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

22 October 2007

House art

While out for a walk one afternoon in the suburb of Sydney where I am staying, I stumbled across some funky house art that I had to share with you. Clicking on the pictures will give you a larger version.

This first one was so clever, it made me smile. [Hint: Look on the porch below the painting.]

This picture below are just a few of the ceramic sculptures that filled the front lawn of one house. Unfortunately, the lawn was quite a bit above street level so I could not get a good picture. At least you get the idea.


17 October 2007

Legenda Fratrum, pars XIV

Visiting Down Under for the first time has provided me with new stories about the brothers. For example....

Brother H was saying mass at a sisters convent on the feast of Our Lady's Assumption. Being an experienced homilist, he knew that it was essential to get the audience's attention immediately so he began the homily by kissing the feet of the chapel's statue of the Virgin Mary. He then began to extol her virtues. The sisters turned to each other and smiled. After going on a bit, he stopped, returned to the statue, and kissed it on the shins. The sisters smiled, a little more nervously this time. The glances were more furtive. He went on some more. Then he kissed the statue's knees. The sisters shifted in their seats. Some tugged at their collars and bit their lower lips. More extolling. When he stopped talking and started back toward the statue, the sisters began fanning themselves with their prayer books.

12 October 2007

What a lucky man he was

I am a lucky person, in the sense that I have had a lot of things that many people do not: a stable, loving family life, a family that never experienced poverty, a good education, good friends, opportunities to travel, and others too numerous to mention. I am not a lucky person in the sense of winning contests and games of chance. I do not remember ever winning a contest.

For one brief, sweet moment earlier this week, however, the gods of minor fortunes smiled on me. I was flying from Sydney to Melbourne, accompanied by one of the local brothers. Although we had checked in online, when we reached the airport, I went to Qantas' service desk to have my frequent flyer number added to the ticket. The gate agent took much longer than I thought was necessary for such a minor operation, and I was beginning to get annoyed. Finally, she said, "I believe you are traveling with a mate. You might want to call him over here because I've just upgraded the two of you."

Maybe crossing the equator turns one's fortunes upside down, as well.


11 October 2007

Down Under

I’m in Australia for a few weeks, having arrived here on October fourth. This is not the first time I “crossed the line” since I visited Indonesia and Papua New Guinea in the past, but it is my first time in Australia.
The brothers here are a curious mix of various nationalities. As waves of immigrants arrived in Australia from various countries, bishops requested priests who could say mass in the languages of the new arrivals. The brothers here obliged by recruiting missionaries from the countries of the immigrants. Thus there are Italian, Czech, Polish and Indonesian brothers in the Province, as well as native Australians. The diversity of practices and cultures among these brothers did not exactly make for smooth sailing in the early years of the Province, but they seem to have at last found a certain equilibrium. In fact, the cultural differences makes them more interesting.
I had a day off from visiting the friars and I used it to see some of the other unusual creatures on this continent (see picture).


06 October 2007

Rocket bro

I calculate that on August 31, somewhere between Frankfurt and Mumbai, I surpassed 100,000 miles of airline travel since taking this position in September 1996. I further calculate that on November 2, somewhere between Frankfurt and Milano, I will surpass 100,000 miles of air travel this calendar year. If you added in all the miles I traveled in India by car, train, auto rickshaw, ox cart and foot, you'd be talking real distances!