The end of April was given a formal farewell through our monthly Information Forum. Little emerged on the liturgical front except to express satisfaction with having the sisters from Mississippi Abbey join us in the Easter Vigil Service. Though intentionally shortened, the service lasted almost two hours. We shared a breakfast in the refectory with our sisters after the conclusion of the liturgy. Their voices added a welcome volume that rivaled celestial choirs.
Activity on all fronts seems to be moving at a moderate pace. There seems to be a post-Covid increase in groups coming on retreat. Installation of air conditioning in the Guest House kitchen has been delayed, and we hope it can be completed before the onslaught of summer days. A new hot water system which is ecologically efficient has been installed. Some complicated renovation of our electrical system will require the total blackout of the monastery for a couple afternoons. The dates are To Be Announced, but we are girding ourselves for the shift in our M.O. KEEP OFF THE ELEVATOR.
Garden work has not yet begun in real earnest. Spring tree planting is in full gear to compensate for the delays caused by a wet fall. Ecological interest in the monastery’s activities will be drawing a group of students from Grinnell College and from Creighton U. Fr. Brendan gave a brief tour of the monastery to about 26 Mennonite children. Several Mennonite families have moved from Pennsylvania into the local area.
Trappist Caskets seems to be doing well, although it experiences ebbs and surges in sales. One of our employees in the monastery infirmary, Gale Brown, died suddenly on the 16th of April at age 76. He had been employed here for 46 years, first on the farm and then in the infirmary. He was buried in one of the Trappist Caskets in the local Holy Family cemetery. Four of the monks attended his funeral services at Holy Family Parish, the church across the road from the monastery.
For several months, the monastery has been on an altered schedule, rising at 4:15 instead of 3:15. This change required some related changes in our schedule. We had a brief discussion about our experience of this change and will take a community vote in a few days on whether to keep this change or return to the former schedule.