Happy Feast Days this week!

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To one that is so fair and bright
Velut maris stella,
Brighter than the day is light,
Parens et puella,
I cry to thee to turn to me:
Lady pray thy Son for me,
Tam pia,
That I may come to thee,
Maria.

In sorrow, counsel thou art best,
Felix fecundata:
For all the weary thou art rest,
Mater honorata:
Beseech him in thy mildest mood,
Who for us did shed his blood
In cruce
That we may come to him
In luce.

All this world was forlorn,
Eva peccatrice,
Till our Saviour Lord was born
De te genetrice;
With thy Ave sin went away,
Dark night went and in came day
Salutis.
The well of healing sprang from thee
Virtutis.

Lady, flower of every thing,
Rosa sine spina,
Thou bore Jesu, heaven’s King,
Gratia divina.
Of all I say thou bore the prize,
Lady, Queen of paradise,
Electa;
Maiden mild, Mother
Es effecta.
(Anon. Medieval)

Thanksgiving Blessings

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On this snowy Thanksgiving morning, we give thanks especially for you, our friends, and pray God to shower you with blessings.

O Lord that lends me life,
Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.
William Shakespeare

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough, and more.
It turns denial into acceptance,
chaos to order, confusion to clarity.
It can turn a meal into a feast,
a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.
Gratitude makes sense of our past,
brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.
Melody Beattie

We return thanks to our mother, the earth, which sustains us.
We return thanks to the rivers and streams, which supply us with water.
We return thanks to all herbs, which furnish medicines for the cure of our diseases.
We return thanks to the moon and stars, which have given us their light when the sun was gone.
We return thanks to the sun, that looked upon the earth with a beneficent eye.
Lastly, we return thanks to the Great Spirit, in Whom is embodied all goodness,
and Who directs all things for the good of Her children.
Iroquois Prayer

Upcoming Days of Recollection

Our next Oblate Day will take place on Saturday, November 15. Sr. Donald’s morning conference will be on oblate formation, and the afternoon conference on beauty as a way to God.

On Saturday, November 22, Sr. Donald will offer reflections on Thomas Merton and the spiritual journey: a celebration of his life and work, in honor of the 100th anniversary of his birth.

The schedule for both days will follow our usual format:

10:00: coffee and snack

10:30: conference, followed by discussion and/or quiet time

12:00: midday prayer and a home-cooked lunch

1:30: conference

The day of recollection ends officially 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.

Suggested donation: $25

Chanting Meditation: September 20

On Saturday, September 20, 2014, we shall be sponsoring a day of chanting meditation with Marsha Eger in the parish hall of Our Lady of Lourdes Church here in Windsor. No special singing ability or prior experience with chant or meditation is necessary.

Marsha

Marsha has a Master’s Degree in Ritual Chant and  is a teacher and singer of chants of all world traditions. She teaches chant and meditation in Ireland, notably at the Benedictine Abbey of Glenstal, as well as in Europe and the U.S. Her description of the workshop is as follows:

“During this day-long workshop, a perfect break from the everyday busyness and stress of life, Marsha will discuss the benefits of chanting and meditation and will lead participants in chants from many of the world’s spiritual traditions. Chanting will be followed by periods of quiet or meditation, so that participants can experience the power of a chanting meditation practice. This in itself will create inner peace, but we will go more deeply. Throughout the day the focus of discussion, chants, poetry and prose, will be on inner peace, living calmly amidst the turmoil and stress of our lives. We will look at how both Western and Eastern traditions approach the idea and practice of creating inner peace as a state-of-being.”

Practical details:

Time: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. Marsha will be taking care of registration for the workshop. (If you are coming from out of town and would like to stay at the monastery guest house, please contact the Sisters to reserve a room.)

COST: $50

To enroll: email Marsha at: chantingmeditation@yahoo.com

or call her at: (607) 592-2465

Please bring your own lunch. Tea/coffee breaks will include homemade treats.

Please email Marsha with any questions and to register at: chantingmeditation@yahoo.com

Sabbath Psalm

Psalm 92 as rendered by Gaya Aranoff Bernstein

It’s good to pause
to praise the Lord
and notice all you have
with Sabbath eyes

to take the sofa
off your back
and sit

to start the morning
sing the dawn
and see the work of God

to slow
the pace
of time

to wonder at the colors
and the fragrance of the earth
to look up and
to see the cerulean skies

to wait until the stars bring back
inevitable night
and you resume your search
to gather shards of scattered light

those who never stop
to lift their eyes
can’t contemplate
the work
of God

the righteous are renewed by God
like palm trees near a stream
like cedars old and strong
and evergreen

from Psalmsongs: A Gathering of Psalms (Arthur Kurzweil Books, 2014)

False rumor!

Last week, we got a vocation inquiry from someone in California who said that she’d heard that Transfiguration Monastery was closing. She did not want to disclose the source of the rumor.

For the record, we’re alive and well, living our contemplative monastic life to the best of our ability, in fidelity to God and to the Rule of St. Benedict. We plan to keep going for as long as God gives us life and health, and we hope that there will be women discerning a vocation to contemplative monasticism who will ask to join us.

If you would like to attend the Oblate Day on July 26 and have not yet signed up, please contact us as soon as possible. We have room for one additional overnight guest.

Oblate Day, July 26, 2014

We invite all Benedictine oblates, as well as those interested in becoming oblates, to an Oblate Day on Saturday, July 26. Sister Donald will give two conferences on the theme, “Deepening Prayer,” and there will be ample time for silent reflection and prayer.

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 meet with the sisters

The Oblate Day ends officially 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 overnight guests coming from a distance.

Suggested donation: $20.

Iconography Retreat

This past week, six of us had the great privilege of writing an icon of St. Michael, under the tutelage of Mrs. Roseanne Rouff, with talks on the theology of icons by Sr. Donald. Our friend Betsy Hughes catered the noon meal each day, thus freeing Sr. Sheila and Sr. Myriam to participate in the retreat.

Before her retirement, Roseanne worked for 34 years as a special education teacher. Her expertise in this area was evident in the care with which she prepared the materials for each participant, the clarity of her instructions, her infinite patience and her supportive attitude. Of the six participants, four of us had never written an icon before. Any initial tension around our “performance” soon gave way to the realization that the point was not to create a great work of art, or even to finish on time, but rather to center down, enter into the process and connect with the Archangel Michael.

In addition to sharing illuminating theological insights, Sr. Donald talked to us about the sacred geometry in the icons of the Transfiguration and the Holy Trinity, as well as the significance of the various colors. She also prepared a folder for each participant with meditations and articles for further reflection and color reproductions of a wide variety of icons. To nourish our prayer, she led us in a meditation that she often uses when giving retreats on the Trinity icon.

At the end, we all expressed the hope that Roseanne would agree to lead us in a second class. Roseanne felt strongly, and we concurred, that the three days had been too short. Even though the point was prayer, rather than having a beautiful finished picture to take home, we’d all felt a certain pressure to finish. If we do this again, possibly next October, we’ll schedule four full days, instead of three.

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