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

11 June 2006

O, the times they are a-changing

Big changes for San Lorenzo Monastery were announced last week. The student-friars and their directors are being moved here from other cloisters. That will add another five, eventually six, brothers to our household. In addition to that, some under-utilized space will be renovated into a provincial archive, and the archivist will be moving here. So within a month, the number of brothers here will double. In fact, one of the brothers presently living here had to move to a nearby cloister to make room for the newbies.

I have mixed feelings about the change. On the one hand, it is nice to have a larger household since the work is spread among more people. I, for one, am looking forward to giving up some quality time with the lawn mower. I will no longer be the youngest person in the house; there will be four younger than I. Not that I would ever abuse my seniority. Oh, no. Never.

Another advantage is that young friars bring a certain amount of enthusiasm to the house, which gives the older brothers something to do, namely, try to shoot down their youthful ideals with our guns of cynicism and jadedness.

On the negative side, they bring a certain amount of enthusiasm to the house, which they expect us to share. This may translate into getting up earlier in the morning or, as I like to call it, the middle of the night. It may also mean longer periods spent in chapel. I have nothing against giving time to the Lord, but I also have work to do. And blogging. And surfing the Net. Etc.

The young men joining us today are usually more conservative than I ever was, and I am sure we will be admonished not to do or say anything that will scandalize them. So much for my scrofulous jokes, which pretty much covers all of them. I will no longer be able to say that one of my colleagues in Rome knew so many languages that we called him the "cunning linguist of the Order." Yeah, I know, who wouldn't want to hear that.

A few of the older brothers are more worried about this change than I am, and since they do not like the newly-appointed Superior of the house that much, I know they will come to me with their complaints. This will put me in the awkward position of having to mediate between the Superior and the senior friars. As a middle child, I guess I should be used to that, but I never find it easy.

So if you notice my entries becoming less cheerful, you will know the reason. On the bright side, there may be some brilliant blogging possibilities ahead.


Blogger kim said...

I enjoy your page and thanks for the RSS feed thingy. I was just learning about that and I do believe your page will be the first I subscribe to :) I have read lots of your posts and I was wondering, does anyone there know you do this blog?

12 June, 2006 02:25  
Blogger Br. Lawrence said...

Ooh, a subscriber! I think I just wet myself.
I hope no one here knows about my blog. Everyone I told about it was sworn to keep my true identity a secret. If a brother were to read what I wrote about him, I would need to be more discreet. That sounds like work to me.

12 June, 2006 04:02  
Anonymous pog said...

If your newbies come up with anything like the calibre of the 'la-di-fucking-da' comment, you know it'll be worth it ...

12 June, 2006 09:27  
Anonymous Bobble said...

Oh this is gong to be fun! Think of the fun dear Brother!

12 June, 2006 12:17  
Blogger Br. Lawrence said...

The two of you seem determined to undermine my angst with cheerful optimism. Harrumph.

12 June, 2006 17:16  
Anonymous heather said...

excuse me, but I was la-di-fucking-la- subscribing through the power that is bloglines long before you discovered how to switch the light on in your blog...I'm expecting a long-service award at the very least. You don't have to claim to be wetting yourself.

12 June, 2006 21:43  
Blogger Br. Lawrence said...

Okay, what's better than wetting oneself? Oh. Never mind.

13 June, 2006 04:10  

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