During the cold days of January, the community kept its blood in warm circulation through several events and meetings. Early in the month, the community agreed to the transfer of a section of its property to the archdiocese. The local parish church, Holy Family, was on property still owned by the monastery. Holy Family cemetery was already owned by the archdiocese, so the total transfer was less than an acre. But this needed the approval of the professed members of the community.
On January 17th, the community held its annual meeting of Trappist Caskets and its board of directors. This was moderated by our lawyer, David Curtiss, and included David Schueller and Sam Mulgrew as representatives of Trappist Caskets. It is a formal but smooth meeting which would be the envy of any totalitarian government.
On January 23rd, we were given a presentation on stress by Sr. Louise Mousel, CHM. Sister was a psychiatrist before joining the Humility Sisters. She addressed the growing incidence and causes of stress, ways to diagnose and then cope with the effects it can have on our bodies and emotions.
On January 27th, our new abbot general, Dom Bernardus Peeters, arrived for his first visit here. Before his election as abbot general, he had agreed to preach a retreat at Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky. Seeking to make the trip to the States as worthwhile as possible, he decided to visit New Melleray and Mississippi Abbeys (geographically closest) at the end of the retreat. Dom Peter McCarthy, our Father Immediate of Guadalupe Abbey, wished to take advantage of this visit and the experience of the abbot general and also came to New Melleray. In his short stay (four days), Dom Bernardus met with the House Council, individually with each member of the community, and then again with the whole community. He offered a report and summary of his impressions of the community which was quite thorough and perceptive. His comments will be helpful in preparing for our next regular visitation this summer by Dom Peter.
Br. Philip Ross, our novice, has had to return home to help his mother who had suffered a serious medical emergency. It will be necessary for him to stay with her for a while as caregiver while she recuperates. We keep united with them in prayer.