Even though we just got in the door, Mother Frangelico said I should jump on the computer and give an explanation for our absence for so long. It was a surprise to all of us.
First, it happened that we had a fire in the kitchen when Sr. Maxine was trying to cook up a surprise. She did her best, but things got out of control, and instead of grabbing the fire extinguisher, she grabbed a can of RAID I'd left nearby. Well, she sprayed the stove, and, well...let's just say it didn't end well.
She can tell the rest of that story, for she did quickly realize her mistake, even in her panic, and did take immediate action.
We all evacuated the monastery, and once the flames were put out, we went in to salvage what we could. There are restoration companies that can do a lot, and as far as personal belongings, we didn't have a lot, so no huge personal loss.
It DOES make our heart go out to those who have suffered house fires, though.
We were all taken in; Father just went to a nearby rectory (priests have it so easy..what's up with that?). We were taken into a local Benedictine monastery, and the guys...Brother Brit and Brother Gus...there was room for the at the rectory, too. So as it was, it worked out.
They had a good place, but, well, can I be honest? When we got the invite to stay with the Benedictines, we hesitated. Because, well, they have a "labyrinth", they practice "centering prayer" and "reiki" and have all sorts of New Age "devotions". Sr. Perpetua was especially freaked out by that, and didn't want to go at all.
But Mother Frangelico was stalwart, and as aways, practical. She chastized us and said that the offer of hospitality was both sincere and a part of the original Benedictine charism, and that we couldn't even consider not accepting. She also pointed out that even if those Sisters had left behind orthodoxy, they weren't without hope of conversion, and in fact, they were our Sisters, too. We needed to embrace them as they were embracing us, and they well knew what we were about, too and extended the invitation anyway.
So we realized she was right, and we were happy to meet the Benedictines.
They were kind and gracious. This particular community doesn't wear habits...stopped wearing them sometime in the 60's, so it really was like living with a bunch of spinster Aunts in a big mansion. But they were really nice and aunt-like, and we all got along really well as long as we didn't discuss theology.
That was kinda weird. But they showed us a lot of Benedictine customes, and they prayed the Liturgy of the Hours, too, but in the Benedictine tradition, which they showed us (they have a Benedctine Di-urinal. I thought only guys had those, but I guess the word had to come from somewhere. How derogatory, though!)
And the Sisters didn't expect us to walk the labyrinth or anything. In fact, although they invited us to different things they were doing, they didn't expect us to really follow, they just wanted to make sure we knew what they were doing.
Mother Frangelico went around a lot with pursed lips, but she was very gracious to them and very thankful, and as it was, our own community was able to live quite peacefully with the Sisters we had otherwise thought were insane.
As it turns out, they were normal women with really stupid ideas about God and who He is. (They keep calling Him "Mother"). I don't think they represent all Benedictines, though.
Anyway, these women were really into "social justice", and suddenly, Mother Frangelico got an idea; while we waited for our moastery to be rebuilt and remodeled, we could do our own social justice work!
She and Father looked into several options, and we ended up finding a group that needed a long-term committment. So we went down to Mexico to work in the barrios, and helped to give shots, offer food, sew clothing, raise funds...all sorts of stuff.
It was sad leaving the Benedictines, but they seemed more relieved than anything, but at least our parting was very friendly. I think we have a new understanding with them, which is nice.
But, if I can be honest...although they're like a bunch of Aunts, I guess I can see why no one is choosing to give up sex in order to be a New Age old maid. Personally, I think I could manage celibacy and be a spinster better without a bunch of other spinsters harping on me to do this or that all the time.
Oh...I have to go help Mother Frangelico bring in the groceries. The monastery looks great and has a new paint smell, and I love it.
More on what we did and where we were sent later. Sister Maxine might have a few things to offer, maybe even her side of the story.
See you later!