Thursday, July 31, 2014

If you go...

If you go to England or Ireland and you are of a Benedictine persuasion, you must consider visiting not only ruins of past abbeys and monasteries (of which there are many) but present day ones. That is what comes to mind today as I have been browsing through the Benedictine yearbook 2013 which I found just lying on a table in our community room. It's subtitle is: a guide to the Abbeys, Priories, Parishes and Schools of the Monks and Nuns following the Rule of Saint Benedict in Great Britain, Ireland and their Overseas Foundations. (A bit of a mouthful!).

But I love these kind of things and I'll share with you some of the current reality of the RB life there.

1) In the year of these statistics there were 290 Benedictine men in 10 abbeys, and 35 nuns in three monasteries in the English Congregation.

2) There are, additionally, 13 more communities of women and 10 of men in this geographical area belonging to other Benedictine congregations. These groups account for 373 women and 163 men.

3) The Cistercians, who reformed the Benedictine order in the 11th c, have 8 houses of men (142 monks) and 4 houses of women (65 nuns).

In a word, "small" and getting smaller all the time. However, I have been to 2-3 of these places and they are really something to visit. First, because they were founded in years such as 1607 or 1625; secondly, their architecture is marvelous; third, the obvious, we are all Benedictine and our commonalities far surpass the European/USA differences.

P.S. They all have websites: go to the Geographic section and search for England--Voila!

On the home front, we have had a couple days of summer storms passing through--Translation: thunder and lightening to beat the band, along with rain, of course. We often comment that we wish we could magically swoop up our rain water (and snow in the winter) and send it off to areas suffering drought.

A terrific lightening storm came through Monday night. Here's a huge tree that was hit and fell, luckily, just in the yard of the people's house.