Monday, June 8, 2015


OLR Chapel at Pentecost

I have been asked to do a blog or two on our daily life in the monastery here on our small island.
But sometimes it seems there is no set schedule in our life- except for the prayer- that is a constant. Our mission is to pray for the needs of the Church, especially in the Archdiocese of Seattle and to meet the needs of those who come to us.

The Chapel

We are contemplative in that we center our lives on liturgical prayer and do not hold jobs “in the world”. But we are actively involved in the “outside world” in numerous ways, especially with our island community.

Mother Prioress feeding turkeys
We fulfill St. Benedict’s call to ORA (prayer) in our peaceful chapel in the woods by inviting all to join us as we daily carry out the Divine Office (eight prayer services) and Mass in the ancient Gregorian chant. Our prayer is the first and foundational element of a life lived in total consecration to Christ. From prayer the rest of the day flows, finding its vitality, its strength, its purpose, and its apostolic fruitfulness. 

At Our Lady of the Rock we strive to uphold the traditional values of Benedictine life in the modern world. This means that we follow the Rule of St. Benedict as closely as we can in this contemporary world, so we wear the traditional habit, we live by the labor of our own hands, raising as much of our food as possible and participating in the work needed to fulfill both our daily and long-term needs, and we make hospitality an essential part of our work.
Intern with the sheep

Bringing in the hay
Hospitality is an essential part of our work, and we welcome guests of all faiths to find peace and stillness amidst their busy lives. Individuals and groups stay in our retreat houses and are invited to partake in the work and prayer of our community and farm.

Our work is fulfilled by supporting ourselves and serving our neighbors and guests with a variety of works all focused around our 300 acre farm. We try to be loving caretakers of the land and the environment. We raise rare breed farm animals, run one of the few raw milk dairies in Washington State (Mother Prioress is back to making cheese), we create and sell products from our farm and the talents of our community, and we offer internship programs for both students and adults in holistic farming.

Spinning Retreat

On paper this all looks good, but things change from season to season and sometimes from week to week or even day to day. As I write this one of our elders is hospitalized (she does all the laundry).  Another broke her humerus in three places (she is a multi-tasker) and a third is in Europe for a month.  So we who are left standing must take over jobs we never did, as Mother Dilecta (head of the farm) doing our white laundry.

It is not all that grim: sometimes when the weather is especially fine we will say ”let's go to the beach with the dogs, the weeds can wait!”

Our beach

No comments:

Post a Comment