Saturday 1st. The extra chairs from last night’s feast were put back in place. Father Bede has distributed cards detailing the change to the French-language Our Father which is to take effect in Canada as of Mass tomorrow.
Sunday 2nd. Dom Mark Scott, Abbot of New Melleray Abbey in Iowa, arrived last night. Happily, he will be staying with us as he takes part in the regular visitation of our Sisters’ Abbey.
Monday 3rd. The New Brunswick Archives Advisor was by to assess our archives: past work done on them; future work which could be done. In next to no time, she had done her work. The documents are almost in order. The photos are not. Certainly not. She said we have an unusually large number of photographs compared to religious communities similar to our own, with many early twentieth-century photographs. Glass negatives are in good condition. There is also in an uncatalogued cassette audio history; separate interviews with older monks.
Tuesday 4th. Snow comes crashing off the roof now and then. This morning for breakfast we had spinach toast left from supper. Today Simone our cook explained to the visiting Dom Mark her secret for making fish burgers.
Wednesday 5th. Steve had business in Rexton, New Brunswick today. It is a little-seen corner of the province. The way there led through villages and forests; and past the abandoned house where one of our monks, the late Brother Gerard Bordage was born.
Thursday 6th. The visitation finished at the Sisters, Dom Mark made his way back to Moncton today, in preparation for an early-morning flight tomorrow: he will be back in Iowa before lunch Friday.
Friday 7th. This afternoon, I rolled up the blind after my nap to find a very cold squirrel outside on my window sill. Given the distance from the ground it seemed an out of the way and less-than-convenient spot for him to be, and to judge from his look he agreed.
Saturday 8th. Simone made Danishes for us for breakfast this solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.
Sunday 9th. Father Bede has been working this week on a new printing of the liturgical books for Mass, the Gradual. Brother Stephan has found a used Korg Midi Sound Module for keyboards, which will give him a new palette of hundreds of sounds. He said it even has a Chisholm reverberator.
Monday 10th. A few Christmas cards from guests and friends have arrived. Each card’s written message reveals something of the sensitivity to Christ of the person who sent it.
Tuesday 11th. Bede finds that the new French translation of the Our Father is smoother in its verbal rhythm than the old one was. One realises the word ‘soumets’ stuck out, in the old translation, he said; hard not to agree.
Wednesday 12th. Slowly I’ve realized someone has spilled some Tim Horton’s coffee on the tile, ground floor, near the bulletin board. The distinctive smell helps give our corridor a festive feel.
Thursday 13th. Brother Stephan has been clearing snow on the dirt roads east of the monastery, leading through and out of our property. This is the circuit Brother Henry’s hermitage is on. It also leads past a big (for here) lake. It leads past old logging trails, and it is the loggers of today who hired him. We hear them sometimes, it is a faint and unusual sound. They are doing thinning, rather than clear-cutting.
Friday 14th. After some unscheduled hijinks with it, our farm truck is temporarily taking it easy. Meanwhile, our regular pick-up has gained a certain machismo, thanks to extensive service at the auto dealer’s shop.
Saturday 15th. The main message on the phone, giving access to different extensions, was changed this week with a little help from a technician. Brother Henry was in to the dentist this week. As she worked away, the hygienist was sharing her views on life, quite interesting. She wanted to know what it was like to be out of dairy farming. As has happened before, the person asking already has a detailed idea in her mind of what it would it be like, and whatever one says in reply plays off that.
Sunday 16th. At Eucharistic Adoration Advent Sunday evenings, we sing the long, lovely Rorate Caeli. ‘Heavens, Open.’