Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Sometimes I Just Get Carried Away

Appearing at the end of my last post was the following quote: "Sit in your cell and your cell will teach you everything." I attributed that quote to St. Romuald, founder of the Camaldolese Benedictine monks. Shame on me. That is a quote from one of the Desert Fathers, his advice to a young aspirant to hermit life. The so-called Brief Rule of St. Romuald, only about one hundred words in length, begins with the line, "Sit in your cell as in paradise." This line has always attracted me because it reminds me of a collection of reflections written by our foundress, Maria Celeste Crostarosa, entitled "The Precious Garden of the Lord Which is the Human Soul." All of this is just to keep the record straight.

Today I am putting aside a current project in order to enter into two days of personal retreat within our monastery - precious time to sit in my cell and let it teach me. The project being put on hold is creation of a new directory of the forty-five monasteries of our Order all over the world, the members of their communities and all necessary vital statistics and various addresses. How much easier it will be because thirty of those monasteries have access to the Internet. The rest will have to be reached the old fashioned way. Since we are an order in the Church, each of our monasteries is an autonomous entity. But we make every effort to maintain our unity under the umbrella of our shared charism and Constitution and Statutes. Currently we anticipate a General Meeting of representatives of all the monasteries in the year 2011. God willing!


Dina said...

Coelum, doesn't the Latin mean heaven or celestial bliss? Or does cell come from celare, to conceal? I once read the cell is not meant to shut you in, but the shut The World out.
Either way, I loved my little cell, appropriately named "l'Attante," (attentive) waiting. And it taught me almost everything.
But for 2- or 3-day silent retreats I would move to the poustinia in the garden.

May you have a good retreat. Peace to you.
Good luck with the new project.

Anonymous said...

I was privileged to visit with Sister Hildegard and her sisters at Esopus this summer. It was a privilege to sit in my guest "cell" and observe nature come creeping by my window as I tried to catch a peek at the Hudson River at the bottom of the hill. Time away is time well-spent. If you have never tried a "retreat", go ahead and plunge in with a Day of Recollection or Reflection; then try a week-end or three day retreat (usually a Friday PM, all day Saturday and Sunday until noon-ish). It gets easier and better all the time.