31 Oct October Digest, 2022
It’s felt like a fairly quiet month here at Mucknell, even as the natural world around us is making a very definite shift towards winter. We’re gradually clearing up the kitchen garden, and ‘putting it to bed’, and Br. Adrian is looking forward to some tree planting on the wider estate. We’re also now in the pre-Advent season, ready for the turning of the Church’s year once again.
The month began with 6 days of Community Retreat, which gave us an opportunity for some more extended silence, and the time (hopefully) to attend more deeply to God and to our monastic life both individually and corporately. We didn’t have anyone leading this retreat time, but instead different members of the Community shared day by day something to spur reflection and prayer. This varied from a commentary on George Herbert’s “Love Bade Me Welcome” to an extract from Ruth Burrows, to a poem reflecting on the important role played by the psalms in our life and worship. Speaking personally, I found each day’s contributions rich and thought-provoking, and I’m sure others did too.
As Benedict says in ch. 53 of the Rule, monasteries are never without guests. We welcome folk from near and far throughout the year; this month we had the joy of meeting a guest who’d travelled further than most, Sr. Hannah from the Community of St. Mary (Southern Province) in Sewanee, Tenneessee, USA. She had heard about Mucknell from friends of hers in this country, and since she was over here, came to pay us a visit. It was lovely to meet her and to hear more about her community. She also issued a (very tempting) open invitation to return the visit any time we liked! Below you can see an iPad selfie of Sr. Hannah with the community, and also some photos she sent us of the view ‘back home’ in Tennessee.
There’s been a fair amount of work going on around the Abbey lately, some more obvious than others. We had the path leading from the car park to the main entrance redone, as the tarmac was cracking quite badly in places. One of the “joys” of the clay that lurks beneath our feet here! There was an intriguing array of machinery on display, most of it to do with removing the tarmac.
Additionally, Sr. Alison has been busy in the garden/estate tool shed, reorganising and rehanging some of our tools. She and Br. Michaël particularly enjoyed getting to use our new table saw to help with this. Having seen the table saw in action, I plan to stay as far away from it as possible!
As autumn turns to winter, we continue to hold in our prayers all who find themselves in darkness, and all for whom the coming of winter will mean financial hardship, hunger and cold. We remember too all who mourn, praying for the light of Christ to be seen in all our lives.