Prior's Journal, Dec. 9 - Jan. 29, 2010

In the rear view mirror: Some scenery is best enjoyed through the rear view mirror as we’re so glad to be moving forward and away from it. As everyone knows the month of December and early January could be labeled "Old Fashioned Winter." It certainly brought back memories of being snowed in (or out!) when we were young. The shock of celebrating Christmas and New Years with blasts of wind and snow did however provide many Currie & Ives winter scenes glistening in the morning sun. However, for those who were snowed in or for the farmers who couldn’t reach their livestock without cutting through fences the scene was not all that idyllic.

Life at the monastery continued along the familiar patterns of prayer and work. With the seminarians gone from Dec 19th until Jan 10 we had more quiet than usual and together with a few guests we could follow a more relaxed pace. The blizzard on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day itself meant that very few came for the Midnight Mass (only about twenty people) and very few on Christmas Day itself. As is our custom here, each afternoon during the Christmas season we had a short break in the common room for refreshments and Christmas snacks which had accumulated in the days before Christmas. Share and share alike is a good way to enjoy all the goodies and not be tempted to try to make them disappear all at once!

Home for the Holidays: It was good to have Brs. Victor, Anselm, and Paul with us during these days as they took a break from their studies at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., and at St. Vincent’s Archabbey. On Dec. 26 Brs. Victor and Paul received the Order of Lector and thus took another step closer to the sacred priesthood. They immediately took on various reading responsibilities in the house to put their newly acquired Office to good use. Fr. Frowin was home "in spirit" as he continues his studies at Rome.

Fr. Jeremy Driscoll OSB: Using his experience and expertise as professor of Sacramental Theology in Rome, this monk of Mt. Angel Abbey presented a series of conferences to us for several days after Christmas. His focus was on the liturgy of the Eucharist and provided a very refreshing and stimulating discussion on this sacrament which is an essential element of our daily prayer life. The Eucharist and our praying of the Liturgy of the Hours each day remind us of our important role of praising God but also lifting up the needs of the People of God.

The view through the front windshield: The guest department continues to host various groups and individuals who come for retreat and spiritual rejuvenation. Our retreat staff is booked with various confirmation retreats as well which utilize some of the seminarians who speak with and interact with the young retreatants. The school year continues to challenge faculty and students alike as we welcome new transfer students for the spring semester. We have many reasons to give thanks to our good and gracious God who leads us forward through the uncertainties of the future. For all of us its full speed ahead.

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