The monastic community managed to squeeze in a Late Fall-Walnut Harvest picnic at Black Butte Lake today before the November rain begins. It was also occasion to celebrate the birthday of one of our monks. He tried to look surprised when we brought out the cake and sang him "Happy Birthday". The weather was on the cool side, but the day started out bright and sunny until mid-afternoon. Several brothers took the opportunity to go hiking and do a bit of treacherous rock climbing as well. Overall, we were grateful for the time we got to spend with God, with nature, and with each other.
Our abbot returned from his recent trip to our daughterhouse of Santa Maria de la Paz in Nicaragua. They are a small, but vibrant community of sisters. The sisters are remarkable in that they carry out our Trappist-Cistercian presence and monastic witness to Christ in a very remote part of Central America. They make their living by producing and selling marmalade.
The sisters live in an area surrounded by mountains, extinct volcanoes and jungles. Road conditions to the monastery are not the best, but they are located in the safest possible place in the event of a disastrous earthquake. Nicaragua is a tropical country which means it stays seasonably warm and humid throughout the year. It also means sharing your living space with exotic creatures like giant marching ants, hairy tarantulas, colorful geckos, and loud, croaking frogs.
Our abbot returned from his trip with gifts from our sisters in Nicaragua including several jars of their marmalade. They come in an assortment of flavors like mango and orange. For more information on our sisters at Monasterio Santa Maria de la Paz, visit the website for the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance. Our heartfelt thanks and "un grande abrazo" (a big hug) go to each sister! Muchas gracias a todas las hermanas por la marmelada!