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

05 December 2006

Legenda Fratrum, Pars XI

Today, our fraternity had an official farewell dinner for three brothers who are returning to their respective provinces after having worked here many years. One was the Information Systems Manager for the past six years--a very competent, yet humble brother from Brazil. Another, from Poland, was the Porter, answering the door and phone (which is not a pleasant or easy job here, I can assure you). The third brother has been here for 16 years! For the last six years, he has been the Guardian of the fraternity. He is the cheerful, bubbly, extroverted type--the kind I like to call "Brother Fingernails-on-the-blackboard" (FOTB). I don't like to talk about brothers behind their backs, but I'll make an exception in this case.

The most common mutterance heard from me in the presence of FOTB has been, "Does he ever shut up?" Indeed, he appears to suffer from a chronic case of logorrhea. If he happens to be standing near you as you are talking to someone else, he even feels impelled to respond to the things you've said to the other person. Normally, this trait would be merely annoying, but it becomes dangerous when exhibited by the Guardian, for the Guardian, by tradition, must offer greetings to visitors, good wishes to brothers celebrating birthdays, and all sorts of other little speeches. Since he is constitutionally unable to make little speeches, he invariable says more than he should.

A recent case in point....

This summer, the fraternity held a cookout to thank all our lay staff members--cooks, cleaners and secretaries. FOTB felt obliged to thank each person publicly for his or her contribution. He thanked the secretaries for their typing and layouts. He thanked the cooks for their labors in the kitchen. He thanked the launderers for our clean linen and clothing. He finally reached the young woman whose job it was to clean the guest rooms and common bath rooms, to whom he said:

"Betty (not her real name), every time I go to the toilet, I think of you!"


Anonymous Open Grove Claudia said...

Poor Betty! That's enough to freak anyone out.

Of course, right now, we have the Newsweek with pappa Bush and baby Bush next to our toilet....

05 December, 2006 16:56  
Blogger heartinsanfrancisco said...

How did "Betty" respond to such mighty praise?

Every organization has assholes. And FOTB is yours. Thank the Lord he is returning to his former province.

I'm happy to have found you again. At one point, the link went to something unrelated to your fine blog.

Thank the Lord again!

05 December, 2006 21:23  
Anonymous pog said...

Oh, I'd give you SUCH a snog - if it was allowed by your monkish vows, of course.

06 December, 2006 13:06  
Blogger BroLo said...

OGC: Now that's just sick.

HISF: "Betty" is on maternity leave. I don't know what part, if any, his comment played in that situation.

Pog: My beads are smoldering!

08 December, 2006 21:35  
Anonymous heather said...

I think pog means that she's very pleased that you;re getting a pastry for your feast day. Yes, I'm sure that's what she means. Snog is an old english word that relates to pastry and feast days - at least, that's what it means in our house.

10 December, 2006 19:46  
Anonymous pog said...

Yes, H, that's exactly what I meant. Gosh, I wonder what BroLo was thinking. Any ideas?

18 December, 2006 13:14  

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