From May 2 through May 14 the Monastery of the Holy Spirit served as host for the annual Conference of Junior Monks and Nuns of our order. Juniors are those who have professed for a limited time (one to three years) the vows of obedience, stability, and conversion of life prior to making their Solemn Profession for life. Twenty-two juniors from eleven Monasteries in the American region assembled to study, work, and relax together.
During the first week, they had 10 conferences on the psalms as presented by Fr. Charles Cummings, O.C.S.O. Fr. Charles is novice master at Holy Trinity monastery in Huntsville, Utah. His conferences included background information on the history of the psalms, the types and poetic structure of the psalms as well as close readings of several representative psalms.
During the second week, Sr. Dianne Bergant, C.S.A. (Congregation of St. Agnes), a professor of Old Testament Studies at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, IL, presented sessions on the readings for various liturgical feasts, their interconnections, and the light they shed on our religious vows.
The visiting juniors joined us for our daily prayer. Many commented on how beautifully quiet and contemplative they found our liturgy. In the afternoons, our juniors had the opportunity to join in monastic work, to walk our woodlands, to study and to relax. Several days they joined with our novices (including Fr. Tom Francis) to play some energetic games of volleyball.
It was a special grace for us to host these conferences and meet the newest Simple Professed members of our various American Houses. We were also happy that they were here to share with us our special thanksgiving dinner with our Benefactors for our new Monastic Heritage Center.