Connecticut Connections

Bridgettines and Benedictines
Bridgettines and Benedictines in Darien, CT

Last week Quietnun and I made a return visit to the U.S.A. for a series of meetings which took us from Connecticut to Georgia in something of a whirlwind tour. As before, everyone was enormously kind and helpful, even the much-maligned Homeland Security staff who had the job of frisking us at every airport. In London one is accustomed to the occasional jibe or unpleasantness, but we never encountered anything like that in the States. So, lesson number one, the legendary friendliness of Americans, like the exquisite courtesy of Madrileños, is something we could all well emulate.

Our friend Meg made our visit very easy, helping us with transport arrangements and throwing open her home to us while she decamped elsewhere. So, for a few days, Derby CT had a small Benedictine community in its midst. The latter part of our stay was spent with the lovely Bridgettine community at Darien CT, from which it was  a short train journey into New York city. Mother Eunice and her sisters made us very welcome, and we enjoyed the quiet beauty of the Sound and the prayerful atmosphere of the community chapel.

Americans are much quicker to grasp the significance of what we are trying to do as a community and much more understanding of the struggle we face in trying to meet the demands of monastic life with the slender resources we have at our disposal. Indeed, several people asked whether we would consider moving to the States and I must say, by the end of our trip we were beginning to wonder whether that might be something we should think about.

We saw enough of New England on our travels to be charmed by its beauty. Digitalnun kept saying useless things like, ‘Ooo, listen to that lovely accent. I bet that’s what Shakespearean English sounded like,’ while Quietnun went native with her ‘Wows!’ and ‘Ay-mens’. Along with the business meetings went some rather more fun events, including a delightful evening spent with friends in Milford.

Georgia was hot and humid and we didn’t have time to venture beyond Atlanta, but again we were fascinated by the city’s architecture and the local accents. I don’t know why Americans keep saying they have no history to speak of. They have as much history as anyone else, it’s just that it’s recorded in different ways. Derby, for example, was ‘founded’ in the seventeenth century but that only refers to the date of settlement. Before then, as some of the local names indicate, Native Americans were in the area and their history is not recorded in books.

One of the great joys of our visit was to meet our New York discerner again. She has now formally applied to join the community, so please keep her in your prayers.

It will take a while for us to catch up with everything but in the meantime we thank God for our visit. May God bless all those we met on our travels and who gave so generously of their time, especially Meg, who welcomed us ‘tamquam Christus’. Were it not for our internet outreach, we would never have made the connection. Now that is a thought worth pondering, isn’t it?

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10 thoughts on “Connecticut Connections”

  1. It was wonderful to meet you in person. The community is just as you appear in your web site—-welcoming, smart, with wit and humor and exuding the spirit of seeking God above all things in a way that invites others to join in that journey in an unobstrusive and non threatening way.

    Thank you for all you do for so many and may God bless you, you work, and your efforts to find a home that will accomodate your growing community.

  2. We would expect nothing less of our Benedictines, fighting the good fight ! Would that our English philanthropists were their former selves. I am confidant that God has great things in store for you.

      • I would certainly have sent a donation to the Monastery. When I received no response to the very reasonable points which I made online, I changed my mind.

        • What points, Deborah? I believe I have always tried most punctiliously to answer your emails and questions. As to donations, I hope they will come from people who are in sympathy with what we are doing; so if you have doubts or objections that I have been unable to answer, I would certainly not expect you to contribute.

  3. Forgive me for what might be a stupid question: are you a cloistered nun? I have of course read this post.

    I loved the lisp post and your sense of humour!

    Blogging must be a wonderful outlet for cloistered nuns. And I suppose the blessed convent routines serve to prevent you getting as addicted to it as we laywomen do.

  4. Yes, Anita, I am a cloistered nun but I’ve never thought of blogging as an ‘outlet’, probably because it’s part of my responsibility as prioress to give a short daily chapter talk and the blog tends to be an adaptation of that.

    I belong to a community which uses the internet to reach out to people in various ways as an expression of Benedictine hospitality (see our main site at http://www.benedictinenuns.org.uk or our online retreats service at http://www.onlineretreats.org). This blog is just a small part of that. Its predecessor, Colophon, is still part of our main site. My sense of humour sometimes gets me into trouble with readers, but so long as people realise that the opinions expressed here are my own and not necessarily those of the community, all is well.

  5. In reply to Deborah’s comment above: ‘I commented on some aspects of my life which are very important to me under the blog entry ‘Our Lady’s Birthday’. I received no response.’

    Thank you, Deborah, I have looked at the blog entry for that day. I wasn’t aware that I was under an obligation to comment on comments, so I’m sorry if you felt slighted by my not responding. It just didn’t occur to me. I appreciate your sincerity and the fact that what you said is important to you, but if you look at the entry again, you’ll see that the argument I was advancing is different from yours. I don’t think I could usefully add anything to what you said.

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