Monday, May 8, 2023


    It's been a while since I posted here, almost two months. I've moved into a new home, again. This time, I hope and expect to stay put for a good long while. "Stability" is one of the vows that Benedictine monastics take, and it's a quality I've sorely missed since I decided to move from the USA to Europe. Now I am again in a place where I hope to settle and re-focus on what is most important to me.

    I'm living in a village in Burgundy, France, larger than the hamlet where I first landed in January, but still pretty small. Population 368, give or take a few. It's in the near neighborhood of the Benedictine Abbaye de Sainte-Marie de la Pierre qui Vire. I've started going to Mass daily, something I had not done in about 35 years, and I love it. It is just late enough in the morning to be easy, and early enough to still have a whole day ahead of me afterwards. The liturgy is beautiful, quiet, peaceful, nourishing. The Eucharist is the part of being Catholic that is most magical for me, in which I can get deeply lost in meditation, where I feel most grateful and empowered by the God who is always breaking through the veil into my human life. And, being back among Benedictine monks again, however different this rural place is from my urban monastery in the US, and despite the language barrier, feels like home to me.

    Another thing that makes me happy about this place is that La Pierre qui Vire, my whole village, and 132 other "communes" (towns, villages, hamlets) are all within the Parc Naturel Rรฉgional du Morvan. It's too soon for me to have anything intelligent to say about what the Park is all about, except that it's a whole regional commitment to socially and ecologically healthy living, and I am absolutely delighted to be a part of it in my own small way. 

    Rural Burgundian culture suits me, too. It seems collectively introverted, the people friendly but reserved, polite, private, quiet. After noisy Andalucรญa, and coastal-touristic Andalucรญa at that, the peace and quiet and green beauty of this place is soothing medicine to my hermit's mind and nerves and spirit. There are hiking routes everywhere, helpfully marked for everything from short local walks to the long-distance Camino de Santiago pilgrimage.

    The other morning, I took a short hike through the woods around the monastery perimeter. When I came back out at the end, I met a multi-generational family of women and children. Among them was an old woman, as tall and easy as a dancer, who reminisced to me about her childhood during World War II, and how scary life was in between the German occupiers and the French Resistance fighters. Today is Armistice Day, so I went to say a prayer at the village's war memorial.


    This is the month when my vows as a hermit are up for renewal again. I had been wondering, again, whether or not I should renew them, given how radically my life has changed from when I first made them. But now I am sure that I will, albeit with a few changes to my Rule of Life. Nothing that changes the essence of the Rule, only some things that better reflect my new circumstances or a deeper understanding of the vows gained over the past few years.

    I will be blogging about this over the next few weeks. Yes, I mean to get back into blogging regularly again, now that I am in this new place of stability. It does me good, and I get just enough feedback from readers to encourage me to keep on sharing my musings publicly. May you all be as blessed as I feel!

๐Ÿ™Ÿ๐Ÿ™Ÿ๐Ÿ™Ÿ๐Ÿ™Ÿ๐Ÿ™Ÿ๐Ÿ™Ÿ PEACE ๐Ÿ™œ๐Ÿ™œ๐Ÿ™œ๐Ÿ™œ๐Ÿ™œ๐Ÿ™œ

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