Guest House Kitchen Renovation

We wish to express our immense gratitude to all who enabled us to renovate the monastery’s guest house kitchen. Gone are the old, rusty, second-hand metal cabinets, the worn-through enamel sink and the malfunctioning stove. The new installation includes a dishwasher, as well as a stove with a warming drawer, both of which will make it easier for us to serve groups, on “real” plates. We hope you’ll come visit us soon!
 Below are some “before”, “during” and “after” photos:










Oblate Day

If you are already a Benedictine oblate, or if you would like to consider becoming an oblate of Transfiguration Monastery, please join us for an Oblate Day on Saturday, March 29. Sister Donald will give two talks on Benedictine spirituality and Sister Miriam will provide a delicious, home-cooked lunch. The schedule will be as follows:

10:00: coffee and snack

10:30: conference, followed by quiet time

12:00: midday prayer and lunch

1:30: conference, followed by quiet time and an opportunity to visit with the sisters

The Oblate Day officially ends at 2:30, but all are welcome to stay and join us for Vespers at 4:00 and the Vigil Mass of Sunday at 5:00. Six bedrooms are available for guests coming from a distance who wish to stay overnight.

Suggested donation: $20

For those not familiar with the term, “oblate” (from the Latin verb “to give” or “offer”) refers to lay persons or clergy who wish to live the Rule of St. Benedict in a way that can be adapted to their lives “in the world”, and who are affiliated with a specific Benedictine monastery, where they receive spiritual support.

Letter from a French friend to Pope Francis

A French friend of ours wrote to the Pope the other day, scanned the handwritten letter, and sent us a copy via email. The letter so impressed us that we asked her permission to translate and post it, which she granted. We’ve withheld her name and address to preserve confidentiality, but we’ve kept her sometimes eccentric use of punctuation and capital letters.

To: His Holiness Pope Francis

Convent of St. Martha

courtesy of the postman and the Blessed Virgin



 As the niece of a priest, I am very attached to the Church and to the Pope. I pray for you and your intentions every day, in giving thanks for your Election.

If I take the liberty of writing to you, it is to ask you to shed some “Light” on the delicate situation of my divorced and remarried friends, who are excluded from Communion and from the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Personally, I have been a widow since November 5, 1973, at which point I was expecting our third child. Thanks be to God, my children have now become beautiful adults, in good health. On a spiritual level, they are seeking, and my 4 year old grandson is not officially baptized, although his “Nana” did it discreetly the first time she visited him. She remembered her catechism, especially because she and her twin sister were not expected to live (together, they weighed a total of 7 lbs. at birth!!!!), and so were baptized immediately on January 12, 1948. We have just celebrated our 66 years of survival!!!

The doctor “didn’t want to take care of” my sister. She became a beautiful contemplative Benedictine nun and is very happy in her monastery. I am certain that baptism saved us, and that God “put her aside” on that day!

Let us return to the reason for my letter. Jesus said, “Come and eat, ALL of you.” He didn’t say: except for So-and -So!! If he were to come back, he would be very disappointed ; he would be angry at seeing his children deprived of the best, of what is Essential, while a criminal, after a good confession, can receive the Body of Christ. But it’s more complicated if the “crime” is to be divorced and remarried!!! In the Catholic Church, it is better to be a criminal than to be divorced. Jesus said, “What God has united, let not man put asunder”…….but HE HIMSELF separates them, by death…..!!

Every Christian can ask for a marriage annulment; crowned heads do it freely and obtain annulments quickly, as opposed to the humble!!… The Church goes so far as to push the divorced to suicide, to solitude, and it condemns those who remarry, most of whom were not responsible for the divorce, to this ENORMOUS injustice, this ENORMOUS suffering. Personally, I could have chosen to remarry, I could even do so now, but I refuse to do so. Nevertheless, Jesus said, “Love one another.”

You will tell me that the Church has evolved throughout the centuries: before, the divorced and those who had committed suicide were buried like dogs. Now the Church welcomes them and recognizes that sickness, depression, or a bad combination of medicines may have led them to such misfortune. But did the Church apologize to their families for the many years (of injustice)? Unfortunately NO! If I have not left the Church, it is because the Blessed Virgin is holding me by the hand. God has given me the grace to see this.

Why have certain people left to join the Protestants, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc.? One could ask why there aren’t more “clients” in your seminaries and your churches; the reasons lie not only on the side of the “faithful”.

With this letter I am not trying to settle a score with the Church, but rather to present a Mountain of unanswered questions on behalf of my divorced and remarried or unbelieving friends!…!

I hope that you will find time to answer me, in spite of your very busy schedule, and write me what you intend to do, in terms of actions, rather than good, anesthetizing words for all of your poor sinners!

I follow regularly KTO (a French Catholic television station), where I have the joy of being in communion with you in prayer and various services, and where you can reach out to those who are isolated, elderly or sick.

Thank you for all that you are doing. May God bless you and keep you. I assure you of my respect and my prayers.

Happy Birthday, Sister Jeanne-Marie!

Sister Jeanne-Marie turned 88 on Monday. We ordered a large marble cake from Wegman’s and drove to Scranton, where we joined her for a festive lunch at the Holy Family Residence, run by the Little Sisters of the poor. We are profoundly grateful to the Little Sisters. Thanks to their superb medical and spiritual care and support, our sister and the other residents are able to live out the final chapter of their earthly lives in peace, serenity, dignity and happiness, despite their infirmities.


Happy New Year!



For the past few years, the town of Windsor has sponsored a child-friendly, alcohol-free First Night celebration, during which one can migrate from church to church for various activities and food possibilities: for example, the Knights of Columbus served dinner at Our Lady of Lourdes, the Baptists had a petting zoo, and the Methodists had tables set up where people could make fancy hats. One of us, after representing the community at the ecumenical Blessing of the New Year service (also sponsored by the Methodists), encountered Father Time.

As Time marches on, we wish all of you, friends, benefactors and blog followers, a Blessed and Happy New Year 2014. 

A Blessed and Joyful Christmas to All!

May the Christ Child fill all of our hearts with peace and joy on this Holy Night and throughout the coming Year!


Last Saturday, the Bishop of Syracuse came to bless the new library, with many of our friends in attendance, including those who had helped with the construction, wiring, book-moving, cataloging, solving computer problems, etc. The ceremony was short but meaningful, and was followed by convivial sharing of coffee and cookies. We had hoped to share a video of the occasion, but our computer skills aren’t quite up to such a feat. 

Blessings, glad tidings of comfort and joy, and all our best wishes!



Advent Day of Recollection

Just a reminder and an invitation to join us on Saturday, December 14, for a quiet day, during which we will remember that “Jesus is the reason for the season.”  Please let us know by Tuesday, December 10, if you plan to come, so we’ll know how much food to prepare.

The schedule will be as follows:

- 9:00: Mass

- coffee, muffins & fruit

- 10:00: talk by Sr. Donald: “Out of darkness into his marvellous light.”

 - Quiet time

 - 12:00 Noon Prayer

 - 12:15 Hearty, home-cooked lunch

 - Quiet time

- 1:45 talk by Sr. Donald: “Love, the guest, is on the way.”


Thanksgiving Poem

A friend who is an interfaith minister sent us the following message and poem:

Join Me in the Pure Atmosphere of Gratitude 
I slip in and out of the Sea at night with this
Amazed soul I have.
I am like a magnificent, magic ocean turtle
Who sets aside his vast wings of
Blue effulgence
When I crawl upon your shores
To leave my divine seed of verse.
Let me remain cryptic tonight
All the way till dawn
As I orbit God
In this holy, ecstatic mood.
Grab hold of the corners
Of my luminous, tender shell
And I will whirl for you,
For I am covered with eminent crystals
That I have gathered from the infinite depths
Of love.
Follow my tracks in the sand that lead
Beyond thought and space,
For I can see deep down
That you are really a golden bird
That needs to
With your spirit enraptured and ascending
On the currents of Light -
On the currents of His
Join me with your hands, wings, hoofs or fins
In my sublime applause.
Join me in the pure atmosphere of gratitude
For life.
I slip in and out of the Moon each night
With a gracious ease
With this brilliant heart I have.
The Beautiful Friend, the Exquisite One,
Sometimes steps from His Invisible Body
And walks upon our shore
So that we might see and know
His radiant Tender Shell-
His eminent crowns
That are the three worlds.
O grab hold of the hem of His skirt
As He spins this Universe on an emerald
Dance floor!
Cling to the Transcendent Elements in His glance
As the Beloved forever whirls
His Love.
Slips in and out of God at night
Tied to his own amazed

From Our House to Yours: Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Hannukah

ImageAs snow ushers in the impending holidays, we remember with gratitude our numerous friends, oblates and benefactors. May this be a season of light for all of us.

Sister Sheila had planned to drive to South Hadley, Massachusetts, to pick up a Chinese Mount Holyoke student who wanted to come here for Thanksgiving, but we decided to postpone her visit because of the storm.  In the meantime, we’re expecting 8 local guests for Thanksgiving dinner, by which time the roads should be clear.

On Friday, a large group of Boy Scouts will be hiking between various local churches, stopping at each church for a talk on one of the Ten Commandments. Since the monastery doesn’t have room for the expected number of Scouts and their families, we’ve been asked to give our presentation at the Windsor Civic Center. The Commandment assigned to us is “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”  Sr. Donald immediately came up with a plan to talk about fidelity, which is also an important value in monastic life.

In future posts, you may find us referring to “Sister Myriam”. Sister Laura was given the name “Myriam” when she was clothed with the monastic habit in her previous monastery, and since that name was/is very meaningful to her, she has decided to go back to using it.

Travel safely, if you have to travel! We’re enjoying hunkering down.


The Pope’s Rabbi and the Nun

Last month, on the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, our good friend, Sister Celia Deutsch, was invited to participate in a dialogue with Rabbi Avram Skorka at Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. (Sr. Celia said we should also give credit to the Milstein Center for Interreligious Dialogue at JTS.) Long before the last papal election, Rabbi Skorka and Pope Frances had developed a close friendship in Argentina; recently, they decided to make some of their conversations available in book form, under the title “On Heaven and Earth”. Last month’s event at JTS was in part a dialogue about that dialogue. It is well worth watching!


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