In the late afternoon today, I’ll leave St. Benedict’s Monastery, where I’ve been for ten days, finishing up my conversion book. The time here has been, not only productive, but refreshing.
Since the time I was a Buddhist nun living in monasteries and retreat centers in Nepal and India, there has always been in me a tension between a monastic life and life in the world. The truth is that I settle easily and naturally into the rhythms of monastic living, the the Benedictine “ora et labor” is a particularly attractive way of life. I so love my time here!
Still, I know that places like St. Benedict’s are only temporary sojourns for me, places I get to “come away and rest a while.” I have known from the time I did the Spiritual Exercise that my vocation is in the world. As I sometimes joke, Jesus didn’t call me when I was in a Buddhist monastery and say, “get thee to a Catholic nunnery.” He waited until I was married and a mother before reeling me in.
So I leave here today with much gratitude that I get to take times like these last ten days living in community with the Sisters here, praying and eating with them, and sharing their lives. I know I’ll be back again. But until then, I have work to do elsewhere.