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Blog

Seeking God at this place of New Clairvaux, we are a community of Cistercian monks living the Rule of Saint Benedict. We witness God's love for the world according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ by a life of prayer, labor, and sustainable stewardship of our resources in a simplicity and openness to the signs of the times. Our monastery welcomes all people in the spirit of hospitality, and engages others in collaborative relationships.

Br. Christopher reflects on the New Slavery:

“Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just”  --Thomas Jefferson, on slavery 

In light of current events, the abbot recently had the community view “I am Not your Negro”, an outstanding documentary on the Black experience in America. It is a heart-rendering story, beginning with the abominable cruelty of racial slavery.  The question was raised: Why did the majority of people in those days not see what is so clear to us now: how wrong it is for fellow human beings to have no rights and be considered the property of others?  

The church of St. Lazarus at Bethany is one of the most impressive churches I have ever visited in the Holy Land. This church serves to commemorate the Saint’s resurrection from the dead. It also represents how the Gospels relate regarding Lazarus’ sisters Martha and Mary who were honored by  the special friendship of the Lord.

Martha was known by her hospitality, welcoming Jesus into her house and serving Him, while Mary was known by her contemplation at the feet of Jesus, for she is sitting, listening and loving Him. And the Lord claims she has chosen the better part which cannot be taken from her (Luke 10:38-42). 

The end of July at the monastery means that our harvest season looms on the horizon.  The first of our wine grapes are cut in early August and continues through September and includes crushing, pressing and fermentation.  The prunes follow in the second half of August into September.  Finally, the walnuts are harvested in late September and October.

Fr. Placid remembers the day he entered the monastery:  "My first day in the monastery was one of activity. I travelled up from Pasadena, CA my home town. It was an eight-hour drive. My triplet brothers James and Joseph drove me up after saying goodbye to my parents and the dog! He sensed something because he ‘hugged’ me with his shoulders, which come up my waist. The trip was eventful, listening to our favorite songs on CDs. Arriving at the monastery, I am shown to my room by my ‘guardian angel’, Br. Rafael.

Last November the monks of New Clairvaux Abbey granted permission to a UC Berkeley team to install a small Seismic Station, and the unit has now been set up on the monastery property, in an unobtrusive spot near the Abbey’s Holy Trinity field walnut orchard.  
The station is part of the “Seismic Stations for California’s Earthquake Early Warning System, Shake Alert” which detects Earthquakes so quickly that an alert can reach millions of people before strong shaking arrives. UC Berkeley and its partners operating California’s seismic network, CISN, are developing and implementing the Shake Alert earthquake early warning system to identify and characterize an earthquake within a few seconds after it begins. With this system they are able to calculate the expected intensity of ground shaking, and can send warnings to people in harm’s way. To reliably distribute warnings for all parts of the State, it is important to have a robustly operating, dense network of seismic stations capable of providing data that can be used in Shake Alert. The best locations for these stations are those with minimum urban noise. Currently there are 538 stations distributed through the state of California and the Abbey is proud to have one installed in its property. 

July 2, 2020 will be the 65th anniversary of the founding of New Clairvaux Abbey in 1955, also the Feast of the Visitation in those days.  A monk creatively combines the two events in an imaginative poem, entitled: "Mary Greets the Years"

Very suddenly at first light she runs

The news-incredible-giving her legs

Fr. Thomas speaks with us about the meaning of PLACE in our Christian and monastic lives:

“A straightforward meaning that Jesus gives to his Ascension is that he is going to prepare a place for his disciples and for us in the Father’s house.  Jesus has promised that he will return and takes us there. Meanwhile, before this wonderful event occurs, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit will come to make their dwelling place in our personal lives.  This idea of place, then, means that we, as disciples of Christ, are called to live intimately with one another and with God. How wonderful it is to live in the ‘place’ with the Trinity.

As we near the end of the Church's Easter Season, Br. William shares on a beloved Resurrection Gospel:

“A most beautiful and touching resurrection story is found from the Gospel of Luke Chapter 24 beginning from Verse 13.  This narrative of the appearance of Jesus on the Road to Emmaus is unique to the Gospel of Luke.  I would like to share a few words about this passage of the Gospel. Years ago, I read the book “With Hearts Burning” by Henri Nouwen. I was captivated by the contents of his book and the phrase “with hearts burning” occupies a special place in my heart. 

Abbot Paul Mark shares on current and future days:

“The daily news is all about the pandemic and its tragic consequences.  It impacts us all.  Here in the monastery we offer a prayer daily for protection all people, a resolution to the pandemic and for the deceased and their loved ones.

            But here is some Good News, Pentecost is coming!  This Mystery of Salvation celebrates the beginning of the faith community we call church.  The church flows from the side of the pierced Jesus that spews forth his precious water and blood,

Grretings Blog Viewers!  Our Br. Christopher reflects on Mary’s Month:  “Traditionally the month of May is known as ‘Mary’s Month’ among Catholics, a time of devotion and reflection on Our Blessed Mother.  For some, Catholics are too focused on Mary, to the exclusion of Jesus, they say.  Oh, how wrong headed they are!

                If we truly want to know Jesus we must look at Why He came, what He has done for the human race: He came to unite us to Himself, human and divine, to unite us to His Divinity through His humanity.  He achieved this goal in a superlative way in the one with the most unique and special relationship with Him: the one He choose to by His own human mother.