News from Monthly Information Forum

The community gathered for its monthly Information Forum on February 25th.  Br Juan Diego shared a developing relationship of the community with students from Notre Dame Catholic school in Burlington, Iowa.  They had exchanged some notes with the monks last year, and one of the students had asked for a bible.  After this had been sent, the teacher asked if any other students would like a bible.  Ninety-eight expressed an affirmative reply!  So Br. Juan Diego began the process of purchasing bibles suitable for the different age and grade levels.  The students asked for personal inscriptions to be included in the bibles which indicates their desire to make this more than a formal exchange.  (They understood that we could not provide the author’s signature) We are happy to encourage this willingness of these students to come into closer contact with the Word of God in their young lives.

March 28th will be Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week.  The impact of the Covid virus and the diminished numbers of those who can fulfill ministerial roles in the community will require some simplifications of the liturgy.  Most notably, the Mandatum on Holy Thursday and the lighting of the New Fire at the Easter Vigil will be omitted. The processions which normally occur on the various days of Holy Week will also be shortened.  Unfortunately, we will still not be able to welcome any guests or visitors to share these services with us.

The community is scheduled to receive the second Covid-19 vaccine on Thursday, March 11th.  The first round of vaccines seemed to go smoothly, with all the inoculations completed within a half hour.  Our local hospital pharmacy is again generously sending personnel to the monastery to administer them.

Some pine tress have been cut and harvested for use by Trappist Caskets.  The abundant harvest of apples was converted into apple sauce and apple pies by the monks (frozen for gradual  use).  Sparrows may have fallen to the ground with only the Heavenly Father noticing, but not a single apple escaped detection and collection.

It seems to be  stretching the euphemism, but the tally for the deer killed in the woods by hunters is also called a harvest.  This last year’s “harvest” was  seventy-five.  The abundance of deer tracks in the snow around the monastery testify that there were many survivors who found sanctuary closer to home.  Bobcats seem to be returning to the area, so wildlife continues to thrive around the monastery.