This past Monday, 5 May, Br. Efrain set out for the Meeting of the United States Trappists’ Novice Directors Meeting. It is being hosted by Genesee Abbey, near Rochester, New York, from 6 through 15 May. So far we have no word back from Br. Efrain but such meetings tend to have packed schedules and it’s his first Novice Directors’ Meeting. At such a meeting there are speakers giving input (in fact Br. Efrain and Sr. Evelyn from Mount St. Mary’s Abbey, Wrentham, Massachusetts, give the first talk), followed by discussion. A fair share of the meeting is also given over to “pastoral sharing”, that is discussing the concrete issues being dealt with by individual Novice Directors.
It is a forum for exchanging information, providing mutual support and re-enforcing the fact that there’s nothing new under the sun! For a new Novice Director it’s a great way to get suggestions or advice and learn that everyone else id juggling the same or similar challenges. It can be a great way to relax in the job and realize that the Holy Spirit is the one who really does the work. Or that no one can play God for another human being–either knowing what’s best for a novice, or making anyone do the “right thing”.
It’s also a time to relax and enjoy the company of other people. In a life like ours, without vacations, it’s a good way to get away from familiar responsibilities and routines. There’s always an outing, fun under any circumstances and a window into the different character of different regions of the USA. For the host community–aside from being a lot of work!–the influx of monastic guests can be an invigorating novelty and a way to catch up on news.
Please pray for the Novice Directors as they meet and for the men and woman they serve. Together they are our most tangible link with our future.