CC Monastic Experience 2010

So before I get back to campus (4 days!) and get started on my pre-study abroad, no class, calm before the storm adventure, I’d like to share an amazing experience I partook in earlier this summer.

No, I didn’t go to a llama farm.

Sponsored by the Scheffer Fund for Catholic Studies, I journeyed with a couple other students and faculty from CC to Richardton, North Dakota. We stayed at Sacred Heart Monastery and Assumption Abbey (girls and boys, respectively) and learned about the Benedictine Catholic tradition of monastic life.

What I was anticipating was lots of isolation and silence. A nice time to reflect, I thought. Not exactly!

Getting ready to depart from CC.

One thing that attracted me to a trip like this was that it was in North Dakota! Aside from Colorado, Utah, and a little bit of Wyoming, I’m still not familiar with the Midwest, and I was eager to explore a new section of it. If I had to sum it up in one word, it would be VAST. So much space! Coming from Connecticut, I’m accustomed to (for some) claustrophobic highways, constantly lined by trees, cliffs, or whatever nature fancies in that area. North Dakota doesn’t really have trees. In fact, all the greenery around the monastery and abbey (as you’ll see later) was planted!

I had lots of fun walking around the endless hills.

In high school choir, we sang a song titled On a Clear Day, You Can See Forever. That is truly the reality of this area of the country. Sure, the sky is blue, the grass is green, what else is new? What’s new is that it doesn’t end. You can see for miles and miles.

Sacred Heart Monastery

We girls had quite a time at the monastery. A great amount of “processing” (also known as chatting endlessly about our hopes, dreams, and minute details of our lives) went on, and we learned a lot about ourselves. Following the Benedictine tradition, we partook in prayer 3 times a day (with daily mass after morning prayer), working and learning in between. If you’ve seen (or even better, read the book) the movie Eat, Pray, Love, the time she spends in the ashram is vaguely similar to this, except the schedule is more like Pray, Eat, Work, Pray, Eat, Work, Play, Pray, Eat, Sleep.

Here’s glimpse of life at the monastery:

Mealtime.

Me and Renee picking at the endless field of rhubarb.

Weeding the garden.

Hand-dying scarves.

Visiting the abbey: touring and getting some history lessons.

Playing The Vatican (a fun board game!) for evening recreation.

But most importantly, we got to experience an amazing lifestyle and meet the inspirational men and women behind it. I hope to come back and visit someday!

Michael weeding.

David weeding.

Trevor...you guessed it! Weeding.

After we ran crazily towards the bison. Hey, Brother Michael egged us on.

St. Francis of Assisi, the perfect saint for this beautiful landscape.

I brought home so. much. rhubarb. It made four pies' worth.

Sacred Heart Monastery

Sad to leave!

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