The “September Information Forum” was convened on the last day of the month, allowing the community to exchange items of mutual interest occurring in the monastery. We are preparing for the pastoral visit of Dom Peter McCarthy of Guadalupe Abbey who will celebrate the mass of the Holy Spirit with us on Tuesday, October 5th. He will be accompanied by Dom Gerard D’Souza who knows the community from a past visitations and a retreat he directed with us. Dom Brendan Freeman is also visiting with us while he is in the country and will be here for the sessions which will be important in moving us into the future.
Fr. David gave a brief report on Br. Robert Simon who is presently in a local nursing home. Br. Robert is suffering from a form of dementia which affects his ability to make good decisions about his movements and has fallen a number of times. He has been receiving some physical therapy and we hope to welcome him back to the community when the care we can provide will be adequate to his needs. He seems quite content with the service and attention he has been receiving at the nursing home.
The Guest House is still planning to re-open on October 15th. There had been some question about reconsidering this in view of the recent resurgence of COVID cases. We hope that our guests will be considerate of others in taking all necessary precautions against spreading this virus. Until December, we are limiting occupancy to twelve guests. All the rooms are booked until December when there are a few openings. The Guest House will be closed for the Christmas holidays from December 20th until January 3rd. All the rooms will now be fitted with new locks and keys. In the past, doors could only be locked when a guest was in the room. There were frequent emergencies of guests having inadvertently locked themselves out of a room. Now, each guest will receive a key upon registration. WE BEG AND BESEECH THEM TO RETURN THE KEY upon leaving. Cursing psalms may be invoked for offenders.
Br. Cyprian is the current guest master, although Ms Carol Freiberger has taken the new position of “Guest Service Manager.” In addition to arranging for reservations, she will supervise all the Guest House personnel in the kitchen, cleaning, etc.
Construction work on the veranda on the south side of the monastery is nearly completed. There have been several weeks of serious jackhammering and sandblasting to reconstruct areas where the structure had deteriorated. A rubber matting is being installed to prevent leaks into the guest house kitchen area. The walls are being painted and limestone facing will be put over the pillars to raise the whole project to aesthetic heights.
The power washing of the limestone exterior of the monastery buildings has been completed, and the crosses in the cemetery were also cleansed from years of accumulated dirt, moss, and lichen. Not lichen good. The various storm sewers around the buildings will also be cleaned and flushed out. Dirt and debris accumulate over the years and can provide comfortable and affordable housing for wandering groundhogs. The new cedar fence between the monastery and farm entrance is nearing completion and makes neat boundary between the guest area and monastic enclosure. It is, however, not high enough to be a challenge for vaulting deer who exercise rights of eminent domain.
The former McAndrew house which we had been renting to a neighbor (now deceased) was not considered to be worth an effort at renovation. We offered it to the local fire department to use as practice for their operations. They accepted this offer, and will have a controlled fire this coming month. This is a win-win situation, since burning the house will save us a considerable amount in demolition and hauling.