Sunday, November 15, 2009

Hither and Thither

November is a month of activity. It began with preaching All Saints Day at West Park, which was well received. Br. Bernard made his Life Profession in OHC on Nov. 4. I went into NYC on the 7th to preside and preach at St. Edward the Martyr, which was a joy. The evening before I had dinner with dear friends from the parish, Peter and Louise Crawford.

The afternoon of Sunday, Nov. 8, was the celebration of OHC's 125th Anniversary, at The Church of St. Luke in the Fields in NYC. They could not have been more gracious. Monday was the monthly clergy group luncheon and paper, whose topic was the 100th anniversary of the death of William Reed Huntington. Then Brother Charles and I spent the rest of the week at a conference on retreat giving at the Convent of the Community of St. John the Baptist in Mendham, NJ. It was sponsored by the Conference of Anglican Religious Communities in North America (CAROA) and led by Barbara Crafton. It was a wonderful opportunity to get to know other religious and share our experiences as well as learn more about retreat giving from an expert.

And now I am off for some vacation. My dear friend Tony Jewiss is turning 70 this month -- I told him it can't be, but he assures me it is. Tony lives in a section of southwestern France called the Aude. So tonight I am using the rest of my frequent flyer miles and will fly to Amsterdam and then to Toulouse where Tony will pick me up. We are spending the actual birthday in Venice, thanks to Ryanair, which charges almost nothing as long as you do not need anything more than a seat and a space for a VERY controlled single bag. They make their money, apparently, on deviations from the basic plan. There is a fee for everything else. Probably one for breathing too often. I'll be back at the Monastery on Dec. 1.

I am taking along 4 books: Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie's Montaillou:The Promised Land of Error, about the Cathars in the very area where Tony now lives; Anselm Dimier's Stones Laid Before the Lord: Architecture and Monastic Life, in case I have the opportunity to see some, which I hope I will; Jeremy Driscoll's Steps to Spiritual Perfection: Studies on Spiritual Progress in Evagrius Ponticus, to keep the mind alive; and Hillary Mantel's new novel Wolf Hall, about Thomas Cromwell. We'll see in 2 weeks if I have obeyed my superego, or if I have found murder mysteries and spent the time in the reading equivalent of the candy shop.