Thursday 1st. Rain hitting the remaining snow in the fields produced a nice, rolling mist this morning, as we prepared for Holy Thursday Mass, practicing a Gloria we do not often sing.
Friday 2nd. Our cats are finding life more interesting, as more emerges from under the snow to meet their noses. As always, today’s 3 PM service was striking, a defining moment in the year.
Saturday 3rd. We had the last of the season’s practices / run-throughs, this time for the Easter Vigil celebration. This year, we will scale up some elements we had scaled back for 2020.
Sunday 4th. New fire was lit outside, and blessed, and so began celebrations at 4 AM; a long and rewarding moment of Easter renewal. In his homily, Dom Innocent spoke of the importance of Baptism in our lives. We received some nice things for Easter, including an angel food cake ewe and lamb; they were soon separated!
Monday 5th. Some find our early spring weather pleasant; others would differ. Brother Leo says that before we know it, it will be winter again. Anniversaries this month include, for Ordination: 36 years for Father Roger, and 49 years for Father Bede. Easter week is off to a nice start, with lots of light and lots of singing.
Tuesday 6th. We had no Chapter meeting this week, because it is still Easter. Since Dom Innocent presided the big celebrations last week, Solemn Masses this week are being presided by the other Priests.
Wednesday 7th. Our last refectory book ended with, among other things, an emphasis on the importance of Christian Apologetics in people’s lives. Our new audio book at lunch is Peter Seewald’s Pope Benedict XVI biography, volume one. The person reading it has a nice enough voice, and is the son of “Happy Days” television mom Marion Ross.
Thursday 8th. Simone made us some nice cheese sandwiches to go with our pasta this evening. The lake is opening up from the ice, more and more, but skidoo tracks still curve along what little ice is left.
Friday 9th. The area in front of the monastery, along the lake, which was newly landscaped last year, came out of winter looking nice.
Saturday 10th. While Brother Stephan cleared away some material that was stored right in front of what is left of the dairy barn complex, Dom Innocent has been busy preparing the greenhouse for another season. This involves, among other things, clearing away all the faded plants from last year.
Sunday 11th. At lunch, in memory of Prince Philip we listened to the bands of HM Royal Marines, from the 2020 Mountbatten F
estival of Music.
Monday 12th. Wood smoke is now rising from the greenhouse wood stove. The sweet smell evokes thought of past seasons, and of tomatoes yet to come.
Tuesday 13th. The Gospel of John appears for Mass readings this season: it is the Gospel most important to Brother Leo. Minor renovation work got underway in the guesthouse today, first on the guesthouse Chapel wall. The wall behind the altar had been crumbling. This simple Chapel is used sometimes by guest Priests. The monastery also has a third Chapel, quite small, across the hall from the monks’ rooms.
Wednesday 14th. Chapter was held this morning, as Dom Innocent continued commenting the Rule’s teaching on Priests of the monastery. He pointed out how what is said regarding Priests can also be applied more generally, evoking the grace and challenge of integrating a lifestyle as simple as ours. Work in the guesthouse continued today, on wall surfaces around window frames.
Thursday 15th. The guesthouse reopened today; however, there were no guests arriving for stays today, or this week. Bede is back to selling honey, to shoppers here.
Friday 16th. A young technician put our smoke alarm system to the annual test today, beginning with the emergency lighting, and finishing with the big, bright sound of the fire alarm bell, which sounded just in time to signal preparation for 2 PM prayers…and ended before the invocation of God’s help which begins every Office.
Saturday 17th. The biography of Ratzinger we are listening to at lunch, is similar in ways to George Weigel’s successful biography of Wojtyla. Detail regarding the subject’s early days is abundant. The Ratzinger family’s story is the third time at recent lunches we’ve been able to hear a personal perspective on Adolf Hitler’s rise to power.
Sunday 18th. Some snow the last days has had the eagle looking eastward a bit less regally. Brother Leo says it will really warm up soon.
Monday 19th. This morning, a transport truck with wood shavings for chicken barn bedding tentatively pulled in. It was the driver’s first visit here, and the layout of buildings was not easy to interpret. Father Roger stepped over to help him. This evening, a savoury seafood chowder warmed us up at table.
Tuesday 20th. Dom Innocent has been working at getting the garden ready for this season. The re-done guest house chapel wall has now been painted, as well as other areas. A few guests should be joining us this week. Chapter today dealt with community rank as viewed by Benedict of Nursia, in comparison with how other spiritual families organise themselves.
Wednesday 21st. Dom Innocent had a lengthy zoom meeting with fellow superiors this week. Today is the Queen’s 95th birthday. Bede, however, pointed out that this pales beside its being the city of Rome’s 2,774th birthday.
Thursday 22nd. On a rare, wooded drive just north, Brother Leo was musing about the wonders of the natural world, especially that of the Maritimes. He mentioned that as a young monk, he was taken on an excursion all around Prince Edward Island’s coast.
Friday 23rd. An overnight snow changed the look and feel of things. The first retreatant here in about five months checked in; a face from many years past, and he brought a friend for their first retreat here. Having them present for prayer was a renewed experience of how the monastery can be a source of life for people.
Saturday 24th. The farm truck, which has seen a deal of country road service recently, got cleaned up this week.
Sunday 25th. The elements of the guest house Chapel are nearly back in place. Under the statue of Our Lady, prayer candles burn, and this devotion has become very popular here.
Monday 26th. Father Bede keeps a candle lit before the icon of the Resurrection, in front of the ambo.
Tuesday 27th. In Chapter this morning, we went over plans for tomorrow’s burial service for Brother Henry. Father Bede has printed up little booklets with all that we will be singing, reading, and praying.
Wednesday 28th. Before dawn, clear skies appeared for the first time in days, signaling a good day for a goodbye to Henry, for now. Before None, monks assembled outside, then in front of the grave we prayed None, chanting the Psalms as usual; with additional prayers, incense, holy water, burial. The lovely afternoon seemed to suit Henry.
On top of the monastery, two obsolete stone chimneys are being demolished by hand, with a sledgehammer. The next step will be to cap the openings with steel.
Thursday 29th. Steve ably removed stone wreckage from yesterday’s demolition work, then smoothed out the ground where it had all been hurled. Yesterday’s was an impressive, if noisy, feat of work.
Friday 30th. A few racoons made their spring debut on our front lawn in the wee hours. Amply lit by the abundant security lighting, they were moving around tentatively and eagerly.