04 January 2011

Christmas News from Transfiguration Monastery

Transfiguration Monastery, the only Camaldolese Monastery of nuns in the United States, has seen another year of changes. They are exciting and mainly positive. (One is a bit sad, I think.)

In the community's Christmas letter, Sister Donald writes, [[ We hope that by Christmas a permanent chaplain will join us: Fr Robert Dwyer, a retired priest of this diocese and a long time friend of the monastery. We have spent the past several months working on the construction of a hermitage for Fr Dwyer. We've also had visits this fall from a number of women who have an interest in living monastic life --- and we will have two more with us at Christmas time.

Sister Jeanne Marie is now residing at Susquehanna nursing home and is still very much a part of our community, supporting us above all in her prayer. She was with us on the Feast of All Saints and for Thanksgiving. [Contact information is available for those wishing to contact her.]

On December 8th, Mary Fedorchak received the habit and became "Sister Mary Catherine". Mary chose the name Catherine because of the influence in her life of Catherine de Hueck Doherty, the founder of Madonna House in Canada. We are delighted and rejoice in the many talents and good spirit she brings to the community. . . .

Sister Sheila remains our principal cook and bread baker. She is also our liturgist, excellent chant teacher and musician, seamstress, and is teaching us a course on the Book of Ruth. Sister Donald gave retreats, workshops, and talks in Dallas, Kalamazoo, at St John's Abbey, in California, and at the monastery here in Windsor. She is also teaching two courses for the deacon candidates in our diocese: Christology and spirituality.

At the end of September, Sister Barbara, novice mistress of our Motherhouse in Rome, came for a long-awaited canonical visit. Sister Barbara is young, enthusiastic, and was very supportive of our efforts here. She was eager to improve her English and we now have more incentive to work on Italian

I do ask for your prayers for Transfiguration, and urge you to consider supporting these Sisters in whatever way you can. Also, please consider making a retreat there or attending a workshop (or one of the retreats Sister Donald gives in CA or Dallas for those interested in a Benedictine experience). The Camaldolese Benedictine charism is centuries old (almost 10 centuries in fact) and one of the few places eremitical life, cenobitical life, and evangelization are blended in the way that happens at Transfiguration. Those interested in living an expression of Camaldolese spirituality outside a monastery might also want to consider becoming Camaldolese Oblates, whether with Transfiguration or with New Camaldoli (monks) in Big Sur, or Incarnation Monastery (monks, house of studies) in Berkeley. Oblates make their stability with one of these houses, but are always welcome at any of them.

Update 2013: Transfiguration Monastery has ceased to be a Camaldolese Monastery and is formally becoming an American Benedictine house/congregation. Those who are interested in becoming Camaldolese Oblates should probably contact New Camaldoli or Incarnation Monastery. Those of us who are already Camaldolese Oblates with our affiliation with Transfiguration have the option of maintaining our oblature here or transferring it to one of these other houses. The Camaldolese charism will remain a significant part of Transfiguration's inspiration, heritage, and ministry.