It has been an eventful week at Bethlehem Monastery! Hurricane Sandy was due to arrive here on Tuesday, so we had all our array of battery operated hurricane lamps, flashlights and extension cords ready to keep our 21st century lives going should our electrical power be blown away. Thank God we do have a generator which gives us light and outlets in our hallways plus keeps our mechanical room and kitchens in operation. The rest is left to our ingenuity and experience of many power outages over the years since we moved to Mt. St. Francis. Since it looked as if Sandy was determined to disrupt that very significant, bi-monthly event in our feminine monastery known as “Washday”, my own ingenuity was working overtime. Delaying washday creates havoc in our domestic scheduling, so I had determined to take my life into my hands in order to save the situation.
When we rose at midnight for our usual prayers and office of Matins on Tuesday, the power was out. So afterwards, I went down to the laundry, and although most of the equipment had warning tags on their electrical cords threatening me with personal injury or death if I dared to attach an extension cord, I did so anyway. At least I was prudent enough to choose two older model washing machines that did not have the warning tags. But I could not help wondering if there was some intrinsic evil I was committing. However, by morning, (wonder of wonders!) the power had been restored and I could remove the forbidden extension cords. Not trusting in the permanency of the miracle, I washed everything (and dried it too) before our 9AM Mass.
By Thursday we had lovely autumn weather to celebrate the great feast of All Saints. This was also the day set for our novice, Sister Marie Elise, to make her Sacred Promises and to receive the black veil of a professed Sister. She is a finally professed Sister from an active congregation, so instead of professing temporary vows, she simply promised to observe her vows according to our Holy Rule. She also made a vow of enclosure which is unique to our Poor Clare Order. The ceremony took place during Holy Mass and we were so happy that Sister Elise’s own blood sister, Mia, was able to attend.
|We love having another black veil among us!|
Friday, the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed, we visited our cemetery where three of our Sisters are buried. There we offered our Rosary and other prayers for the repose of their souls. The whole day was also one of prayer for the souls in Purgatory. Indeed, the entire month of November is dedicated to that intention. It is also the month when we begin our “monastic advent”, a preparation for the great Advent of the Church. In spirit we join with Mother Nature in her slow and glorious dying, and that waiting for new life which is the coming of the Lord. Most particularly we set our sights now on election day, praying that our new leaders will guide our nation and local governments on the path of life.