I am so glad I decided on three weeks at the Monastery of St. Gertrude. I have been here almost a week and I feel like I am just settling in.
Crazy coincidence, when I arrived, another woman pastor, also on sabbatical with a Lilly grant, was staying down the hall. Laurie and I have several friends in common, she is going to Ireland later in her sabbatical, and both of our dads are age 92.
The Spirit Center, where I am staying, is quiet. I have been doing academic reading in the afternoons (the center has its own library) and fiction in the evenings. In the mornings I walk the grounds, including the big hill (with great views of the Palouse) behind the monastery. There is a beautiful, in my opinion, structure to the day. Generally we are in the chapel for prayer at 8:30am, 11:30 am, and 5pm. I cannot emphasize this enough–I love praying through the psalter. I love the moments left for silence. I love praying scripture aloud as a community several times a day. I do not know what all of this means for life in Nampa but my spiritual director assures me I do not need to have that figured out right now. I can just enjoy the time here.
Today is the Feast Day of the Assumption of Mary so Eucharist was especially festive and we had an actual feast in the dining hall.
Today also happens to be the middle of the Idaho County Fair so the two artists-in-residence (an important piece of life at the monastery which I will blog more about later) and I went into Cottonwood to take in the fair and go to the local coffee shop, which pays tribute to the sisters at St. Gertrude.