Blogging about life at a Benedictine monastery in St. Joseph, Minnesota
Thursday, October 13, 2016
"You Are My Sunshine" in Bristow, Va.
It wasn’t until I sat around the
table with the elder sisters while they sang “You Are My Sunshine” that I
realized I was homesick. Granted, the tears were tears of joy, but in that
moment I knew that I did miss home. I missed my mom and the way that she used
to sing this song to me when I was young. As I began to cry, I was quickly
consoled by all the sisters; many left what they were doing to come hug me or
bring me a tissue. However, I wasn’t crying because I wanted to go home or that
I was sad. I was crying because I was happy. I was so over taken by joy that
this place and these sisters could replicate such a fond memory of my mom. In
just a short month, these sisters here, in this community, have become family to
Just like any family, each
individual here has their own unique personality, idiosyncrasies and habits.
They have their own ways of doing things and sometimes that might just make you
a little crazy! It’s like living in a college dorm again. Only this time, I am
coming into someone else’s home and there is no room for compromise: habits are
already formed, processes established and ways of doing something are already
For a while, I simply observed
the sisters and how they did things. I watched as they talked to others, the
habits that they have, how they wash dishes and tried to fall into place as
best as I could. I didn’t exactly expect to be given a handbook on how to best
fit into the monastic lifestyle, but a little more guidance might have been
helpful! (Maybe someone would like to write a book about this: The Unspoken Rules of Monastic Life in
Bristow, Va.!) However, the sisters have been more than kind when filling
me in on how things are done. And if I think that the request is a little bit
ridiculous, I have learned that the best answer is always “Yes, sister.” with a
smile and nod.
Beyond the typical adjustment
period and bouts of homesickness, the monastery has been great and many new
things have transpired since I last posted a blog here. I’m no longer just site
managing for classes at Beacon or facilitating technology in various
classrooms, but I have my very own class! I’m teaching grammar to seven adult
students who are learning to better their English. I couldn’t be more excited or
nervous. The students are incredible and advanced in their ability to read,
write and understand English. Their enthusiasm and passion to continue learning
amazes me every time we have class. They ask questions and crave knowledge. I
never knew teaching would be so fulfilling for me, but I leave class after session
feeling accomplished and proud--proud of my students, their desire to learn and
their interest in everything! I’m only on my fifth day of teaching, but I’ll
keep you posted on how the classroom experience continues to go.
I have also gotten to explore the
area around the monastery. A few weeks back, Mo and I went rock climbing at an
indoor facility and did some exploring around Virginia. On Monday, we returned
from our weekend excursion to Bethany Beach, Del., where we spent the weekend
at a beach house with a few of the sisters. It was so beautiful and gave me
just the piece of home that I was craving.
This blog is maintained by a group of Sisters at Saint Benedict's Monastery in St. Joseph, Minnesota. We try to post weekly and often succeed at that.
The opinions on this blog belong to individual writers and do not reflect any official position of the monastery. Please feel free to comment on any of the entries-- comments are moderated, but we'll publish any reasonable comment.