13 July 2008

Return From Retreat!! (Faces from retreat included below)

Well my apologies for not keeping updates going on the Camaldolese monks from Big Sur, but I was away on retreat from the 5th of July through this morning and just returned home. However, if you check the post about the evacuation of the monks, an update will be included there.

The retreat was a Benedictine Experience held at Bishop's Ranch in Healdsburg, CA. Sister Donald Corcoran, OSB Cam, Prioress of Transfiguration Monastery (the monastery where I am an Oblate) was the main presenter. Unfortunately, Dom Robert Hale, OSB Cam, who usually works to give reflections these weeks was unable to attend because of health concerns complicated by the air quality and the like given all the fires in CA. His place was ably filled by Rod(erick) Dugliss, Dean of the Episcopal School for Deacons in the Diocese of California. (Rod is a great cook, by the way, and makes a really mean Rhubarb pie!!) Our music master was John Renke who directed the schola and all the rest of us (I had a cold which, unfortunately, was still fairly hard core at the beginning of the retreat, so I did not sign up for the schola; singing in choir was still terrific fun, coughing notwithstanding). John was the director of the Schola Cantorum of SF, currently is the Director of Music at St Andrew's Cathedral in Honolulu, and is an amazing guy; funny, driven, talented, prayerful. It was lovely working with him.

I will be enlarging on my experience and uploading some pictures, because this was a great retreat. For now, let me say that I am sorry to have left Bishop's Ranch, sorry to see Sister Donald leave for NY again, and I will certainly miss all the folks I spent the week with --- not to mention the chance to spot mountain lions from my room's balcony (Sister Donald in the NEXT room saw one last evening, another retreatant in the room on my left saw one earlier in the week in the morning, and I, though looking both those times (or pretty near), did not!!! Okay, so I AM envious!!!), but it is nice to get back to Stillsong and reassure my (little non-mountain) cat Brindle that I will be here for another little while at least! (There are some Camaldolese events coming up, not least the Consulta in Italy (individual monasteries may bring Oblate representatives) and the 50th anniversary of New Camaldoli later this Summer. Chances are good for Brindle though I will be around until next retreat!!)

Especially good was the chance to meet some of the Camaldolese Oblates I knew only by name, or to get to know others better, and the ecumenical quality of the week was also superb. This translated into really good Office (MP, EP, Compline) with some wonderful chant harmonies and some great hymns among things liturgical. (I admit I prefer a "quieter" -- not quite the right word -- Compline and sang that alone in my own room most nights.) Still, it was terrific singing Office with 35 other people!! One of the topics of a conference during the retreat was the enlarging of our hearts, and I carry all those people in my heart now. It will be wonderful to share some of their faces and perhaps a story or two here! (And fortunately, since this is MY blog, THEY can't share their stories about ME despite the fact that there are one or two good ones!!!)

A few of the faces from retreat (a few of the wonderful faces and people I carry now in my heart). I will add more as time permits! I have included the last names of staff/faculty on the retreat. Participants when identified, are identified by first name.

John, Suzanne


Rod Dugliss (Dean, Episcopal School of Deacons, Dio of CA)
Sister Donald Corcoran (Prioress, Transfiguration Monastery) with Shirley (fellow Oblate with Transfiguration)

Our resident "Abbess" (Archdeacon Emerita, Dorothy Jones) reprimands a rowdy hermit for a fit of laughing during a "silent" meal. (Well, it, including the giggling, was MOSTLY silent!)

"Abbess" Dorothy and Rod Dugliss during conference break

Rev Rebecca (Episcopal Deacon and the REAL culprit at our rowdy breakfast table!)

John Renke prepares to lead singing of grace before meal

Waiting to pray grace before meals

Jim (One great pew mate! We were alternately befuddled from time to time by the unfamiliar Office books and came to each other's rescue more than once or twice.)

Catherine, currently preparing for consecra- tion under canon 604 (Consecra- ted Virgins)