1500 Posts and Counting

For my 1500th blog post on iBenedictines, I thought I’d do something a little different and write about my readers. After all, what is the point of writing if no one reads? I don’t mean that the posts that attract the most attention are the most worthwhile — there are a number on here and on its predecessor Colophon that have been read by comparatively few — rather that unless a blog makes an effort to engage with people it really is no more than private journaling, which, as we all know, can be a trifle self-indulgent. It is the readers who make the effort of blogging worthwhile, who help determine the shape the blog takes and who ultimately spur one on to continue even when energy flags and inspiration seems sadly to seek. Sometimes it is not the most carefully crafted post that speaks to others but the apparently banal. And that is good to remember, because I blog as a Catholic and know that anything anyone finds of value here is the work of the Holy Spirit — and the Spirit is often more obvious in the comments than in the posts themselves.

So, who are my readers and why do I care about them? They come from all walks of life and from various faith traditions (or none). For years I had a charming Buddhist monk who rarely commented on the blog itself, and then only under a pseudonym, but who sent me thoughtful emails that I really had to think about before I dared reply. He has now withdrawn into deeper solitude and given up the use of the internet. I miss him. Then there are the F.C.s, the frequent commenters, a lovely bunch who sometimes write comments twice as long as the original post but who dare to share much of their own experience with a humility and frankness I find both touching and inspiring. There are the B.B.s, the belligerent battleaxes, who occasionally swoop down and deal what they hope is a knock-out blow but who often find themselves wrong-footed by one of the F.C.s. I like to think that this blog provides a safe space where people can say what they like provided they observe the two guiding principles: no personal attacks and no profanity or blasphemous language. The B.B.s thwart these principles at their peril, for I am not above using the moderator’s power to edit out a nasty gibe or refuse to permit a comment that is libellous.

I admit to great fondness for the S.L.s, the silent lurkers, who, from time to time, will shyly emerge from their hidden places in cyberspace and add a comment or share a reflection that is nothing less than pure gold. If only they realised how much they give to others, especially me! I am also very fond of the O.Q.s, the open questioners, who ask for explanations and ways of probing deeper into the subject on hand. Often they inspire further reflection or even radical rethinking of a position previously held. Bless them for it! Then there are the C.E.s, the constant encouragers, without whom no blogger would persist very long. They include a surprising number of agnostics and atheists who regard questions of faith as valid matter for discussion and argument and do so with a courtesy and a thoroughness that puts us all in their debt.

Finally, of course, there are the D.L.s, the dog-lovers, who read Bro Duncan PBGV’s posts while he was here on earth and now follow his and Bro Dyfrig BFdeB’s correspondence now that he is Beyond. Where would we be without you?

For all my readers, I am grateful. Please go on being as interesting, thoughtful, challenging and sometimes infuriating as you have been. Then I can continue to blog.

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25 thoughts on “1500 Posts and Counting”

  1. I so enjoy your blogs. Always thought provoking, comforting, and inspiring. Any comments I make seem so inept. But I must belong in one of your categories. Please go on blogging…..

  2. Thank you for your wisdom and your humour whilst dealing with your own health problems. Your blog gives me strength and peace God Bless you. Win Gleeson.

  3. Not sure which type of reader I am. Mostly S.L. I try to read every entry on this site as it appears, usually clicking either ‘like’ or ‘love’. I am an Anglican Franciscan tertiary who has an affection for St Benedict – and for dogs! I have ‘shared’ your blog posts both on Facebook and by email, as they often hit the spot on something that I have been discussing with my husband or friends. Thank you!

  4. Thank you so much. I am a relative newcomer:in fact I’m not sure how it happened !! I now receive your daily prayer post, and find it helps me tremendously to focus on others. I am a Cradle Catholic, lapsed many times, who struggles with much of the way I perceive the church has been represented. I bless the day Pope Francis and you came into my world.

  5. Thank God, and Dame Catherine, for the blogs and the daily prayer intentions that keep those of us who are regular readers grounded. You have managed to mention all the groups of readers, but I guess that most if us belong to several of them often at the same time whether we are dog lovers, nun lovers and occasional church bashers when they are either changing things or not changing things as we imagine God would approve or not. Thanks for blogging and long may it and you continue.

  6. I love your blog. Thank you for writing it.

    **Actually (oh, horrors!) I’m a cat person but I make an exception for Hairy Brothers, militant and triumphant.

  7. Congratulations on your achievement – 1500 posts. You encourage and inspire. It is hard to travel the road unaided and you are a star to help guide us. Thank you.

  8. Thank you Sr Catherine. I chuckled all the way through this blog. I love the name of each category of readers and echo the sentiments of each of the comments.

  9. Most of the time this SL absorbs the wisdom in your posts then moves into a busy day at our B&B; Sometimes I print a post to mail to a friend who lives offline; sometimes I share to Facebook. But always I pray in thanksgiving for your faithfulness to sharing via the blog and in requesting your comfort and clear thinking continue. Marketers have said that one letter actually sent to a company could count for 100 because 99 had the same idea but didn’t write.
    Know that the ripple fife the of your posts is both deep and wide.

  10. I can’t even remember how/when I found your blog. I am not a Catholic but I enjoy all your posts-particularly those on world events. Congratulations on your achievement and please carry on!

  11. Congratulations on producing 1,500 blog posts. I am a relative newcomer to your wonderful insights on the human condition and matters spiritual. Your compassion, unconditional love for us miserable sinners, patience with our foibles and unjust criticism of your discipline and your very existence make this world a better place. Your stoic acceptance of the pain endured in the battle against illness is a glowing example to us all and makes our minor afflictions pale into insignificance. Lastly but not least, giving us all access to the life and times of you, your dear Sisters and of the hairy Brothers is a privilege for which I and thousands of others are eternally grateful. God bless you. Peace and love be with you now and evermore, xx.

  12. I believe I’m practically a category of my own 😉 – person who would like to say something profound, but barely manages a pfffft (i.e not much).

    To join in with your readers in this celebratory post, however – I attemp the following: I’m in the process of converting, and unbeknownst to you, your posts have been, and continue to be, such rays of hope, knowledge and encouragement; that spiritual “something to digest” in St Thomas More’s prayer for good humor.

    Many thanks and blessings!

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