Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Our Trip to Missouri and Kansas: Clyde Monastery

We spent the next two days at the Motherhouse of the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in Clyde MO.   In 1874 a handful of Benedictine nuns from a monastery in Rickenbach Switzerland came to America to found this monastery.  Sisters of Perpetual Adoration are a contemplative, monastic community called to a ministry of prayer, with a tradition of unceasing adoration of Christ in the Eucharist.

We have been coming here annually for the last 15 years to visit with Sr. Paula whom Bill first met in San Diego when she was his spiritual director.  She has been an important part of Bill's life for the past almost forty years and of our married life for the past almost twenty.

Paula celebrated her 90th birthday last month.  She has been living in the assisted living community--Our Lady of Rickenbach--for the last few years.  She was the founding executive director of this new facility when it opened about 15 years ago.  While she has faced some serious health issues over the past few years, she continues to be source of joyful faithfulness to her Christian vocation and a source of edification to me in my efforts to do the same.  She is always brimming with new insights about spirituality and life and she shares these with a disarming honesty and sense of humor.  We had our meals with her and the community at OLR as well as celebrated Mass and prayed vespers.

We also enjoyed the beautiful surroundings of the monastery.  The weather was terribly hot and humid but we were always able to find shady nooks or wind swept hills particularly late or early in the day.

Click here to view an album of photos from the monastery.

We had no wifi in our guest quarters and so I spent the time off the grid and enjoying that a bit more than I though I might.  While Marilyn used this down time to read, I just roamed the grounds--taking photos, of course--but generally just paying attention to where I was and what presented itself to me:  beautiful moths, lovely sculptures, golden vistas, the monastery bells and overall a peaceful quietness.

We spent Saturday morning  walking about the grounds together and end up in the cemetery where we visited the graves of some of nuns I had come to know as well as Sr. Anselma, the nun who lead the group five from Switzerland back in 1874.  By chance, we also came across seven graves which all carried the same family name:  Eichenhofer.  There were Sisters Hildegard (1882-1957), Wunibalda (1882-1954), Walburga (1883-1951), Willibalda (1894-1969), Sabina (1892-1973), Leona (1893-1992) and Eusebia (1898-1974).

Our natural reaction was to come up with some narratives to make sense of this.  First, we thought that obviously Sisters Hildegard and Wunibalda were twins since they were born in the same year.  We were wrong.  They were born in the same year but not on the same day.  Apparently, the Irish are not the only ones to have "Irish twins."  I thought that some were siblings and perhaps others were aunts and nieces or perhaps cousins.  I was wrong about that.  They were all siblings.  It turns out that over about twenty years from 1904 through 1926 these seven sisters came from Germany to enter this monastery in Northwest Missouri.  After the first two came, it seems that the others more or less one by one followed the sisters before them to enter this contemplative life in a far away place.  As far as I know, there is no other details about the seven but we should be able to spin an even more interesting narrative out of this.

We also visited the gift shop as we always do.  This time we met Sister Joan who recently came from the monastery in Tucson and before that had spent many years in the now closed monastery in Rock Spring WY.  There she began her career as an award winning soap maker.  Her specialty is glycerin soap.   Of course, we bought some.  More important we had a lovely visit with another of these remarkable women whose commitment and faithfulness is so important to us.
We spent out final evening visiting with Paula in the sun room with its comfortable wicker furniture.  With hazardous heat warnings during our visit, we were not able to go outside with Paula.  We often take her out for dinner but this was not possible this trip.  In a way, that was nice since it maximized the time we could spend with her.  We also met and enjoyed Sr. John who taught us how to play new card game.  We visit with Sr. Nancy Grace one of the beekeepers who was suffering through a nasty bee sting on her lip.  Sr. Nancy is a graduate of West Point and served as an officer in the Army before entering.  Yes, that West Point.  We also got up to date on all the activities of Sr. Kathleen Marie, who is executive director of OLR but also runs Monastery Creations and is the other award winning soap maker.  Her specialty is butter based soaps (shea etc.) which makes some sense she is also a baker.

Click here to view an album of photos from the monastery.

We left early the next morning to continue our travels, heading south to Maize Kansas and our Sciolaro cousins and whatever adventures they have planned for us this trip.

1 comment:

  1. So glad you were able to spend time with Paula and enjoy the peace of the monastery.