Abbot Robert Barnes continues his sabbatical, enjoying the monastic routine at Guadalupe Abbey in Oregon. His first weeks there were spent as a guest, work free, but he has now entered into the full monastic routine, work included.
He is housed in the senior wing with a view of the monastic cemetery (when you think of it, that must be an interesting prospect for the senior monks…) and, looking beyond that, a slope covered in Douglas fir. Perpendicular to that is Bethany House, a place of hospitality for visiting groups with a large meeting room and a handsome meditation hall. The meditation hall is oriented towards a glass wall also viewing the cemetery and evergreens: it is a tranquil, tranquilizing vista.
Abbot Robert reports that he enjoys being in a down-to-earth community, not unlike our own community at Berryville. Guadalupe was the first foundation of Our Lady of the Valley, Valley Falls, Rhode Island and the numerous senior monks at Guadalupe have transported some of that familiar (at least to us) spirit of the Valley. A big difference between our two communities is that Guadalupe has a good number of senior monks still functioning whereas we have lost so many to death or the nursing home. However, in the past year, Guadalupe buried four of its aged monks. We are all feeling our fragility.
In early August, Abbot Robert will move on to St. Benedict’s in Snowmass Colorado.
In the past week, Abbot Damian of Spencer passed through Holy Cross, driving Fr. Simeon to serve as Chaplain at Crozet, returning Fr. Matthew from Crozet, back to Spencer. Fr. Matthew Flynn, well known to our community and no stranger to these posts, was able to spend a few days with us. He always enjoys his time here; the place reminds him of Spencer in its earliest days.