The Unexpected

Contrary to popular belief, life in a monastery is never boring! Although there is a regular rhythm and pattern to our days, the unexpected always pops up. Last Sunday one of the sisters unexpectedly stumbled (not literally!) across an unusual animal in our enclosed yard. After much discussion, debate, photos and videos it was determined to be an incredibly mangy red fox. Although it is missing the beautiful bushiness of a normal fox tail, it still has a white tuft at the end! We've had foxes out back before, and we've recently had many reports of a fox in the front of our property, but this creature did not look familiar at first because of its pitiful state. Every year there are reports of rabid foxes in the area, so we kept our distance and locked Sabina inside.

The next day another unexpected event occurred, though of an entirely different type. In the middle of the afternoon a flood of water suddenly deluged our walk-in fridge in the basement. Consequently the water was unexpectedly shut off. It turns out there was a bit of a construction blunder by the electricians who have been installing wiring through our basement for the new wing. The blunder caused a very old water pipe above the fridge to be knocked apart, causing the flood. After supper Sr. Mary Magdalene, our 'handy-nun', pointed out the problem pipe to our prioress, Sr. Mary Martin, as they balanced on ladders. Thankfully they were able to partially fix it within a few hours and the water was turned back on later that night. It reminded us how blessed we are to have clean safe running water, something that 2.1 billion people around the world do not have access to.

Independence Day

Our annual retreat ended on the Fourth of July, perfect timing! Fr. Richard Ounsworth OP, our Retreat Master and member of the English Province of Dominicans, was a good sport about celebrating the Independence Day Mass for us, although it was a bit odd to hear an English priest pray for "our nation" in the closing prayer! 

In the morning sisters congregated in the community room, some played Settlers of Catan, others enjoyed conversation, and all had their American history knowledge tested by Sr. Maria Agnes. Before office we invited Fr. Richard on a tour of the new wing. It is really progressing! 

We enjoyed a 'picnic' dinner in the community room, as it was much too hot outside. While the heat wasn't conducive to a picnic it was perfect for a water-balloon fight in the afternoon! These water-balloons were a much appreciated gift from one of the men working on the new wing. 

We ended evening recreation with the National Anthem, but that wasn't the end of the festivities! If you are a longtime reader of our blog you'll remember that every year the younger sisters climb up to the roof on the Fourth of July to watch the fireworks. Some years you can see as many as 13 different towns' firework shows! Years ago sisters would congregate under an apple tree and be able to see Summit's fireworks over the our enclosure wall. Over time the surrounding trees grew up and blocked the fireworks.

This year we had a new plan! While visiting the new wing as it has been going up, we realized it might give us a great view of the fireworks. So after Compline while the novitiate climbed to the roof another group of sisters walked over to what will be the guest area of the new wing. It was the perfect view for all the higher fireworks! 

Annual Retreat

This evening we begin our annual 8-day retreat! Our retreat master this year is Fr. Richard Ounsworth, OP, a Dominican from the Province of England.

Please keep us in your prayers during this time of retreat and be assured that you are in our prayers as well.

During this time of retreat we will not be able to fill any orders from the online store or requests for special enrollments. You can still obtain 'standard' enrollments from our wonderful volunteers in the monastery gift shop office between the hours of 9:30 and 4 Monday through Saturday. The gift shop will also remain open.

During retreat the monastic schedule will be slightly changed:

  • Rosary & Sext               11:30 AM
  • Conference in Vespers 5:00 PM
  • Compline                      7:00 PM 

Mass will be at the usual times.

Virtual Tour

Would you like to take a virtual tour of our new wing? This video was created for our Gala to give our benefactors an idea of what the new wing would be like. The furniture, paintings, etc. are not accurate, but the layout is! And don't worry, the bricks won't be red but will match our existing building. They've actually already begun bricking in the back, and we are so excited that this giant steel monster in our yard is starting to look like part of our monastery! You can see the beginning of the bricking in the slideshow below.

A little warning: our invisible tour guide appears to have a resurrected body, as it goes through doors instead of opening them. 

Times are Changing!

...on our sign, that is! We've had this sign board on our lawn for ages and while our horarium has changed over the years the times listed on the sign have not! We thought this was because the key to get into the sign was lost. Sr. Mary Magdalene was going to break into the sign, but she found the "missing" key first which made it a much easier task.

At evening recreation sisters crowded around the board, plucking out the fragile old yellow numbers with their pocket knives and figuring out a new arrangement. It was quite a project! Some letters were missing in one size and some in the other, most of the punctuation was missing as well. Once we had everything sorted we had a little fun making faces with the left over shapes and letters. 

Cherry Season!

Can you believe the fruit picking season has already begun? It seems as though our cherry blossoms changed into plump crimson cherries in the blink of an eye! The netting successfully kept the birds out this year (so far, anyways!), and a few days ago some of the sisters began picking. This year, instead of taking the netting off of the bushes they found it much easier to just duck under the netting and pick from the inside! With this nice warm sunny weather the fruit is ripening quickly. Our bushes are Carmine Jewel Dwarf cherries, a tart cherry perfect for pies. Sr. Mary Catharine's first cherry pies of the season already debuted and they were a hit!