Soliloquy in an International Cloister

Watch your step as Brother Lawrence takes you inside the monastery walls of a five hundred year-old international order. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll wish you had ignored your hormones and joined the monastery.

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Location: Rome, Italy

01 May 2006

Our house

Today is the first mensiversary (?) of this blog. When I started it, I conceived of it as a place to write about all the insane things that go on at San Lorenzo Monastery. Turns out, there's not as much to write about as I thought. Anyway, I thinks its time to dish dirt on my confreres.

Allow me to start with Brother Porcinus. I believe that everyone was put on this earth for a purpose. Brother Porcinus' purpose, apparently, is to try my patience, "as gold is tested in fire," to use the biblical phrase. How so? Let me recount the ways.

First of all, he is a slob. His clothes are tattered and wrinkled. When he says the mass, his vestments are crooked, the collars are half turned up and the cincture uncinched. His eating habits are abominable. He loudly slurps his soup. He has been known to throw chicken bones onto the table after he has gnawed on them. He shoves food down his gullet so quickly that he usually starts choking at some point during the meal. Between meals, he snacks on peanuts and pretzels, abundant pieces of which can later be found on the chair where he sat as well as a five foot radius around the chair. I once gathered up twelve baskets of fragments! I won't even mention the state of his room.

Since I'm on the subject of his eating habits, I should mention his diet. He has been diagnosed with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, incipient diabetes and imminent coronary heart disease. Much of this is self-inflicted through years of heavy smoking, snacking and a high fat diet. Now that the doctor has told him that these things could kill him (Duh!), he has become obsessed with his diet. The man knows no half measures. The doctor told him that he could eat shrimp so he would buy great bags of it every week. At one point, we had about 50 pounds of shrimp in the freezer, much of which we eventually had to toss out. The doctor said he could eat eggs twice a week, so twice a week for breakfast he will fry up 2 whole eggs together with 5 egg whites. I like to call the resulting soup, "Salmonella Roulette." He will pass on the fruits and vegetables in favor of "fat-free" meat and cheese. He drinks coffee by the gallon. And since he has ruined his taste buds, he makes the coffee stronger by the day. At this point, we have to be careful not to spill it on any metal surfaces.

The most annoying thing of all, is that people really like him. They think he is a saint. Granted, he is doing good work as chaplain of the local prisons, but a saint? I think not. People often say to me, "Oh, you live with Brother Porcinus? He is such a great brother!" To which I can only reply, "He is something else."

8 Comments:

Anonymous heather said...

I blame Vatican II...it's all just so easy these days.

01 May, 2006 19:14  
Blogger Br. Lawrence said...

Ironically, he would agree with you. He just wouldn't apply it to himself.

02 May, 2006 02:33  
Anonymous Moobs said...

Is his real name Friar Tuck?

02 May, 2006 18:48  
Blogger Br. Lawrence said...

Sure, you're laughing now. But you won't be when the Inquisition shows up at your door.

02 May, 2006 21:25  
Anonymous Moobs said...

Don't you mean the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith? By the time they've finished announcing that mouthful I'll be hanging with the Protestants in Holland.

03 May, 2006 11:31  
Blogger Br. Lawrence said...

Funny you should mention hanging.

03 May, 2006 15:45  
Anonymous pog said...

Is his nickname Brother Porker?

04 May, 2006 10:46  
Blogger Br. Lawrence said...

Not recently.

04 May, 2006 16:07  

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