Friday, September 18, 2020

This Year's Harvest



The harvest from our gardens 
has been abundant this year 
flowers, tomatoes, squash, potatoes,
apples, corn, carrots...

And perhaps the most surprising harvest
in this time of lesser movement:
a healing silence
born of deeper listening.

Please consider visiting the tab "Gallery Shop" on the main menu bar of our website homepage. It contains many items of our craftwork, including honey, maple syrup, candles, pottery, and woodwork. They are excellent for gifts!
Thank you for any orders you place. 

Monday, August 31, 2020

Thank you for your birthday greetings!

Wow!!! What a treasure of lovely birthday cards, photos, gifts, and loving messages for my 96th birthday!

    And how to express gratitude to so many friends and relatives for that thoughtful gift?
    I would really like to write to each one personally but that is far beyond possibilities for this aging monk.
    So, with the help of brothers here at the Priory, all the greetings have been stored in a neat and accessible container.
    On retreat days, I plan to review these precious messages and will offer a prayer of thanksgiving for so many of you who have graciously remembered me after all these years.
    As well as giving thanks, this should also be a way of keeping me out of mischief in my spare time!

Thank you, one and all, for your remembrance and loving-kindness.

With love,

brother John

Friday, August 21, 2020

Prayer connects us

Prayer connects us...heart to heart.

Physical distancing (social distancing) in this time of the Covid-19 pandemic creates the illusion that we are not dynamically connected to one another.

Yet, through prayer, we are actually and wonderfully closer to one another than is physically possible.

Prayer brings us below the surface of our day-to-day interactions and ordinary awareness into contact with the life-force of each person we call to presence in God's loving Spirit.

Calling upon God in prayer for one another opens pathways of connection that are healing and transforming.

In prayer, we enter into the mystery of grace and blessing where love enables us to encounter and cherish one another on a deeper level of being...                          


Friday, August 7, 2020

Remembering our brothers

During August mid-month we celebrate the Dormition (the Falling Asleep) of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Our brother Leo was the Abbot of the Dormition Abbey in Jerusalem when he founded Weston Priory. The anniversary of this "falling asleep in God" occurs just a few days later. On this occasion, we remember as well our brothers Philip, Columba, and Robert who have gone before us.

May our hearts awaken to God's vision inviting us to new life now and in the coming time.

Monday, July 20, 2020

July 2020

    We would like to thank you for all the cards and emails and letters that we have received during this time.  It is wonderful to be connected heart to heart, and to know that our presence to each other continues and deepens as we continue this journey of learning and listening.

  Receiving greetings from all of you is a lot like getting fresh produce from the garden.  Our summer has been one of hot weather and rain in a combination that makes vegetables and flowers grow.  We have been enjoying flowers for our prayer spaces whose presence to us during prayer is as eloquent as the Psalms.  The fresh greens, broccoli, summer squash, zucchini, cucumbers and carrots constantly remind us of how gracious the earth gifts us even though our own actions as a human family continue to be so negligent and even harmful.
   We were very surprised when we received news that brother Daniel's mother, Lupita, who lives in Mexico City, was tested positive for the coronavirius, but is doing well and probably will not need oxygen in her treatment.  Others who have written to us have not had the same experience and we grieve with the many persons who have lost one or more of their parents, their spouse, or persons very close to them, and whose lives with us here have ended because of the pandemic.  The deep blessing and comfort of our faith is invaluable when we meet with questions that have no answer.
    The Mexican sisters have not had any outbreaks in their many places of mission, but are now struggling with the question of how to open their schools.  Their commitment to the people, and to the children as the future of Mexico is very deep, but their own resources will be challenged during this time 
    We have posted a new video on our Holy Week that shows how silent the Priory was at the beginning of this unique time.  Although the roads may have a bit more traffic on them, the grounds are seldom visited, and our prayer as a community continues in the personal spaces within the cloister.  You may access all our videos anytime from our website tab "Photo Log". 
    You are constantly with us: "Our absent brothers and sisters."

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

June 2020


In these days as we celebrate the feast of Saint Benedict, we would like to say simply and clearly that, "Black Lives Matter."  Benedict always encouraged the monks to speak simply and clearly and as so many persons speak out and march, we would like to be a part of the movement.  Having our guest houses closed does not mean that we have shut ourselves into a private, little world.  The opposite may even be truer.
     It may come as a surprise to many that in June we had two weeks of "Retreat."  We change our daily schedule a bit.  For instance, our first prayer is at 8:00 am rather than at 6:00 am.  It's not that we sleep more, though sometimes we do, but that the shaking of the routine allows for new creativity and new ways of listening that can be surprising.  But the most important dimension of the retreat is having time to reflect together and share on heart-felt, emotional levels how we are presently experiencing our life.  Two main topics during the days included our response to the pandemic, and the other was Racism.
     To be able to share on a feeling level keeps the community strong and healthy, and we encourage everyone to find ways to express what lies inside us.  Psychological health is crucial during this time.
     In our Refectory we continue to have reading at lunch and supper.  Two very good books that we have recently read include: "Martin Buber - A life of faith and dissent" by Paul-Mendes Flohr.  Martin Buber is the author of the book, "I and Thou" and to learn more about his life is very illuminating.  Also, "Horizon" by Barry Lopez, the author of the famous book, "Arctic Dreams."  This book is a way to travel around the world, including the Galapagos Islands and Africa, in the safety of a comfortable chair.  Since we cannot physically travel this is a way to broaden our imagination.  Before the pandemic we read Jim Wallis' book, "America's Original Sin - Racism, White Privilege and the Bridge to a New America" and we cannot recommend it highly enough.
     We hold you in our prayer and remember you: "Our absent brothers and sisters."

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

May 2020

In this pandemic
suffering abounds
We hear your voice
calling us to be gentle

 At home: We hope that you are enjoying our new website. Since our guest houses remain closed, as well as the Gallery Shop, and there is no public prayer we thought that a way to reach out to our world would be to renew our site.
    We are all well, and are very happy that our brother Peter is healing and getting much stronger after his double by-pass heart surgery. The pigs and new chicks for laying eggs have arrived. We will not be having rabbits this year, but brothers are busy converting the "Rabbit Barn" into a barn for meat chickens, and they should be here soon also.
    Brother John has been cutting our grass with a battery-powered mower which is very quiet, and the silence of this time is calling all of us to greater creativity and peacefulness. We are blessed with the presence of each other. We do miss our gathering at our public prayer, but we remember, "Our absent brothers and sisters," with a fullness of heart, and a deep hope that in the Spirit we find our common heart.

It is Spring
we look forward to planting
The red tulips
by the pond
are magnificent

The Mexican Sisters: All of the sisters are safe and well in Mexico, although the country is really suffering and the hospitals are overwhelmed. They stay at home, two sisters go out to buy the food, and like all the peoples of the world, wait for a new time with hope.

The Suesa Sisters: As Spain slowly moves out from a very strict lockdown they are still afraid that many of the openings are being dictated by economics, rather than care for people.