In the early hours of Thursday morning (2 a.m.), July 29th, the heavens orchestrated a dramatic thunder and lightning wake-up call. Coupled with the noise and illumination was a welcome two-and-a-half inch rain. Temperatures had been in the 90’s for some days, and the rain also brought a drop from those heights. It made our monthly information meeting a little more bearable.
As noted before, the guest house will reopen on October 15th and we will limit occupancy to twelve rooms until the beginning of Advent. Unlike past years, the guest house will be closed on Thanksgiving. The annual Christmas closing will be from the 20th of December until January 3rd. The door to the guest master’s office is being altered to a “half door” — the bottom half can be closed while the top is opened. This is meant to provide reasonable security for the porter and allow for a more orderly reception of guests. Some visitors had seen the chairs in the room as an invitation to prolonged conversations with the porter.
Some major construction will need to be done on the south side of the building where there is an unused veranda. Water coming from the roof penetrates this flat area and leaks into the basement and underpass area. Roofing and tuckpointing work is called for. Some of the front of the monastery has been cleaned from years of dirt and grime by a power water spray. Large sections of the wooden fence separating the monastic enclosure from the front of the guest house have been rotting. They will be replaced by a cedar wood fence, rooted in gravel to prolong its life.
The garden is producing a wide variety of vegetables which are a welcome addition to our diet. We had the first round of corn-on-the-cob last week, a sure sign that summer is well-advanced. Some arable land which had not been very productive will be turned into woodland and forestry. Br. Nicholas, who spearheads our contribution committee, will be meeting today with members of the Archdiocese’s Catholic Charities. We have been making substantial contributions to their Prison and Jail Ministry and he will discuss developments in this program.
We were warned about the population surge in the Dubuque area expected in the days leading up to and following the coming of Major League Baseball to eastern Iowa. It may be best to schedule appointments to avoid these days. The Chicago White Sox and the New York Yankees are scheduled to play a regular season game on August 12 in Dyersville, Iowa. This is the site of “The Field of Dreams”, a popular film made several years ago with the memorable quotations If you build it, they will come and Is this heaven? No, it’s Iowa. The area has been cultivated as a tourist attraction and now a stadium accommodating 8,000 person has been specially built. The potential influx of persons connected with this event is already stretching local resources and might made it advisable to keep women and children off the streets.