I’m Having Trouble with Penance

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I am always eager for Lent to begin, literally so for the lengthening of days, and also for the increase of Light in my soul.  It was during those holy weeks before Easter that significant life changes occurred. The most recent event was becoming a Benedictine oblate. In years past my offerings to God were [Read More...]

After Glow

Signing Formula of Oblation with Prior

My final oblation was at hand. That night at vespers I would lay my heart and all my will upon the altar. My joy was boundless and barely kept in check. I cried as I prayed lauds, overwhelmed with love. I wanted desperately to commit “for the rest of my life” to service of God [Read More...]

St. Benedict’s Soup

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It was the weekend before I was to make my final profession as a Benedictine Oblate. I wanted to honor St. Benedict in a personal way and created this soup as a briw.  In Old English the briw was the evening meal of soup or broth—a lighter fare, with the heavier meal consumed in the [Read More...]

Benedictine Cross Kerfuffle

Rodney Campbell, St. Benedict Monastery, Cloister, Oxford, MI

Nine months before my final profession as a Benedictine Oblate, I began the search for the crucifix I would wear for the rest of my life—the crucifix that would accompany me into the grave. Growing up I had always wanted to be a nun, not a Sister. I ached to be a nun who wore [Read More...]

Dyed Orchids and Dying to Self

Blue Orchid

In the west window atop the stairs are shelves for growing houseplants, one being a white phalaenopsis orchid. I am drawn to the simple elegance of its white flowers along a gently arching stem. Shopping at Meijer’s a few days ago I walked through the florist section. On a three tiered table were white orchids [Read More...]

Starving to be Fed

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I was surprised this year by the return of migratory birds. It felt like the first week in February was too early with night temperatures still running near zero. With over two feet of snow on the ground there was very little food for the birds to forage or materials for building nests. Last week [Read More...]

Blue Blue Birds

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One of the delights of living a single life in silence is hearing the change in the songs of song birds. I had noticed over the past week that the black capped chickadees had started their flocking call. Their two-note whistle, after which the species in named, is the familiar chica-dee-dee-dee-dee. I had seen a [Read More...]

Grow Light

It had been weeks since the last time it was warm enough to walk—a relative statement since it was only twenty degrees outside. I discovered my boots leaked while I walked along Leeward Drive. I stepped around slush puddles as best I could. My cheeks and nose tingled from the cold. Today the sun had [Read More...]

Father’s Hands

The love of greenhousing began when I was very young. I remember being carried on my mother’s hip along a cobble-stoned path that ran the length of the greenhouses—my family had an acre under glass. We walked through the warm and humid houses, past benches of colorful flowers. I would breathe an air unpolluted by cigarette [Read More...]

Fire Too Close

The siren was close. The main road I live on, Berry, intersects with Meridian three hundred feet east of my drive. It’s not unusual to hear the siren of ambulances or police cars. Sitting at my desk I tried to determine the direction of the sound. It had stopped near my house. Not good…not good [Read More...]


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