Thursday, October 9, 2008

Eastern Belgium

I'm just back from a week in eastern Belgium at a meeting for AIM. Here is a sampling from the three monasteries where I stayed and where the meetings were held.

Monastery of St. Andre de Clerlande-Benedictine monks. Twenty-two monks live, almost literally, in the woods. Their setting is very similar to our hermitages, except it's for the whole monastery grounds and buildings:

The Benedictine Sisters of Rixensart are a group of 20-24 who live in a rather overly large and not-too-pretty building, but they have lovely art work throughout. The photo on the left is of Jesus and Benedict, with scenes from Benedict's life all around the perimeter. I think this is Benedict in the statue on the right, too. In addition to their art they also have fresh flowers everywhere.

A small group of 10 Trappist nuns live just south of Liege on the far eastern border of Belgium at Brialmont Abbey. They grow and sell mushrooms for their livelihood and, though the youngest is 60, they were very hospitable and enjoyed having us visit. Our meetings were held at their place, as they have a large and modern guesthouse.