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.

My Photo
Location: Rome, Italy

05 September 2012

What's in a word? Apparently, a lot!

Those who complain that their government never does anything have probably never had to write legislation through a committee process. 171 delegates of the Order are currently trying to rewrite our Constitutions. A Constitutional Committee worked for six years to produce two drafts, soliciting comments from the grassroots several times along the way. Relatively few comments were received; the most common complaint we heard was, "I cannot evaluate the work because I have no expertise in the material." Now that we are trying to produce the final draft, it seems that everyone is an expert, and they want to change everything. We've spent half an hour arguing over whether the Gospels are the "source" or the "principle" of our life. One group spent 30 minutes trying to decide whether the text should say "Martha and Mary" or "Mary and Martha".

We are only three days into the process, but nerves are already beginning to fray. Each morning I look out the window of the chapel and think to myself, "We should probably lock the door of the stairs leading up to the bell tower."