The secret of a domestic monastery

The kids running around Mt. Angel Abbey For years I’ve been fascinated with the idea of creating a “domestic monastery.” To me, that concept evoked a home that’s orderly and prayerful, a haven where you could go to retreat from the stress of the world. Something deep within me yearned for this kind of life — and, even though it might sound impossible to the modern mind, my gut told me that this concept is attainable. Especially after I started thinking about hard stopsĀ and balance and sacrifice, I became more convinced... Read More

The most powerful woman in the world

This is my new friend, Sister Joeine Darrington, whom I met during the couple of days we stayed with the Benedictine Sisters: She came over and sat with us during our meals with the sisters, and it was so much fun to chat with her. She’s 96 years old and has been a Benedictine Sister for around 75 years! We talked about how religious life has changed over the decades, what it was like after the sisters stopped wearing habits in the 1960’s, and all about the work they do with the elderly and the homeless. I was touched when she told me... Read More

6 things I learned from living on a monastery prayer schedule

One of the old church bells at Mt. Angel Abbey One of the most transforming aspects of this trip to Mt. Angel Abbey has been living according to the monks’ schedule of prayer. They pray the Liturgy of the Hours and have Mass every day, so every few hours the grand church bells start ringing to announce prayer time. The weekday schedule is: 5:20 AM: Office of Readings 6:30 AM: Morning Prayer 7:00 AM: Breakfast 8:00 AM: Mass 12:00 PM: Midday Prayer 12:20 PM: Lunch 5:15 PM: Evening Prayer 5:45 PM: Dinner 7:30 PM: Night Prayer I admit that I haven’t... Read More

Received as Christ: Photos from a Benedictine monastery

I knew a little bit about the Order of St. Benedict before my husband and I arrived in Mt. Angel for our vacation this weekend. (If you’re not familiar with them, I highly recommend this brief explanation of the Order at Vivificat; I think it’s the most clear, concise summary of the Benedictines I’ve ever seen.) I knew the Order was about 1,500 years old. I knew that one of their vows was stability, and that they were big on learning and culture. One thing that I’d forgotten until we arrived was that they’re known for... Read More