Friday, October 1st. With grace, a heron flew just over the lake’s surface, and out of sight. I don’t often see them here.
Saturday, October 2nd. At Mass, Brother Stephan once again sang at the organ for communion; a contemporary hymn adds a different light to the whole celebration.
Sunday, October 3rd. At lunch, we listened to Handel’s Messiah, and the clouds parted a little. At dish detail, discussion went from fruit grown in Italy, to discussion of the kiwi’s merits as a food.
Monday 4th. Brother Stephan is working on the back-up generator for the monastery. Dom Innocent sawed up a pile of wood for use in the greenhouse stove next spring.
Tuesday 5th. In Chapter, Dom Innocent shared a bit of news regarding other monastic communities, and he reviewed upcoming events, in particular the regular visitation and our annual retreat, which are close together on the calendar. He encouraged us to prepare for the visitation drawing on the vison of community expressed in the Order’s legislation, as a way of achieving objectivity and depth.
Wednesday 6th. Dom Innocent mowed some lawns today. Early this morning, we saw that the cool night had left behind a lovely mist, over the fields to the east.
Thursday 7th. After Mass, Bede made his usual way to the guesthouse, opening the front desk office, the store, and the little room used to hear confessions. This afternoon, the lake was perfectly still, and a few fallen leaves dotted the surface.
Friday 8th. The Solesmes monastic lectionary for Vigils has been taking us on a long excursion through Old Testament prophetic and historical books intertwined, illuminating dramatic or traumatic turning points; literary high points, quite something, at that hour of the day.
Saturday 9th. Work has been ongoing on improving the apple grinders, which soon will be in use again for juicing.
Sunday 10th. The heating system went on yesterday, and Bede went about checking the various wall units.
Monday, October 11th. The crew of four monks returned to the former milk house this morning for round two of apple juice making. The press is getting more juice out, per ground-up apple, than ever. A tight squeeze. By midday, a happy sight: Quebec license plate out front. Dom Clément was back in our neck of the woods.
Tuesday, October 12th. This morning, Clément, our Father Immediate, took center place in Chapter, to officially open the visitation, and share some inspiration and suggestions regarding the process. He said that although the last visitation card he left with us was in 2019, it was like going back ages, considering changes in the interim.
Wednesday, October 13th. Dom Clément brought us up to date on his community’s life, its challenges, its way of embarking on monastic life today. Mistassini was assigned paternity of Calvaire 55 years ago, Bonnecombe, which initially opened Calvaire, having closed.
Thursday, October 14th. Once again after Lauds we sat down with Dom Clément, who will finish writing the visitation card today. This morning, he offered some practical suggestions and observations, the fruit of his meetings with each of us, then opened the floor for discussion.
Friday, October 15th. In Chapter, Clément read out then signed the visitation card, giving thanks that, travel circumstances being what they’ve been, he was able to get this autumn visit in, and enjoy our welcome. He had a lovely day for the long drive home.
Saturday, October 16th. The New Brunswick highway department have been digging out the ditch which runs along the Village Plate Road (or, as the province assigned it for the road sign, ‘Villa Laplatte’.) This road is parallel to our main entrance, and car GPS’s can mistake it for the main entrance.
Sunday, October 17th. After a series of thunder showers, and other weather changes, the bright colors outside are now mixed with bare trees, in an unusually humid October.
Monday 18th. Guests headed out happy, to the train, unperturbed by rail delays…just like in the days of old. Someone has offered to send brother Leo a booklet recounting the history of accidents in Memramcook, and he says, yes.
Tuesday 19th. Our Kia is getting a new set of tires. In Moncton, Dom Innocent took part today in an Archdiocesan presentation regarding the soon-to-arrive, new French-language Missal. He returned with material for the Priests here to read, to prepare for changes we’ll find come Advent. We have been waiting for this for a while, the copy of the soon-to-be-obsolete Missal we use for Mass is getting a bit tattered.
Wednesday 20th. Dom Innocent returned to Moncton, this time to get Father Thomas Davis, our retreat master, at the airport. Thomas is from our monastery in California, Vina, and was once superior there for close to fourty years.
Thursday 21st. Travel being what it is in 2021, Thomas was greatly delayed yesterday; so back to Moncton went Innocent this morning, for Tho
mas, who quickly settled into our routine.
Friday 22nd. Blue jays have been plentiful, this time of year; they are beautiful but busy. The hammock out front is gathering leaves.
Saturday 23rd. Father Thomas gave us a first talk. It having been a couple of years since a visiting monk gave us talks, it was striking to be together before him.
Sunday 24th. Yesterday’s talk touched on self-knowledge, of the kind God alone can offer us, through our experience of Him. Today’s talk took us back to Father Thomas’ days before, and after entering Kentucky’s Gethsemane Abbey, in 1951.
Monday 25th. This year’s retreat conferences are once a day, at 9:30, seems to work out well, using the guesthouse library, where we’ve been before. At the back of the conference room is an original painting of a monk, sitting reading in a forest setting. This used to hang in our tiny smoking room, when we had one, but it shows better in plain light.
Tuesday 26th. Father Thomas Davis drew on a foundational text for the Order, the Charter of Charity, which talks about the love by which monks in various parts of the world, separated in body, are indissolubly knit together in mind. He said that to get the idea across in today’s terms, one would say we’re gorilla-glued together.
Wednesday 27th. Father Thomas recalled teachings of the late Dom Bernard Johnson. Johnson gave us our retreat here in 2012, at the age of 87, but Davis has topped Johnson for most venerable, turning 88 today in style.
Thursday 28th. Over too soon, the final moments of the retreat put world changes of the past few years, and of the past seventy years in the perspective of intimacy with Christ, which obedience enables. Sister Anne-Marie Fitzgerald ably thanked our retreat master. Several of the Trappistines took in the weeks’ conferences here with us.
Friday 29th. Early in the day, Dom Innocent took Father Thomas to Moncton, in preparation for his flight south tomorrow. Before leaving, Thomas asked our prayers for the two Cistercian communities in California, reflecting with a smile that ‘the grass is never greener, on the other side of the fence.’
Saturday 30th. As we await happy news as regards Father Thomas’ string of flights, the weather swings up and down; today a red dragonfly was seeking a bit of warmth on the monastery’s walls made of stone.
Sunday 31st. The Alleluia verse for today’s Gospel is a passage Brother Leo finds especially striking : John 14, 23. News from Thomas today was that his flights went smooth, landing him home in California by early afternoon, there.