Friday, August 26, 2016

How many Nuns...

...does it take to feed a water buffalo calf?

"Maggie" was born earlier this summer, and is being trained to the  bottle so that  her mother becomes more accustomed to being milked by humans. Water buffalo milk is especially prized for making mozzarella cheese, so we will hope for success all the way around.

It's a bit hard to see in this picture, but that milk bottle is being aimed at the muzzle of Maggie, the new water buffalo calf. We're hoping she soon gets the concept and stops requiring two Sisters to restrain her while she's being fed.

We've been happy to enjoy the great outdoors quite a bit this summer. Our weather has not been as hot and dry as in many parts of the country. While the grass in the picture below does look pretty scraggly, that is fairly normal for our arid climate.

An evening recreation in our courtyard, Abbey friend Father Robert from Texas regales us with tales of his adventures in parish life and seminary administration.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Abbess Emerita Mother Maria-Thomas Beil celebrates Diamond Jubilee of Vows

On July 29th we had the great joy of celebrating the 60th anniversary of monastic profession with our retired Abbess, Mother Maria-Thomas Beil, OSB. Upwards of sixty guests -- old friends, oblates, and benefactors -- joined us for the beautiful Mass of the Memorial of Sts. Martha, Mary and Lazarus, Friends of the Lord.
Mother Maria-Thomas Beil, OSB, Abbess Emerita, with her festively decorated profession candle and wreath of "diamonds" on her 60th anniversary of profession. Since we burn our profession candles every year on our anniversary, hers has become quite short by now!

Since this feast celebrates friendship and hospitality at Bethany, it is especially dear to us as Benedictines. In his homily on John 11:19-27, Abbey friend Father Frank Garcia underlined the growth of St. Martha's faith -- attested to in her declaration, "I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God". As is our custom, the  Sister celebrating a jubilee takes an additional name, and Mother Maria-Thomas chose "Fides", the Latin word for "faith", as her diamond anniversary name.

Clergy, jubilarian, and choir of nuns and postulants sing together at the Mass for Mother Maria-Thomas' 60th anniversary of monastic profession.

In the last several years, Mother Maria-Thomas has pursued her long-standing interest in art by trying her own hand at colorful paintings and poetic reflections on Scripture passages. She has shared these results of her creative lectio divina with friends and oblates. Some of them arranged a small exhibition of some of her watercolors and pastels in the Abbey lobby and conference room on the occasion of this 60th jubilee.

Some of the paintings and accompanying poems by Mother Maria-Thomas that were displayed at the reception following the celebration of the Eucharist.
A special joy was the presence of several family members of the Jubilarian, who had traveled from Germany and the Netherlands. Also attending were friends from her days as a 5th-grade teacher in Eichstaett, at the school run by our mother house, the Abtei St. Walburg.