Friday, June 18, 2021

2020 Part 2 Video



We hope you enjoy this video about our life at home during the very exceptional year of 2020.

Click here for the link.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Revisiting the Year 2020


At the start of 2020, who could expect the very radical change that was soon to happen to our lives?

We would like to share with you some of our community experiences during that very special year, beginning with our trip to Mexico just before the big change. The "2020 - Part One" video is available here.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Pentecost

 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. 


God brought us out of the distress
and made the storm be still.
We were glad because we had quiet
and we were brought to our desired home…
Give thanks for God’s mercy is upon us.
                                                               -     Psalm 107: 28-31

As the Prologue to the Rule of Benedict says (vs. 11-12): The Spirit says… “Come and listen, and I will teach you the fear of God.” For our community this has been a time of deep learning and deeply recognizing that we together with all our brothers and sisters in this world are experiencing the same distress in varying ways. There are no ones of us who are exempt or more privileged. “God is calling us in love and showing us the way to live.” (RB Prol. v. 20) We have been called to let go of whatever arrogance and sense that we are in control that may easily creep into our life. We want to continue growing into the humility so central to our Gospel call and monastic spirituality.

Through the extended solitude of this time which has limited the usual guests to the monastery, we have experienced a strengthening depth to our brotherhood living in community with one another. We have consciously given priority to what is most important in our monastic witness: the searching and joy in our common prayer; the care for the beauty of creation that blesses and surrounds us; the inspired creativity of our craft work focused more simply and intently during this time; and the gift of this witness that we offer for the guests and friends whom we welcome in our monastic home.

We have also been aware that we have one another to live with and how so many others struggle in the isolation, distancing and anxieties of these moments. It remains continually an invitation to stay present to them offering our prayer, love and glimmers of hope “in the midst of the storm.”
Also, it has been a time for our friends and oblates to explore creative ways that they can be present to one another and not rely completely on our monastic community to support them and direct their prayer and witness to the Gospel call. This experience of independence has been a step forward for many of them to realize that the gift lies within them and among them as they reach out to one another. The Spirit continues to live and move equally in diverse ways through each and every one of us.

This has been a time of radical change, allowing our contemplative prayer and silence as well as our words speak to one another. It has been an opportunity to recognize more clearly that we do not always go forward but sometimes backwards or laterally to the side. However, we can still take small steps and discover together the answers are not always obvious right in front of us but slowly emerging as we attentively listen to the Spirit’s groaning response among and within us. This is the challenge of fidelity to our monastic way through stability, conversatio morum, and obedience.

Your brothers of Weston Priory



A New Video: With song and images of the joy of springtime at the Priory, we made this video as our Pentecost greeting to all. Click here for the link.


Friday, April 16, 2021

brother Leo


We want to share our joy with you, that brother John's book about brother Leo, "A Benedictine Legacy of Peace" has been translated into German. We now have a 96 year old international author living among us!

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 H√∂rnemann, 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.






Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Our Mexico Trip

    

Sisters Margarita, Graciela and Aurora


Normally during this time we travel to Mexico to be with our Mexican Benedictine Sisters. This year due to the pandemic, we so miss receiving their warm and loving hospitality, and the challenges that each visit presents to us. We have learned many important lessons from them and from the people they serve.

    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.