I was back in the stained glass shop last week working on a couple of projects. I paused from the windows that I am working on in the monastery in order to work on a personal project. I made a design for the half circle window opening in my monastery room. The top of most windows in the renovated monastery has a 26.5″ wide and 12.5″ tall semi circle. I recently acquired glass from a shop in St. Joseph, Missouri, so that I could work on this project.
Take a look at the progress. Above: The design worked up in Adobe InDesign.
Below: Beginning the assembly (the “rays” are a clear, frost-like glass pattern).
Below: My project for the monastery chapter room is in progress.
Benedictine, benedictine monks, camp, campers, catholic, church, Companion Camp, Conception Abbey, Conception Seminary College, high school, Monastery, monastic life, monks, pictures, Prayer, priesthood, religious life, reunion, seminarians, seminary, staff, vocations
A Benedictine monastery and a seminary college is an important place for high school boys to visit. A positive experience at such an impressionable age, even if only for the weekend, lends the opportunity to strengthen a young person’s faith and help cultivate and sustain their relationship with God. I know this because I have seen it happen year after year. That is the reason I have willingly subjected myself to weeks of planning and a tiring weekend of energetic campers and activities.
This past weekend was the 19th year for Conception Seminary’s Companion Camp. But, this year was a bit different. For years we have welcomed 6th, 7th, and 8th grade boys for a weekend camp focused on faith, fun, and fellowship. We have also invited high school boys to come and help out as part of the camp staff and serve as role models for the campers. Throughout the years, the attendance varied between 30 to 80 campers. In recent years, however, many dioceses have begun their own summer camps, which often conflicted with the scheduled dates for Companion Camp. Seminarians who were normally free to come and assist with our weekend camp were sometimes not available because of camp duties in their home diocese.
The Director of Admissions for Conception Seminary College typically assumes the responsibility for Companion Camp. Brother Luke, having professed monastic vows on August 15, 2015, was assigned to this role as his first year in the Admission’s Office. When the future of Companion Camp came into question, Brother Luke did not want to see the event simply disappear. For the past two years, he, too, witnessed the excitement of our high school staff for whom camp had become their annual summer tradition. Brother Luke’s idea was to have this year’s camp specifically for the high school staff who have been so dedicated to attending camp and helping out—some participating for as many as 6 or 7 years.
The high school boys arrived Friday afternoon and stayed through Sunday lunch. The weekend was filled with many of the familiar activities of previous camps— individual and group challenges, board games, ice breakers, and their favorites: dodgeball and an epic water balloon battle.
The smaller group of eleven high schoolers and a few monks, allowed for more flexibility with the schedule and the activities. Father Brendan, the President-Rector of Conception Seminary College, met a couple times with the group to teach them lectio divina. They joined the monks for prayer regularly and, on Saturday evening, there was a Holy Hour and the Sacrament of Reconciliation was available. We wanted them to deepen their relationship with Christ. That would be the best gift we could possibly give them for the weekend.
Two seminarians who are working on campus this summer were able to share their vocation stories and answer the questions that the high schoolers had about seminary life. Some of the young men said they have considered the priesthood and they are trying to discover God’s will in their lives. It was especially important for them to interact with the seminarians and monks, meeting and hearing the stories of men who are striving to respond to God’s call daily.
We hope to welcome more young people to campus to experience the peaceful environment, prayer with the monastic community, and fellowship with one another. Next summer, Father Brendan intends to host a weeklong conference, One Bread, One Cup, at Conception Abbey and Seminary College. High school students and college age men and women will be welcomed to enter into the rich tradition of Benedictine prayer and spirituality. We are very excited about extending such an invitation to our former-campers.
Br. Jonathan, R.N., Br. Maximilian, C.N.A. and staff members from our Infirmary & Our Lady Rickenbach (Benedictine Sisters of Clyde) took part in a workshop on “Dealing With Difficult Personalities in the Health Care Setting.” The session took place in the conference room of St. Gabriel Guest House on the north campus this afternoon. The presenter was Michele Hinds Ph.D., R.N., C.N.E., the Associate Professor of Nursing, Benedictine College.
Br. Jonathan and Br. Maximilian are work and care for our elderly and infirmed monks in St. Stephen’s Infirmary. Our oldest monk, Fr. Anthony, will be 95 years old in August and professed monastic vows in 1940!
These past 10 days or so have been absolutely beautiful. It has been sunny and in the 70’s and 80’s. It is certainly a good start for the summer. By the end of the week, it will be into the 90’s.
The seminarians have been away for a few weeks. Three of them returned this week to do some work around campus for the next month. The shift to the summer schedule has been pleasant. The monks have had enjoyable and relaxing time in community. Br. Etienne (pictured below) and I have been spending most evenings biking, going for quick 15 mile rides. Yesterday evening, despite the strong south wind, we set our fastest time so far.
Below are a few of the scenery pictures feature on Conception Abbey’s Facebook page as the “Photo of the Day.” These pictures show how beautiful and green things are this time of year.