Monday 1st. April having arrived, the worst of winter having more or less ended, we see faces we have not seen in a while in the guesthouse. As one catches up with them, the positive dimensions of life—things having gone good for them—are often striking.
Tuesday, 2nd. The mighty Ford Lariat returned from the Miramichi today, having received some TLC from Towne Ford. Brother Leo has started reading one of the biographies of Dom Vital Lehodey (1857-1948) of Bricquebec. This led him to reflect on Abbots-General he has known, though Lehodey was not one. Dom Gabriel Sortais was an Abbot General very able to connect with members of our order locally; he seems to have had quite a lot of pizzazz.
Wednesday 3rd. Brother Glicerio renewed his vows for one year this morning. Quite a day of snow and rain descended on us. Brother Henry was able, however, to see his smiling dentist as scheduled, in Moncton. The ultra-modern professional building the dentist is in, with its endless glass, allowed him to take in nature’s splendor and gusto at a glance.
Thursday 4th. On roads still not great after yesterday, Father Roger made his way to Moncton today, and dropped in on Brother Henry, Sister Jean-Marie Howe, too. As we near the one-year anniversary of last cow milked, our accountant was in to hammer out some details of our 2018 accounts, with its unusual changes, auctions, sales.
Friday 5th. Brother Leo has taken back recitation of the first psalm after invitatory at Vigils, his favorite Office.
Saturday 6th. Brother Stephan has repaired the wheelie bin used for recycling. The schedule for Holy Days ahead was posted recently, and as usual it seems as though we are skidding, or gliding, through time this time of year.
Sunday 7th. Father Bede gave a good homily this morning. The best monk-homilists I’ve known also gave the briefest homilies, this was the case this morning. The exception would be the late Padre Angelo of Tre Fontane, whose wonderful, extempore homilies, accompanied by ample but never exaggerated arm gestures, were anything but brief—except that you knew he could have spoken longer still. And had the heart to.
Monday 8th. The statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, tipped over by accident this winter, is just visible under the snow, her face looking up at the sky. A plume of smoke rose from the greenhouse this morning, Father Innocent now has his plants in. This evening we learned of the sudden passing of a member of Val Notre Dame, who had been here a few summers ago, and who was very much at the center of the monastic family in Canada.
Tuesday 9th. Father Innocent made his way to Moncton today, and saw Brother Henry. One of the hymns we take for the principal offices is ‘sur les chemins de dissemblance’, labeled as being suitable for Lent or Christmas; it is about dissemblance to God becoming resemblance, and a mysterious child awakening; or lost and returning; or wounded then rejoicing.
Wednesday 10th. The audiobook we are taking in at lunch, Pope Francis Happiness In This Life, includes many brief excerpts from informal talks, it is a book designed to sell and, in that sense, it offers signs of what people value in him. Maybe one reason people take to him is that he embodies an art of letting go they want and work for in their hearts, simply because they’re human.
Thursday 11th. At Henry’s this afternoon in Moncton, a 105-year-old was just getting back from lunch out with friends; this is how to stay happy over 100. The Cathedral exterior in Moncton is still being meticulously worked on, its scaffolding neatly arranged has come to seem almost an expression of the cathedral.
Friday 12th. Brother Glic washed the vehicles today. A young animal crossed the lake this afternoon, a usual route which within a day or so may no longer be passable as regards the firmness of the ice. It looked hungry but strong. Was it a moose, or a deer? Brother Leo decided it must be a moose, because a deer would have looked finer.
Saturday 13th. Father Bede refreshed the Eucharistic reserve at Mass this morning. The first singing practice for Holy week took place after Lauds, it always sharpens our ears.
Sunday 14th. A gerontologist/author friend of Brother Léo’s was by for a retreat, and was happy to see him again. It was warm enough, of a sudden, for people to sit outside and read.