Tuesday 1st. For the moment we’re fewer than usual. Brother Stephan has left the organ to sing Lauds and Vespers with us for a bit. Having him solo on hymns is a bit of a refresher course on ways to interpret a given melody, as he wrote the music to a lot of the hymns.
Michael who works for us has been getting dirty clearing away the last of the wreckage from the fire, his arms and face blackened by soot. At the same time, other workers have been tackling the reconstruction of the section of the garage which the fire affected but did not destroy.
Wednesday 2nd. Father Innocent arrived back to us, joyfully. Our cook is preparing a special, secret meal to share with some monastic visitors who’ll be by Friday.
Thursday 3rd. Some of Brother Leo’s dreams are striking. For instance; he dreams of strangers, simply seeing them there before him, without being able to tell who they are, then the dream ends.
Friday 4th. Father Jacques from Rougemont dropped by with a friend of his from Grand Falls. It had been many years since we had seen Jacques here. We are all in a way family, in Canada’s monasteries. The meal’s secret was: water chestnuts wrapped in bacon.
Saturday 5th. The crew building the replacement buildings are from Tracadie New Brunswick, work well and quickly. Outside of the garage are some huge sacks of fertilizer, singed by fire, no longer usable; also a set of fresh joists that will form the roof of the shop which is next up for construction.
Sunday 6th. Taking advantage of the long dry spell, a friend of ours climbed down onto the spillway at the grotto this week to sweep it clean. Confounding rain skeptics, it really rained today; not for hours and hours, but enough for water to seep into the foundation under the big, red doors. Laurie our farm hand said it was enough to do some good.
Monday 7th. The old cannery, as it is called, looks nice. It’s on the south side of the front lawn. Joe Leclair has done a great job repainting it. It is a building with character, and who knows how old. A member of our monastic family, Father Immediate Dom Clément arrived in time for Vespers and supper today.
Tuesday 8th. The ground hog, out back, has not been himself lately. The other day he glared at me more intensely than usual, then tore off. I didn’t think he could run so fast. Turns out he’s even charged on Father Innocent, without injuring him.
The Visitation having been opened in Chapter this morning, members of the community began to meet individually with Dom Clément to say how they see things here, taking as much or as little time as they wish. This evening, Clément showed us photos from home as well as videos showing the Mistassini chocolate factory. New video for the 50th anniversary of the invention of fresh blueberries covered in dark chocolate, the great, refrigerated, Lac Saint Jean treat.
Wednesday 9th. Maurice Gallant drove up to the monks’ cemetery (just outside the back door, to the left) with a little trailer load of new, wooden crosses. The white-painted wooden Crosses which had served well can no longer stand straight. Winter here is hard on them.
Dom Bede and Dom Clément visited Brother Henry today, in Dieppe.
Thursday 10th. Innocent found some blueberries growing in the backyard. They are bigger than the blueberries I remember picking in New Brunswick country fields as a boy. A better sight, still: Father Roger got back, as we were dining with Dom Clément and some of the Sisters to celebrate Dom Clément’s recent election as the eighth Abbot of Mistassini.
Friday 11th. A lone apple from the orchard has appeared next to the employees’ time clock. Today was the moment to close the Visitation. Clément read then signed his document, the Visitation Card, which is sent to the Abbot General in Rome. According to the Statute, the Visitor “…will summarize the community’s view of itself. He will add his own perception of the situation of the community…”. There is huge leeway for deciding what a person would or even could say in a few pages. In Clément we are blessed with a Father Immediate who is human, bright and spiritual.
Saturday 12th. Our Lady’s Saturday. A nice chance to prepare for the great Solemnity a few days away, which always gathers people, familiar to us, new to us, here.
Sunday 13th. The long, milk pick-up truck comes early these days, which is to our liking. It gives more time for washing and sanitizing the big milk tank in preparation for afternoon milking.