MARCH 2023

Lenten Reading

Wednesday 1st. Two monks had occasion to see a bob cat in our yard this week.

Thursday 2nd. We met to discuss some new legislation from our Order, which works year by year on gradually updating, or improving, or adding to things.

Friday 3rd. In refectory, we tried listening to monasteries’ house reports, as read by a digitized voice. Sounds good. After clearing away some more snow, Brother Paul carefully backed the John Deer into the shop / garage, this morning.

Saturday 4th. We had a singing practice at our places in Chapel, just after Lauds.

Sunday 5th. Brother Leo was once again pondering the course his life has taken, and in particular how as a young person he worked at the Calvaire stone quarry, for the monks, never dreaming he would himself become a monk one day. He had a mixed impression of the monks, finding them by times a bit slow minded.

Monday 6th. Chicks arrived at the poultry barn today.

Tuesday 7th. I was able to see the bob cat myself. It was walking near the north side of the monastery, as relaxed as could be. In Chapter, Dom Innocent commented the Rule of Saint Benedict on humility.

Wednesday 8th. Our history of religion in America audiobook has brought us to the middle of the 19th century. The story remains distinctively fresh. For now, Catholic America is not getting much attention. When we get to Kennedy and Vatican II, perhaps the book will offer a capsule history from 1600 on.

Thursday 9th. Mass stipends in our Diocese, and so for us are increasing from ten dollars to fifteen, after Easter. The number of Mass intentions received here climbed when Covid began, and have not decreased since.

Friday 10th. Brother Paul Richards is taking his turn reading at the Offices, and it is striking to hear now-familiar texts, often on conversion this time of year, delivered by a new voice.

Saturday 11th. Snow melting is revealing the top of the little hedge which runs along the lakeside.

Sunday 12th. The heating system went down but was restored soon enough.

Monday 13th. The change to daylight savings time, also inadvertently advanced the clock for the bells by a minute, so when showing up in Chapel as usual, we find ourselves with an extra moment to prepare for prayer together.

Tuesday 14th. Brother Leo got a needed haircut. For 96, he has quite a mane. He claims his hair might fetch a fair price, were we to sell it.

Wednesday 15th. Brother Paul was wondering if New Brunswick winter might be drawing to a close. It is not, and with the snow, only one person, a retreatant was at Mass with us this morning.

Thursday 16th. Having caught a cold, I turned to our honey, on my toast for the first time in a while. It truly is a great honey, with a balanced taste and sweetness. A bee-enthusiast monk of yesteryear found this product for us, produced not far west from Moncton.

Friday 17th. We received our first Easter card, with a nice note.

Saturday 18th. We had a singing practice this morning. In the morning, Brother Paul was tidying around.

Sunday 19th. Father Bede offered Mass for Father Graham’s mother, who passed away yesterday.

Monday 20th. We had a joyful Mass of Saint Joseph, followed by a festive meal at noon. These are the only occasions where we converse over lunch, and today there was a pleasant mix of topics, including practical matters, and recurring themes, from Brother Leo, including: ‘does anyone here remember Joe Louis, the boxer?’

Tuesday 21st. In the scriptorium, a new wall clock was placed, to replace a failed one. This one ticks, and from atop a stairway in the distance, the ticking makes a  person realize just how quiet it is here.

Wednesday 22nd. Our geothermal heating technician was by to continue tuning things up. At Mass, Father Bede has relinquished his duties setting the altar for Mass; from now on, the Deacon for the week will do this.

Thursday 23rd. Dom Innocent and Father Graham attended funeral Mass in Moncton for Graham’s mother, Jeannette Touchie.

Friday 24th. Brother Leo often dreams the night away in one, specific locale, often exotic but last night he was in Saint John, New Brunswick, a city he has never seen, but wishes he had seen. In the dream was a colorful Saint Johner retreatant of yesteryear, named Mary.

Saturday 25th. This year, the holy feast of the Annunciation marked 20 years since the day of former superior Bede’s Abbatial Blessing, an event which, happily, brought his sister Marie and his cousin Mary our way from England. This evening, Brother Paul delighted us once again with excellent pizzas.

Sunday 26th. March can be drab outside, but still more snow has freshened the look of things once again.

Monday 27th. Gentler but generous-enough spring snow continues, while in the distance one can hear water running off the grotto spillway.

Tuesday 28th. We met in Chapter this morning to look at the schedule for Easter 2023. One notable change this year will be the re-institution of the washing of the feet, Holy Thursday.

Wednesday 29th. The monks each received some Easter treats from a friend, with a stern counsel: ‘no cheating.’ Father Graham helped hear confessions this evening in Acadieville.

Thursday 30th. Work is underway on an automatic door opener, at the east end of the scriptorium, beyond which our robes are hung up, and the elevator entrance is found, and part of the sacristy is.

Friday 31st. Our refectory audiobook, the Story of Religion in America: An Introduction, drawing with expertise on vast historical resources in order to offer one path through the story, is a book that was written with care; with love, even.