JUNE 2023

Thursday 1st. With a monastery guest onboard, the train rolled in yesterday evening, next to Main Street as quiet as it could be.

Friday 2nd. Youngsters who’d gotten stuck out back on their ATV’s found their way to our front door, in their quest to get unstuck, and were pleasantly surprised by the peaceful atmosphere of the monastery.

Saturday 3rd. Our refectory book by former Canadian Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould, is taking us on a rare journey into Canadian politics. Perhaps the nicest passages have been her descriptions of the exceptional qualities of some of the people in Ottawa.

Sunday 4th. Brother Leo is amazed at the amount of sleeping just being in one’s late 90’s can entail; but he enjoys the dreams, and the chance to rest. Fortunately, his room is exceptionally well-sheltered from the heat, remaining cool when New Brunswick went over 35 degrees this week.

Monday 5th. Our resource person, Anna dropped by.

Tuesday 6th. Buttons have been installed to activate the automatic door opener, for the door between the scriptorium and the back section of our sacristy.

Wednesday 7th. Brother Leo reflects often on the last things, and  muses as to what reason God might have for making him live so long. Today  this led to happy memories of his family dog, Sport, who often accompanied Leo and his loving father, an expert woodsman.

Thursday 8th. A group from Nelson Rural School stopped by on their end of year field trip. As always, they were quite interested in what monks live. The visit ended with a stop at the grotto, where water from abundant rain was running high over the spillway, and blue wildflowers lined the hill.

Friday 9th. Today was Brother Paul’s birthday. Bear have been sighted not too far from the monastery, but Paul’s dreamt-of Canadian wildlife encounter has yet to materialize.

Saturday 10th. For the first time in a while, a recessional hymn was sung at the conclusion of today’s Mass.

Sunday 11th. The heating system had to be switched back on this week, but with the return of seasonable temperatures, and the skies’ clearing, it was once again shut off today.

Monday 12th. With windows now open for fresh air in the Chapel, the distant sound of cars or trucks passing on the highway returns. Though ensconced in nature, we are just off Route 126. This is why some trees were planted parallel to the highway, for noise reduction, many years ago.

Tuesday 13th. Our refectory book revolves around a 2019 Canadian political scandal, the SNC-Lavalin affair. For much of the book, this affair is referred to by name only; having now come to the crux of the matter, with detailed descriptions of processes, timelines; transcriptions of high-level phone conversations, we’re almost ready for SNC-Lavalin, the Musical.

Wednesday 14th. We learned of the death of Brother Rolland Lacombe, monk of the monastery of Our Lady of the Prairies, then of Val Notre Dame, once Prairies closed. Thanks to dear Dom Marcel of Prairies, we’d heard often of Rolland’s exploits, and dedication, year to year, bringing Prairies near. There are now three surviving former members of Prairies, all resident in Manitoba.

Thursday 15th. To the bemusement of some Canadians among us, the embarrassment of others, our refectory book lapsed into a brief panegyric on Canada’s being unlike a neighbouring country, thanks to a sublime, unnameable Canadian essence.

Friday 16th. The week saw some serious (and fine) lawn-mowing, and serious work on our bells. This afternoon as siesta time ended one could hear some clear, encouraging peals from both our big and our little bell.

Saturday 17th. One of our Priests was called to the local seniors’ residence this week, to administer the Sacrament of the sick to someone near 100 who, as has been the case with other residents there, was great friends with the monks.

Sunday 18th. The rose bush planted long ago in Bede’s honor, has yet to bloom this year, as June continues cool and moist mainly.

Monday June 19th. Dodging mosquitoes, Bede made his way to the Miramichi, where the river was running high.  

Tuesday, June 20th. Brother Léo moved to Foyer Assomption today, and enjoyed the encounters and reconnections which awaited him there, including with a 104 year old friend Léo says he is going to try to catch up to. Léo is 96 years old.  

Wednesday, June 21st. A mist covered the fields at dawn, then the first day of summer was warm, with butterflies appearing for the first time this year. Brother Paul fired up the chainsaw, and towed away part of our crabapple tree, which had broken off.  

Thursday, June 22nd. As part of Prime Minister Trudeau’s ‘connectivity strategy’ for bringing access to high-speed internet to virtually every Canadian, regardless of how far-flung their locale, cheerful crews were working our side of the road this week, as a preliminary step towards hook-ups.  

Friday, June 23rd. A guest showed up, breaking the lull in our guesthouse.  

Saturday, June 24th. Brother Paul is impressed by how the monastery building remains cool, despite unseasonably warm weather. Dom Innocent attended High School graduation down the road and congratulated the recipient of our bursary this year.  

Sunday, June 25th. Cowls are off for the warm season, for Lauds and Vespers, as usual.  

Monday 26th. The care home where Brother Léo resides boasts many people with a sense of humor, and warmth, similar to Léo’s own. He says the food is good, fit for a king, even, but too abundant.

Tuesday 27th. We are preparing for our annual retreat, next week. The hope is to change gears as monks, so as to be working less during the retreat, which will consist of morning conferences daily, plus chances to meet together, informally with our retreat preacher, who this time out will be from far away.

Wednesday 28th. Dom Innocent took part in a pastoral workshop in Moncton.

Thursday 29th. The fifth and final solemnity this month was Saints Peter and Paul, today: a return to our roots as Church, and fitting capstone for the month.

Friday 30th. A former monk from many years ago returned for a retreat here.