Convent or Monastery

Leaving the Bunker

A bunker interior with ladder ascending into open air and blue sky

A time to flee: In the times when we feel most threatened by a hostile world, retreat is a natural, even necessary, response. We seek a place of safety: a place where we can think, speak and live in accordance with our beliefs. We may even conclude that this can only be done by removing ourselves from, and shutting out, the hostility of the culture around us. So we surround ourselves with those things and people that are healthful toRead more

Prieuré d’Orsan (Berry, France)

Prieuré d'Orsan

A monastic ideal: A “potager garden” is the French version of a traditional kitchen garden. This style of gardening is meant to produce excellent edibles, but the garden itself is also designed to be beautiful. Flowers, edible and non-edible, are woven through the fruits and vegetables. The result is a companion planting dream. The monastic gardens of the middle ages would have resembled potagers because for the monks the garden was crucial as their source of food and medicine, butRead more

Beautiful, worthwhile, noble

Monastery hallway

Illumination for today: Some years ago I was visiting an Anglican convent. There were many things to love about it. I loved the old building with its historic architecture and homey touches. I loved the enormous pear tree that grew in the courtyard. And I loved how it felt to walk at twilight down the illuminated corridor that ran from the Guest House to the Chapel. The sisters were a wise and jovial bunch, and they had rather brilliantly madeRead more

The Room of Righteous Indignation

A medieval monastic corridor

An Excerpt from “Tales of a Magic Monastery” by Theophane the Monk The guestmaster looked at me carefully and lead me to a room marked “Righteous Indignation.” “Good,” I thought, “back home some people don’t understand me. They think I’m judgemental. But this man understands.” There wasn’t much in the room besides the four walls, and that was all right with me. I sat down and meditated a while. Then I read my Bible. I found myself looking at thoseRead more

The soul’s longing

Old fashioned villa on a hill

“Heaven-Haven: A Nun takes the veil” by Gerard Manley Hopkins: I have desired to go where springs not fail, to fields where flies no sharp and sided hail, and a few lilies blow. And I have asked to be where no storms come, where the green swell is in the havens dumb, and out of the swing of the sea. A prayer O God, in the course of this busy life, give us times of refreshment and peace; and grantRead more

Enough

Statue set of musical nuns

An ancient nun’s musings: One day while I was visiting a convent, one of the very ancient nuns approached me in her wheelchair and struck up a casual conversation. When I asked her how she was, she gave me this curious answer: “Well, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to have enough.” At the time her statement struck me as absurd. Here was a woman who had decades earlier taken vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.Read more