|SUNRISE FROM MY GUESTROOM|
Here at Conception Abbey, in Conception, Missouri, the age of chivalry is not dead!
I can't say how touched I have been at the courtly manners of the young men who have called me Miss King (Madame! I want to say), patiently guided me from building to building, kindly handed me a hymnal open to the correct page, discreetly slipped me a copy of the Lord's Prayer in Spanish, fetched me a napkin, appeared at my elbow as if by magic with a laminated prayer card of the Salve Regina, walked me to the Mary grotto, forbearingly repeated the schedule for the following day, refrained from shooting me for inadvertently taking their seat in the oratory, and overlooked my many daily faux pas.
Even better, many of the seminarians have shared some of their stories, struggles, and holy longing.
It can't be easy to welcome a stranger into their midst and they have done so graciously, tactfully and with a wth a kind of wholesome mid-Western heart that has warmed my own.
Meanwhile it is freezing, penetratingly, cold outside so much of my photo-taking has been accomplished from indoors. My room faces east making for spectacular mornings, always my favorite time of day.
I feel sure the solid presence of these possible priests-in-training is fortifying and guiding me in some way I can't know. Just hearing their voices raised together in song is steadying and a gift.
“Hear my prayer, O Lord,
And give ear to my cry;
Do not be silent at my tears;
For I am a stranger with You,
A sojourner, as all my fathers were
Remove Your gaze from me, that I may regain strength,
Before I go away and am no more.”
|SUNSET FROM THE ORATORY|