Friday, November 2, 2012


Ludwig F.W. Riefstahl- German d. 1888
Today, the day after the Solemnity of All Saints, the Church invites us to pray for the faithful departed. This yearly commemoration, often marked by visits to the cemetery, is an occasion to ponder the mystery of death and to renew our faith in the promise of eternal life held out to us by Christ’s resurrection. As human beings, we have a natural fear of death and we rebel against its apparent finality. Faith teaches us that the fear of death is lightened by a great hope, the hope of eternity, which gives our lives their fullest meaning. The God who is love offers us the promise of eternal life through the death and resurrection of his Son. In Christ, death no longer appears as an abyss of emptiness, but rather a path to life which will never end. Christ is the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in him will never die. Each Sunday, in reciting the Creed, we reaffirm our faith in this mystery. As we remember our dear departed ones, united with them in the communion of the saints, may our faith inspire us to follow Christ more closely and to work in this world to build a future of hope. -- Pope Benedict XVI, November 2, 2011

On this day you will see a tiny nun placing flowers on all the grave sites in the small island cemetery and in a more hidden way in our own monastery cemetery.

gate  to OLR cemetery
For 35 years our Prioress, Mother Therese, has kept this custom of placing a small bouquet of flowers, from our own gardens, on each grave. As she does this she says a prayer for the person buried there.  Some she has known and mourns their loss, others died before our foundation was made. Her favorite is Doreen  a 2 and a half year old who died while the family was living in what is now our farm guest house, probably in the 1930's. All it says on the marker is "Our Bud of Love".

A. Karosfoi-Kreisch- 1910, Hungary

Why We Pray for the Dead
The Catechism of the Catholic Church's section on Purgatory  explains that "All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven".

The Catechism states that "From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice... The Church also commends alms giving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead".

The feast of All Souls is a reminder to pray for the "faithful departed". Although they are members of the Communion of Saints, they have been saved and will one day be in heaven, but need to be perfected before they can go to Heaven, that is, to come into full unity with the perfection that is God.

This summer has been a time for loss for us all in the monastery: Mother Dilecta's mother in May and yesterday her nephew, Paul John; Mother Felicitas's son Carl a few weeks ago; my dear friends Ira, and Tim and Les: Mother Catarina's friend Rick.

Daily we pray for all who have died, in war, in accidents, in violence, in famine, the homeless, those without loved ones, for fathers, mothers, children. 


                                               Eternal Rest grant unto them O Lord,
                                               and let perpetual light shine upon them 

                                                             May they  rest in peace. Amen.

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