This afternoon we had the joy of welcoming our brother, Bishop Christopher Cardone, OP, bishop of the Diocese of Auki, Solomon Islands. Bishop Chris, as we fondly call him, is a native of Long Island, NY and from the Province of St. Joseph. He was home visiting after his ad limina visit with our Holy Father. He shared with us the experience of his visit to Rome and then enthusiastically shared with us the growth of the Church in the Solomon Islands and the people that are so dear to him! Bishop Chris told us that the diocese of Auki has a population of about 150,000 people and that this year 7 men were ordained to the priesthood! Families are large and Bishop Chris says the children are always so well-behaved and happy! Unfortunately the WHO is trying to make inroads, trying to convince the families to have less children. Currently abortion is illegal. Families love having children.
Bishop Chris hopes that someday there will be a monastery of cloistered Dominican Nuns! Already there are Poor Clares and Carmelites. Of course, his wish is a BIG HINT to us and who knows if someday it will be God's will that we go to the Solomon Islands!
After visiting in the community room we gave Bishop Chris a tour of our garden. Finally, we got a photo with him just before he left!
As contemplative, missionaries have a very deep place in our hearts and their visits encourage us in our hidden life of prayer. It is such a great grace to have our missionary brother with us. May the Lord bless Bishop Chris and may he know the strength of our prayer in his pastoral care of his people.