Thursday, August 20, 2009

Someone's at the Windows

We had one of those "Weren't they interesting guests!" experiences this week.

In the middle of Evening Praise Monday those of us on the north side of chapel could see--through the south stained-glass windows--a person walking up the sidewalk beside the chapel to a seldom-used door. But the sisters on the south side weren't aware of this because the windows are behind them--so no one got up to see what was going on!

Minutes later I spied the person again as she came around the perimeter of the chapel on her way to the front door; so I got up and went to see what was going on. In halting English, a woman introduced herself as Hildegard--and her husband Alfred, who was sitting in their large camper that was parked in our side lot.

They are oblates of two monasteries in Germany and, for her 70th birthday, her husband gave her a 6-month "pilgrimage" visiting Benedictine abbeys and monasteries in the US--we were #42 on their list! They began their extraordinary trip in Baltimore where they picked up their camper that they had sent ahead, via ship, from Hamburg. They began traveling the southern route of the US, up the California coast, even visiting one OSB place in southwestern Canada, and then heading back through the north, hitting many of the OSB places in the Dakotas, Minnesota and all those other Benedictine-rich midwest states.

As we were having one of our rare 90+ temperature days when they arrived, we insisted they stay in one of our guest rooms rather than in their non-air-conditioned camper. They were really suffering the effects of the very hot afternoon.

They told us of being in some of our midwest summer weather: a small tornado, rains, a little flooding. When you consider that Germany is about the size of Montana, this US adventure is quite a daunting task.

They were delightful and even though the language barrier was severe, our common Benedictinism was enough to make a connection. They left the next morning after breakfast heading to Toronto for more Benedictine experiences.

Guests are always interesting! We can't wait until our entire guest hall (15 rooms) is back to being fully available. Book your stay now!

Benedictine oblates, Hildegard and Alfred,
from Haltern-Sythen, Germany.