Last weekend we had a couple vocation candidates visiting. Recently, on these beautiful summer days we have been playing the Frisbee game, Kan Jam, during our normal recreation period. The game is played 2 vs. 2, with teammates on opposite sides of the field. One teammate throws the Frisbee, the other teammate tries to knock or deflect the Frisbee with his hand into the black can for 3 points. Other scoring involves, 1 point for a deflection (Frisbee hits the outside of the can), and 2 points if the thrower hits the can directly, unassisted by the teammate. The game is played to 21 points. The monks have enjoyed this fun backyard game.
The workers are making lots of progress on the Infirmary addition. The framework for the chapel was built up during this past week. I decided to take some aerial photos of the progress to give an interesting perspective.
We continue to enjoy beautiful and sunny weather with just enough rain to keep everything green.
There are plenty of good things happening around the Abbey during this first week of June. For example, Br. Anselm received three queen bees in the mail for his beehives. I saw him walking back from the post office in front of the monastery, looking rather closely at the box he tore open. I just figured someone had sent him some chocolate and he was really hungry. But, instead, I saw a sight I’ve never seen. Bees shipped in the mail! Have a look yourself.
For several years Br. Anselm has been keeping bees on the Abbey property, but since he lost one of his hives during the winter, he is working to replace it and continue his work.
In other news, a seminarian who is working here this summer was flying a small drone (not the drone I fly) and he got it stuck in the tree outside the westside of the monastery. I called our friendly neighbor and electrician, Darrell Schieber, to see if he would retrieve it for us. Darrell gladly assisted, venturing up to the upper part of the large tree in his bucket lift and plucking it off the branch with his hand. It’s wonderful to know such good people.
Speaking of aerial photography, I took a few more beautiful pictures during sunset the other evening. We are having some gorgeous evenings.
I’ve been working on some videos lately, so be sure to check back to see some of the videos when I publish them.
A few evenings ago, I took to the skies with the aerial drone to capture some beautiful pictures of campus. The generous rains have kept everything nice and green. Br. Etienne used the camera to take pictures of the drone in the air. It’s a pretty awesome invention.
Enjoy the pictures!
During these beautiful summer months the monks go outside after supper as a community. Many times we simply sit outside or walk around the sidewalk and enjoy one another’s company. It is a time to relax, let the food digest, before we return to the Basilica for Compline, our final prayer of the evening.
Here are a few pictures of the monks during the recreation period.
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This past weekend we celebrated with the graduates of Conception Seminary College who completed their bachelors of arts in philosophy and eagerly await the next step in their lives. The Conferral of Degrees was Saturday afternoon followed by a reception. The seminarians departed to their respective dioceses for the summer shortly after Mass on Sunday.
The dynamic on campus is radically different with the absence of 100+ seminarians, especially for those of us who worked or lived with the seminarians. Many of them will help out in parishes, participate in the Totus Tuus catechetical program, take classes, or learn Spanish this summer.
In just one week the new seminarians will be arriving at Conception Seminary College. Those monks directly (and indirectly) involved with their formation are making preparations during these last days.
Just this morning I sat in on a meeting planning the arrival of the freshmen class, which I will oversee this year. We have 26 freshmen! I will be making room assignments over the next 24 hours.
In the meantime, we continue to have beautiful weather, with highs in the low to mid-80s. Hopefully this trend of nice white clouds will continue as we welcome the seminarians and their family as they move in.
These are exciting days for the monastic community as our monastery continues to attract new members. Praise God! On Sunday we received Nicholas Marie as a postulant. Postulant Nicholas is on silent retreat these days with Postulant Adam Haake and Novice Eric Kral. Postulant Adam will enter the novitiate on August 14 and Novice Eric will profess simple vows on August 15. It is always a joyful occasion for the community to celebrate these ceremonies.In other news, I acquired a new board game for the monks to play during recreation periods. I am a big fan of card and board games and Tuesday evening, Br. Etienne, Br. Anselm, and I played Pandemic for the first time. Unlike most competitive board games, this is a cooperative board game where 2-4 players join together to “save humanity” from a worldwide epidemic. We played two times on Tuesday evening as we learned the rules. Our verdict: It is a really fun game and adds a new twist to board games by playing cooperatively. I figured that a game like this would either foster community life or drive us far apart. The former has been true thus far! We look forward to playing again sometime soon. It seems that the monks are always trying to save humanity from destruction.
Br. Etienne and I went for a 15 mile bike ride after Compline the other evening. He (and his impressive beard) are pictured as the sun begins to set.
Br. Placid finished placing the brick around the large tree in the St. Joseph-St. Michael plaza. The inside is now filled with rocks and plants and looks very nice. There has been a lot of work done on campus this summer, and still more to do.
It was a sweltering 90 degrees at the Abbey today. Of course we have seen warmer, and during most summers, we would regard 90 as nothing special, but it has been a cooler summer, so it feels downright hot and humid today.
Thunderstorms caused some havoc in the area, mainly with the electricity toward the end of the afternoon before Evening Prayer. A storm rolled in rather quickly and there were fierce bolts of lightning. The power flickered several times, then went off completely for a few seconds before turning back on. That happened several times. The monks went to prayer in the Basilica, and the rumbling of thunder rattled the stained glass windows. One phase of the electricity went out when we were chanting the Psalms. The organ temporarily cut out, but the monks kept on singing. At one point a power surge caused the fire alarm to go off. We kept on singing. Two of the monks had to exit choir in order to take care of the alarm and check things out.
I hit the road on my bike today, but my adventure turned out to have an added twist. While descending the first hill on Highway V V, I saw another cyclist on the road. Riding alongside, I said, “Hello,” and he introduced himself as Chris Davis, one of our new seminarians from Manhattan, Kansas. I told Chris that I was planning a 27 mile ride, and he was welcome to join me and I could show him a good route. After talking to him, he said he had wanted to pick up a few items at Wal-Mart in Maryville. So, I told him I would accompany him and show him the way.
Chris and I rode into town together and chatted along the way. It was a lot of fun having another person to bike with, especially someone who could keep up. We stopped at Wal-Mart so that he could pick up a few supplies before heading back. It ended up being a 35 mile trip, but I might have some company cycling in future rides.