June 2016

Monday 6th. In Chapter, Dom Bede mentioned that for simplicity’s sake we would soon experiment with a less involved way of having Eucharistic Benediction on Solemnities, maintaining the present manner for Sundays. There is a simpler form permitted, but not often used, which involves opening the tabernacle door for adoration (small monstrance) rather than placing the Blessed Sacrament on the altar in a big monstrance. Bede also asked what we thought of an invitation to celebrate one outside Mass at the Assumption Monument this summer in place of having community Mass here.

Tuesday 7th. We had a power outage due to a racoon climbing a power pole, thus unfortunately electrocuting himself, and knocking out the power in the process. Our two generators helped us through. With Bede, Steve and Roger going to Moncton today, and Brother Henry already living in neighbouring Dieppe, we were four monks here and four monks there for a good part of the day today.

Wednesday 8th. Our cook has been preparing for the arrival of a group later on in the week, after a fairly quiet spell in the guesthouse.

Thursday 9th. Maurice Gallant has been putting our tool room in order. This room is under the chapel, and opens onto our tiny barber shop.

Friday 10th. Dom Bede has been clearing out the room of our late Father Adrien. A little box of memorabilia will be given to his family, who live a ways away and plan to stop by soon.

Saturday 11th. Father Roger has done a great job clearing up the area around the stone monument on our front lawn. After Father Adélard Robichaud’s death in 2001, his family wanted to pay for a monument to him on our property. Dom Maurice, who was Abbot at the time, didn’t like the idea of a monument to only one monk and suggested they to do something as a tribute to all the monks. And so there is this decorative boulder out front with a plaque on it, in honor of Father Abelard and all our forefather-monks.

Sunday 12th. With Father Innocent filling in at the Sisters, and Dom Bede filling in in town, we were less numerous than usual at Mass. Dom Bede decided to take in the beginning of Mass here before slipping away, which led to a bit of confusion from some onlookers who supposed he’d been taken ill during Mass.

Monday 13th. Brother Léo has seen his share of Junes and each day expresses surprise at how cold it remains. The various shades of green enveloping us are striking given that so little else seems to be changing, the sky a solid grey. Our numerous barn cats are undeterred by weather in their daily hunts. How often they actually catch something would be hard to say but they are amazingly focused, as though perpetually centimetres away from success.

Tuesday 14th.  Another topic of discussion recently has been the new milk tank for the farm. It arrived today as the truck from Québec slowly made its way down the drive past the monastery. Lucien Richard and Roger Gallant duly began dismantling the milk house wall through which the old tank (which has become too small) will go and the new tank be brought inside.

Wednesday 15th. Dr. Sephora Tang and her mother dropped by briefly, friends of the monastery. Sephora is an Ottawa doctor active within the Canadian Federation of Catholic Physicians. In Moncton, Brother Henry saw a dentist for the first time in 25 years. This was in a new dental clinic building, and Henry was struck by the change in appearance inside such places: a new world.

Thursday 16th. Rhubarb has been harvested from the lawn facing the lake. At the Pharmacy, we were given copies of the Chamber of Commerce’s 2016-2017 map of Rogersville, for distribution as a pamphlet. We are listed as Off Limits (Collette) alongside the local funeral home, Norm’s Camper Repairs and Marco Excavating.

Friday 17th. Our mowers were going today into the evening, taking advantage of a break from rain. In Chapter Dom Bede explained that the heat would be left on tonight for one more night of near-zero temperatures, after which temperatures are expected to rise sharply. Although I have heard many debates in the monastery regarding opening or closing a door or window, this morning for the first time there was disagreement over whether a chapel window actually was open or closed!

Saturday 18th. Dom Bede’s Iguana Giant mountain bike stood ready for departure at the front entrance. It has quite a bit of mud on it, bearing witness to recent explorations in our woods.

Sunday 19th. We switched the big circulating fans on in the dairy barn for the first time this year, to help the cows beat the heat. The switch for the fan had been moved when we raised the foundation and added buttressing so after a bit of searching we hit a breaker switch high up on the wall with a board to activate. In the base of one of the big fans, the hollow casing, birds had built a nest and we could see their young peeping out. Hopefully they will not have to move.

Monday 20th – There was intensive silage-cutting going on on the farm.  The sun was shining and the air was warm.  But a strong wind made it difficult to spray the corn against the weeds.  After all the rain there is vigorous growth evident everywhere.  The maple leaf was dancing from the flagpole, after Brother Stephan fitted a new rope to hoist it with.

Tuesday 21st – The quarterly meeting of the abbot’s council took place after Lauds.  Father Graham left mid-morning for his journey to our monastery of the Prairies in Manitoba, where he will get a few days of retreat.  Father Roger had business in Miramichi in the morning and the abbot went to have his visual fields checked in the afternoon, with Father Innocent as driver.  The farm team kept on bringing in the grass for silage as the clouds became more threatening.

Wednesday 22nd – The abbot had to go suddenly to celebrate the feast of Saints John Fisher and Thomas More at the nuns, because Father Clovis had woken up unwell.  In chapter Brother Leo marvelled at the youth of the martyrs, More was only 57 and Fisher was 65 and reputed aged and frail!  Brother Leo will be 90 in six months!

Friday 24th – We enjoyed the Feast of Saint John the Baptist with a special salmon wellington prepared by our cook Simone.  There was also country music to chime us in with the Rogersville Country Music festival being held today and tomorrow.  The abbot is experimenting with different ways of providing reading and music in the refectory by way of the internet.  A young man has joined the farm team, working his school summer holidays on a government financed scheme.

Saturday 25th – The abbot attended the graduation ceremony at the local secondary school.  There were 34 graduees.  One member of the community commented that he did not know we had so many young people in Rogersville, which only has a population of 1,400.

Sunday 26th – Brother Henry was with us from Mass to the end of lunch.  There were no other guests, so the two volunteers that brought him ate with us in the refectory.

Tuesday 28 – The chancellor of the diocese of Charlottetown in Prince Edward Island arrived for a short retreat with two priests from India currently serving in the diocese.  One of the Indians is a Premonstratensian, the other a priest of a diocese in Southern India.

Wednesday 29 – Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul.  The activities on the farm clashed a little with the feast.  They were installing a new milk tank.  This had to be completed between the two milkings.  It is a much-needed bigger tank that will enable us to use all our milk quota.  The result was no organ at Lauds and a recited but solemn Mass.  At lunch we listened to music from the morning’s papal Mass, via the Vatican channel on youtube.  The evening milking was delayed, so Brother Glicerio was not able to be present for Vespers.  Peter, a Vietnamese who has been living in British Colombia for the last ten years, and who is a Canadian citizen, came to begin a monastic experience.

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