Thursday, June 23, 2016

Making Hay

Wild roses bloom in profusion by the side of a partly-mown hayfield.

After all of our rain, the gardens and fields at the Abbey are green and lush. Now is the time to mow those fields whose grass is destined to become hay to keep the livestock over the winter.

Sr. Maria Walburga mowing hay.

Monday, June 13, 2016

New Director for the Oblate Program

Sunday's oblate meeting marked the official turnover of the oblate program to its new director, Sr. Lioba Headlee, OSB. Abbess Emerita Mother Maria-Thomas Beil, who is now "retiring" from being co-director (along with Sr. Genevieve), took the opportunity of this meeting to go over the meaning and significance of the Rite of Oblation, and the rights and duties of Benedictine Oblates.

Benedictine Oblates are men and women who feel drawn to the spirituality of the Rule of St. Benedict, but are not called to the vowed consecrated life of a nun or monk. Rather, Benedictine spirituality serves as their guiding principle as they fulfill their family and work obligations as lay persons living in the world. The oblate community associated with a particular abbey or monastery is a means of support to the oblates as they strive to bring Christian values to their homes and workplaces.

The first oblates at our monastery were organized in the early 1980s by Mother Maria-Thomas; we first celebrated the Rite of Oblation, whereby they dedicate themselves to God in the Benedictine path, in 1985. Over the years other oblate directors have included Sr. Simone Conlin, Sr. Ancilla Armijo, Sr. Hildegard Dubnick, and Sr. Genevieve Glen.

We are always awed by the dedication and commitment to prayer and service undertaken by our oblates, in the midst of busy lives raising families and pursuing careers and studies. They form an inner circle of the many friends and benefactors who help our monastic community through their prayers and material support.

For more information on the oblate program, visit our oblate blog at

Monday, June 6, 2016

Thirty Years Later -- Photographer Valari Jack returns to the Abbey

Back in 1987, photographer Valari Jack, then living in Boulder, spent a lot of time at our monastery (also then located near Boulder) taking photographs. LOTS of photographs. She documented at least a year of life at the monastery; by God's providence there were clothings, a funeral, and other major ceremonial events in the life of the community. But she also captured still life compositions of garden tools casting shadows, Sisters awaiting the beginning of the liturgy, Sisters kneading loaves for bread, and other prosaic everyday scenes.

Back in those days, real film was involved in photography. Valari shot black and white film (fitting enough for us in our Benedictine black), and was so kind as to teach Sr. Ancilla and Sr. Hildegard the rudiments of film developing and printing in a homemade darkroom in one of our guest buildings.

Valari now lives in Washington State, but she came by for a few days last week and, of course, brought her camera. Nowadays, she shoots digital pictures, in color -- we're excited to see what she will come up. She did say that our spirit is still the same -- maybe not so surprising to us, since our Spirit is definitely still the same.

Here are a couple of Valari's photos; for more on her work, please contact her at
The bell tower in front of the main entrance of the Abbey.

The community gathers at the back of the Abbey Church after Compline to sing the Salve Regina.