May Days

May was another full month. We even managed to include an Information Forum meeting at the end of the month to bring everyone au courant with happenings. A number of major liturgical feasts occur during the month, and they call for extra preparation. Some new windows are still in the planning stage. They will replace windows which do not have adequate insulation. Several of the younger monks joined some of the sisters at Mississippi Abbey for a walk which explored trails on their property. We have been exploring various ways to share experiences with our sisters, including a program of studies this coming month.

Five men participated in our Come and See Weekend for vocational discernment, May 24-26. Their ages ranged from the mid-20’s to the mid-40’s. It was encouraging to see that number of men interested in pursuing religious life. They shared in monastic life and several discussions with members of the community, learning the steps of inclusion and integration into a monastic community. We are currently hosting a candidate in the community who had participated in a former Come and See Weekend. He will be with us for six weeks as a time to look more closely at the experience of monastic life.

On May 16th, the monastery hosted a Field Day for the Iowa Woodland Owners Association (IOWA). Approximately one hundred persons came from central and eastern Iowa to listen to presentations and view some of the land management initiatives employed here. This included a visit to beaver dams on our property which offer a natural way to restore wetlands. The beavers declined an invitation to join us for lunch.

Fr. Alberic Maisog of Assumption Abbey spent another month with us, and graciously presided at liturgies here at New Melleray and over at Mississippi Abbey. He always offers well-prepared homilies. He has consented to return four times a year for a month to assist us in meeting the demands of our eucharistic and pastoral ministry.

Fr. Brendan attended the U.S. Regional meeting of the superiors of our Order. This was held at Villa Maria del Mare in California from the 22nd to 29th of May. This location, near San Jose, offered rooms with views of the ocean. It is a loss to local communities to be unable to host these meetings (as was often done in the past). They had been an opportunity for exchange with more members and different communities of our region. A storm moved into the San Jose area before Fr. Brendan was able to fly out, and his return was tormented and delayed by a litany of mishaps and frustrations that would dismay the most intrepid of travelers. He did return home, two days late.