Thursday, May 15, 2008

Southeast Asia

Much of our conversation this week has shifted from the country's political scene to the natural disasters: cyclones, earthquakes and tornadoes, that have recently occurred in Myanmar and China, and our own midwestern states.

The prioress of a community in Washington state called to see if there were any Benedictine or Cistercian communities in Myanmar that could use some assistance, as her community wanted to make a donation to the relief efforts there. We didn't know of any, but referred her to Catholic Relief Services.

There are Benedictines in China, but not many and mostly in Taiwan. In fact one of our sister's brothers is a member of the Maryknoll order and is presently stationed in Hong Kong in far southeastern China.

There are numerous monastic communities in the midwest. Nearly 2/3rds of all US Benedictine communities are within 150 miles of the Mississippi, quite a number in Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma--all the way from North Dakota to Louisiana.

We added all the victims of these terrible tragedies to our prayers this week--and we also prayed for all those marvelous relief agencies who respond so quickly and generously to these disasters.

Photo by Stephanie Schmidt. OSB