We hope you enjoy this video about our life at home during the very exceptional year of 2020.
Click here for the link.
As a way of entering into the spirit of Pentecost together we wanted to share with you this Letter of Response to Abbot Primate Gregory Polan: responding to his question of our experience during this time of pandemic.
A few months ago, Fr. Daniel Hörnemann of the Benedictine Abbey and Community in Gerleve, Germany, contacted us with the hope of translating the book, as Gerleve is working hard on its archives. Since that is where brother Leo began his monastic journey it is wonderful to feel his life being so warmly remembered by his original brothers.
The cover of the German translation is a picture of a young brother Leo at study in Gerleve with a number of books in front of him. That picture appears on page 29 of the English publication. He looks so young, with so much promise! Who would have ever thought that he would be the founder of Weston Priory, which "along with five other monasteries in the United States represent a return to the more ancient traditions." (See page 95)
We wish to thank Abbot Andreas and the monks at St. Joseph’s Abbey in Gerleve, Germany, for their interest and efforts to have the book translated into German. We cannot be grateful enough to Fr. Daniel Hörnemann, a monk of Gerleve, for his German translation of the book and for all the work he did to research some of the background history in the book in order to have it prepared for publication; Fr. Elmar also assisted him in the endeavor. Our gratitude also goes to Abbot Emeritus Pius Engelbert from Gerleve for offering to write the Forward; and to Fr. Cyrill from EOS Publishers at St. Ottilen Archabbey in Germany for publishing the German Edition.
So we encourage everyone to look at the original book again if you have it already, and to know that the book is available at our homepage under the Gallery Shop tab. It is very easy to find, and always a joyful way of being connected to our ongoing daily life as we continue our journey through this pandemic time.
Many may be wondering if we will open soon for public prayer. We continue to feel our way through this question, and have no plans for resuming public prayer at this time.
|Sisters Margarita, Graciela and Aurora|
This year our presence to each other is just as challenging. Many people are not aware that the sisters have two mission houses in the United States. In one of them, Emporia, Kansas, the sisters oversee a Latin American immigrant community, with many of their parishioners working in the meat processing factories. As we well know, these laborers have been highly exposed to COVID 19, and the community of three sisters were exposed to the virus. The death of Sister Aurora Villamar, who was in her mid-seventies is a witness to how utterly generous the sisters have been in serving our country.
The community of Josefina Maria Valencia, which was responsible for the school that many groups visited, just a block away from the Motherhouse, was also exposed to the virus. On one night, two sisters died: Sister Margarita Guzman, and Sister Graciela Cuara. It was a real shock for us when the sisters contacted us of their death, and it must come as a real shock as you read this.
Since we have had some time to absorb this pain we can feel what the sisters wrote to us from the first: They were grateful that the sisters did not die alone. With Sister Aurora, the sisters were able to go to the hospital and because of the generosity of a Hispanic nurse were able to be with her in her final hours. Sister Margarita died in her sleep at home, and Sister Graciela also died at home, surrounded by sisters as they waited for an ambulance to take her to the hospital.
Our presence to each other at this time is precious. Both the living and those who have gone before us in faith are present in our hearts when we listen and are quiet; as we grieve; and as we pick ourselves up and continue serving one another with love. When we proclaim, "Our trust is in God," the words have never before been so laden with meaning. Our faith is our hope.
In trust and in the light of faith we continue our journeys, but as the pandemic continues the distance we must take from each other is not getting larger. We journey as one family.