No, I’m not talking about running away from an enemy, but running away from this busy demanding world we live in. And where did we run to? The St. Scholastica Priory and St. Mary Monastery in Petersham, MA. Kathy and I did our personal retreat on Sunday and Monday and the Urban Missionaries of Our Lady of Hope had their day of Recollection on Tuesday, August 1, 2017.
The location is truly bucolic in the very best sense of the word. Kathy and I refer to it as “holy ground”, a place that has been graced. We stay at the guest house with its welcoming atmosphere and intimate areas where you can sit and pray, contemplate, or just sit and listen to the quiet. The food is provided or you can bring your own and the cost is a “free will offering.”
Whenever we are there we follow the daily schedule of the Benedictine community of sisters and monks. We gather to pray the Liturgy of the Hours seven times a day, starting at 5:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. Daily Mass in incorporated into the hour Terce at midmorning. This sounds very aggressive in the sense that it might seem that your day is always being interrupted, but in reality your day is being held together by this thread of prayer through it.
Each hour has its own psalms, antiphons, readings, and prayers. The community sings each of the hours in Gregorian Chant in Latin. We follow along using translations provided for us by the community. We have, over the years, become somewhat familiar with the chanting of the Latin and when to sit or stand, but it is the peacefulness that fills the chapel while the chanting is takes place that causes me to wonder. This 10 to 15 minute prayer break that beckons you out of the day’s toils, fears, and turmoil brings you back to the peace of the Lord.
We do this for two days and on the third day we take part in the Urban Missionaries of Our Lady of Hope’s day of recollection. Once a year on the first Tuesday in August the Urban Missionaries gather to pray, share, and enjoy the companionship of being an Urban Missionary.
We gather for prayer with the monks and sisters and, during the time between one hour and the next, usually 2 to 3 hours, we meet and discuss topics relevant to the Urban Missionaries of Our Lady of Hope. This year reviewed our constitution and the duties and responsibilities of being an Urban Missionary. We will take up this topic again next April when we meet for our Spring meeting.
Kathy and I are thankful for a chance to rest and pray with all of these wonderful people. It was a blessing.
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