Fr. Maurice, who in the 1980’s had transferred his stability from Gethsemani Abbey, Kentucky, to Holy Cross Abbey, Berryville, Virginia, and was ordained priest for this community 23 June, 1991, has faithfully served as chaplain to our nuns at Redwoods Abbey in California for many a year. It was a happy assignment for all and our sisters have been grateful for his pastoral manner. Unfortunately, ageing and ailments have so impeded Fr. Maurice that he can no longer fulfill that ministry and will return to his brothers this Saturday, 6 December.
That’s also the Memorial of St. Nicholas, the fourth century Bishop of Myra, known for his compassionate pastoral care. In Holland he became the beloved Sinte Klaus who, on his feast day brightened the winter and the Advent austerities by leaving treats in the shoes of good children while they slept (bad children received twigs and coal in theirs, not totally useless for fireplaces or stoves in the cold weather). Saint Nicholas is, of course, the ancestor of our Santa Claus. I believe Sinte Klaus travelled by barge in the canals of Amsterdam; Fr. Maurice will arrive by plane at Dulles Airport and Redwoods’ loss will be our gain.