organized for us, down to the last minute.  Our group for study is very diverse which will bring alot of flavor to this class...I look forward to there experiences.  This morning, the feast of the Epiphany in the United States is not celebrated here until Wednesday.  The whole area is closed that day for the feast.  They have told us that there is a parade with the Infant, flowers, etc.  I will hopefully get lots of pictures.
I am grateful for this opportunity to study!  I miss you all but you are in my prayers.
Sr. John Paul