Sunday, December 26, 2010

Overdue Update...

I got a couple of questions via e-mail that have prompted me to write this much overdue update!

Now that I am back at the monastery, I have received a couple of work assignments. I am now the Assistant Director of Development at the Abbey and I will assist in Campus Ministry at Benedictine College (BC) (Masses, confessions, spiritual direction, teach RCIA, chaplain of the KofC, assist with FOCUS leaders, etc.).

Since BC is on their Christmas break right now, my time has been primarily focused on development. I am currently engaging our 13-member Development Board through individual meetings with each person (learning our history and getting ideas for the future - BE AFRAID, be very afraid!), reading some books on fundraising, meeting with development personnel at other institutions, attending in-house meetings here at the Abbey, etc... whatever I can do to catch up in this field. It has been enlightening, educational and somewhat daunting to learn what can be done in this endeavor and, indeed, what needs to be done for it to work well. Please keep me and the Abbey in your prayers!!

Mom is doing well for her condition (early stages of dementia). Though she forgets things on occasion, her memory is still intact for the most part. She gets around with the help of Barry, Richard & Laura and her wonderful siblings. I talk to her frequently and look forward to getting home on a more regular basis with not so much time between visits.

Richard & Laura and their kids are doing well... really getting into good shape (well, except for Richard!). Barry is no longer dating his previous girlfriend, Alyson. Say a prayer for each of them - that they will find God's will and peace in their lives.

As for me, I am settled into my new room - Out of the Novitiate and onto the main hall on the 3rd floor of the monastery!! A little more room which is now pretty full with my books, files, computer, etc. (oh yeah, and my bed - as it doubles as my bedroom and my working office). Christmas has brought many celebrations (as usual), liturgically and socially (in the monastery and outside). I am just trying to get ready for the onslaught which will begin when the students get back to school.

That's about it for now... Oremus Pro Invicem (Let us pray for one another).

In Christ, our infant King,
Father Justin Damien Dean

P.S. And there is the matter of a little college football game on January 10th, but that is a long way away from my thoughts right now...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Vows and Home Visit...

For the Mass of my first monastic vows, my mom made surprise visit with Richard, Barry and Ann Marie (Richard's daughter). Everything went well with the vows Mass on December 8th. We had a nice dinner reception afterwards and I left for Montgomery the next morning at 5:00 AM, dropping mom, Richard and Ann Marie off at the KC airport on my way to Montgomery. (Thanks for the many prayers for my trip home - they worked!!)

I am now in Montgomery for my 5-day Home Visit. I had a few gatherings (in Montgomery, Troy & Auburn) so that I could see a lot of friends and former parishioners. They concluded yesterday at Queen of Mercy. It was great to see everyone.

Right now (Monday morning) I am sorting through stuff and putting it into 3 piles - (1) take to Kansas, (2) leave at home and (3) get rid of! It is a big job and I am glad that I started it 2 days before I return to Kansas. I drove a van to Montgomery so that I can take my books and other things back with me.

That's all for now. Thanks for the prayers and be assured of mine for all of you!

God bless,

Saturday, November 27, 2010


What can I say?!? Camback from 24-0 deficit to beat the evil empire 28-27 to stay undefeated!! It doesn't get any better than that!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

1 month to go...

... until I make my first/temporary/simple profession of monastic vows on December 8th!

But the real reason for the update... is to say WARRRRR EAGLE!! Auburn remains undefeated (10-0) and on track for the National Championship game. I had to get that in before the situation changes. Hard road ahead - UGA, uat, SEC championship, National Championship... but this is a very good team with Cam at the helm!!

And UAT has lost *2* games since I last updated!! Whooo-hoooo!!

The Lord is Good!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

6 weeks to go..

My first profession of monastic vows will take place at our community Mass on Wednesday, December 8th at 4:45 PM (6 weeks from today). Recently someone from out of town expressed interest in coming and was wondering if it was open to the public... IT IS!! And I would welcome anyone who would like to come.

Though you do not need to tell me if you are coming, out of town guests who would like a room in the Abbey Guest House need to let me know ASAP (space is limited)! And my guests who would like to join the monastic community for dinner after the Mass need to let me know at least a few days in advance.

Otherwise, please keep myself and Br. Christopher Start in your prayers as we prepare for this next step in our monastic journeys.

God bless,

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

50 days to go... and the votes are in...

Today, with 50 days to go until my novitiate is over, our monastic community met to vote on the acceptance of the novices' request for entrance into the monastery as junior monks.

I was informed after the meeting that I was accepted! (As was Br. Christopher Start.)

Our profession of vows is scheduled for Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception!

The next day (Dec 9th) I will begin my drive toward Montgomery for my 5-day home visit. More details on that in the future...

Thank you for all the prayers.

God bless,

Friday, October 8, 2010

2 months to go...

...until my first profession of monastic vows! God willing and it is approved by the monks of St. Benedict's Abbey (they vote on Oct 19), I will become a Junior monk on December 8, 2010. Afterward I will get to make a 5-day Home Visit (more on that later).

Monthly Update:

1. Julie Alexander gave birth to her and Greg's 7th child on September 23... giving him the name Justin Damien! He will have some big shoes to fill (as I do) as those are 2 great saints!!

2. Along those lines, another a wonderful couple here in Atchison had their 4th child - Joe & Megan Wurtz. Sophia Marie Therese Wurtz was born on the Feast of St. Therese (Oct. 1). Joe is the dean of students at our college and I have known them for about 8-9 years.

3. On a somewhat sadder note, I entered the Novitiate with 2 young men, Br. Christopher & Br. Ulrich, and the latter (now back to Vincent Henningsgaard) has discerned that he is not called to be here at St. Benedict's Abbey at this time. He moved back to Minnesota on September 30th. He is a wonderful person who is already missed. May God continue to bless him as he seeks His will in his life!! And, as I told him, if God's will and mine ever coincide on this issue he will be back!!

4. One of our brothers here has started a Peanut Brittle business... and the novices (and others) are helping to make the brittle. Check it out on our website: - Click on "The Making of Benedict's Brittle" video to see me in action!

5. A few of us monks also participated in the annual Life Chain (which occurs on the first Sunday of October every year)... picture and blurb also on the website (for now).

6. Auburn football continues to roll... up to #8 in the nation. Troy had a significant victory last Tuesday night (Oct 5th on ESPN) over their main competition for their conference championship and subsequent bowl game invitation!! BC is now 3-2 after starting 3-0 and losing to a couple of good teams the past 2 weeks. And yes, the Evil Empire has won a few games too...

7. Little things going on all over the place... the novices have been helping one of our older priests (82 years old) move back to the monastery from a local parish where he will end his term as pastor on Oct 15th... Our recent Family Weekend at BC went well (Oct 1-3)... the Abbey hosted the Kansas City (Kansas) priests for our (135th?) annual Clergy Day (we prayed vespers together and had a delicious dinner) last Tuesday (Oct 5th)... Oktoberfest is tonight at BC (our roots are German and it is a good excuse for a campus-wide party!).

8. And saving the best for last... my brother Barry is now dating a wonderful Catholic girl!! The relationship looks like it has some good potential!! More on this as things develop... but a few prayers would be appreciated!!

That is all for now... and as you are praying for that last item, throw in one for me too (and be assured of mine for you)!!

God bless,

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Monthly Update...

13 months down (as of today)... less than 3 to go!!

Another good month... crops are almost all in (a few more tomatoes to gather)... grass is slowing down. A couple of projects to complete during these next 3 months will keep us novices busy.

Over the past month:

The monastery hosted its 16th annual college faculty/staff and their families for a beginning of the year picnic on August 18th. About 300 people were in attendance (not counting our monks).

A few visitors stopped by - the entire Francis family dropping of Zak for school (do I even miss them and especially their beautiful music at the OLQM Masses), Jeff & Rachael Slipke and family (some of my wonderful former parishioners from Auburn - Rachael came into the Church while I was in Auburn), the Estis family (Joann, Buddy and 4 of their children - the 3rd or 4th time they have been through with Buddy's work) and Andy Swartzer (a former student of mine at AU and parishioner in Montgomery) who spent a day and a half here before working a week in Omaha with the USAF. It was great to see them all!!

The day at the Lake (8/20), sponsored by Br. Leven Harton's parents was a blast (as expected). A couple of brief showers did not dampen our spirits. And, as oftentimes happens at the lake, there was way too much food - but we still tried our best to get it all down!!

Football has started... Benedictine College (BC) won its first 2 games (at home 21-0 and on the road 38-19). AU is 2-0 and rising in the national ranking!! (And yes, the evil empire is also 2-0.)

BC dedicated it's new Nursing & Health Education Building to Mother Teresa on her 100th birthday (8/26)!

Nothing else of monumental importance - a few side items: my brother Barry turned 45 on 9/11, mom is doing well, Richard (and his daughter Ann Marie - my goddaughter) are planning to come to my first profession (12/8/10) and the rest of his family is doing well.

That's about all for now... and its time for bed!!

God bless,

Saturday, August 14, 2010

One Year!!

It is hard to believe that I have lived at St. Benedict's Abbey for 1 year as of today. I got here a couple of days early - with my brother Barry - on Aug 12, but I became an official resident on the 14th. Less than 4 months remain in my Novitiate as first (simple/temporary) vows is scheduled for December 8th!

Report for the last month:

1. Picking... Picking... Picking... a couple of times each week we go out and get the fruit of our harvest - especially corn and tomatoes!! They are delicious. We planted 4 sets of corn and recently picked the last batch. The tomatoes are still flooding in - at a rate of about 12-15 boxes per week! When not bringing in the crops we have cut a lot of grass!!

2. Some of the monks (including me) attended the Amelia Earhart Festival Fireworks display on Saturday, July 17th. It last about 30 minutes, was synchronized to music on the radio and was very good (especially for a city of about 10,000 residents). During this annual festival the city gets about 50,000 visitors. It is a big to-do each year with a lot of events through out the weekend!!

3. During my Novitiate I have been viewing some A/V classes. I recently finished my third DVD home study course (one was on Salvation History [the Great Adventure], one on Pauline Literature [Augustine Institute] and one on Johannine Literature [Augustine Institute]) and a CD class (Epic, 20 hours on Church History). All of them were excellent and I look forward to putting them to use after my novitiate. I am now studying Matthew's Gospel (with a special emphasis on the Sermon on the Mount, which is chapters 5-7).

4. This morning we got to witness the implosion of the old Atchison Hospital (which is right across the street from our school. Sounded like a string of firecrackers which was followed by the falling of the building and a mushroom cloud of dust! It was cool!!

Coming events:

1. This Friday, August 20th, the parents of one of our junior monks is providing us with a day at the lake. I look forward to the swimming, water skiing and the relaxation!

2. The Benedictine College (BC) move-in date for new freshmen is Saturday, August 21. Two freshmen are former parishioners of mine - Zak Francis from Montgomery and Michael Farnet from Auburn. The Francis family is military and have lived in Montgomery for the past 6 years. And the Farnet family currently lives in KC. They left Auburn when Michael was 3 years old!

3. BC begins classes on Wed, Aug 25 and dedicates a new Nursing Facility (honoring Mother Teresa) on Aug 26.

4. Football season is right around the corner. There is not quite the excitement at BC over this sport as there is in the state of Alabama and the SEC. But we are surrounded by Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma - so I hear plenty of Big 12 talk... it almost made me happy UAT beat Texas last year! Another advantage of living in Kansas - I don't have to listen the redneck Bammers all season!!

That's all for now. God bless you all and please keep me in your prayers and be assured of mine for you!!

Father Justin Damien Dean

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

11 months...

11 months ago today (Aug 14, 2009) I entered the Postulancy here at St. Benedict's Abbey. On December 7th I entered the Novitiate. I am doing well... as I anticipate making first vows and becoming a junior monk on December 8th - less than 5 months away!

Monthly update:

1. I actually remembered (with a little help from their godmother) my twin goddaughters birthdays on the day!! One more to go next week and I'm homefree for another year!!

2. We were the site of the LifeTeen Leadership Conference in late June/early July. There were about 450 first-class teens here (plus chaperones). They received some excellent talks and seemed to enjoy themselves very much. It was also a lift to many of the monks - seeing the vibrant faith of these youngsters!

3. A couple of visitors over the past month - Fr. Jack Riley (former classmate from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philly) spent a night as he passed through on his way to join the staff at the Augustine Institute in Denver (an excellent Catholic grad school!) and Julie & Greg Alexander (of Marriage Works in Christ fame) made their 2nd stopover and shared lunch with the monks (afterward we got a little time together before they had to move on toward their home in San Antonio).

4. Speaking of my alma mater in Philly, a classmate of mine, Fr. Shaun Mahoney, was recently named rector of that venerable institution! That was fantastic news - to me, if not to him! Please pray for him in this most important assignment!

5. We celebrated the Feast of St. Benedict last Sunday (July 11th) with some extra festivities - meaning "I ate more food than I needed"!

6. This weekend is the annual Amelia Earhart Festival in Atchison (her hometown). I have heard that our small town of 10,000 will balloon to about 50,000 for the festivities. The fireworks show on Friday night is one of the highlights. I hear that we watch it from on top of one of our buildings and I look forward to seeing it.

7. And finally, mom is holding steady. I talk to her regularly and look forward to seeing her when I get my home visit in December.

That is about it from here. Keep me in your prayers and be assured of mine for you!!

God bless,

Monday, June 21, 2010

Passing of Brother Martin

Just a short note to say that our oldest monk passed away Sunday morning at about 2:30 AM. His name was Br. Martin Burkhard. He turned 94 years old less than a month ago and was a very kind hearted man. Please pray for the repose of his soul and all who will miss him (here and elsewhere).

God bless,

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Well, I have been here at St. Benedict's Abbey for over 10 months now and passed the 1/2 point of the Novitiate on June 8th!

Some things which have happened since my last update (in late April):

1. Thanks for the prayers for my mom. As I stated in my previous post, her heart stent operation was a great success, but her overall mental health (dementia) and physical health (not very active and doesn't feel like doing a lot) are still not good. So, please keep the prayers coming.

2. On Saturday, June 5th, one of our brothers (Fr. Jeremy Heppler) was ordained a priest at our monastic church! His first Mass of Thanksgiving followed the next day (on the feast of Corpus Christi). They were very nice celebrations for a great occasion!!

3. We had our annual monastic outing to a Royals game on Tuesday, June 1st. Every Tuesday home game at Kaufmann Stadium is "T-shirt Tuesday" and the first 20,000 fans get a free t-shirt. Ours was one commemorating the 1985 World Series Champion Royals! Of course, I applied for a credit card and got a free Royals hat also!

4. Six of us monks played in a golf tournament (scramble) that benefitted our High School (Maur Hill-Mount Academy) on Friday, May 7th. We actually did the best the monastery team has ever done - we finished at par!! Which is still really bad for a 6-man scramble, but we had a great time (partly because they had great Italian Sausage through out the course!!!). To show you how bad our team was, we used numerous shots of mine (it was my 4th time playing golf as a priest [3 of them in tournaments like this one] - which is over a 19 year span)!!

5. I continue to work on a couple of Bible Studies - one from the Augustine Institute on the literature of St. John (Gospel and Revelation so far) and one called the Great Adventure (which covers the 14 historical books of the Bible in an overview of Salvation History). Both are excellent and I would highly recommend them.

6. Fr. David Nix was ordained on May 15th for the Archdiocese of Denver. He was a FOCUS missionary for me when I was in Troy. We have kept in touch over the years and I was blessed to go to his diaconate ordination last September in Denver. He came by here to visit about a week after his priestly ordination. It was great to see him again.

7. Benedictine College broke ground for a fantastic new Academic Building on June 11th. You can check it out on their web site: We have a GREAT college and one of my parishioners from Montgomery, Zak Francis, is going to be starting his freshman year in the fall. He and his dad (Chris) came for an orientation program June 11-12. It was good to see them and I look forward to their whole family coming when Zak enters in August!

8. A couple of priest-friends of mine celebrated jubilee anniversaries recently. Fr. Francis Lynch, CM (pastor of St. Vincent de Paul parish in Tallassee) celebrated his 60th anniversary as a priest on June 3rd! And Fr. Francis Butler, SSJ (now in Church Pointe, Louisiana) celebrated 25 years on May 25! Congrats to them both!!

9. And my home diocese of Mobile had 4 ordinations to the priesthood last weekend!! That is very good news after a 6 year drought! Now Fr. Driscoll is no longer the "baby priest" of the Archdiocese!!

10. In the clergy changes for the Archdiocese of Mobile, my cousin, Fr. Den Irwin, was assigned to my former parish (St. Martin of Tours) in Troy. It will be a great fit and I look forward to hearing some of the good stories that will come from his ministry there. And Auburn got a much needed 2nd priest (Fr. James Morrison), for which I am thankful.

11. We had our annual monastic retreat from June 7-10. It was very nice and we ended with a cookout at one of the parishes we founded 127 years ago, which we are about to give over to the Archdiocese of Kansas City, KS as one of our priests retires (who is 82 years old!).

I guess a few more things happened over the past month and a half. I will try to update more frequently in the future.

Thanks for the prayers and I look forward to seeing a lot of you during my home visit in December!!

God bless,


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Quick update on my mother...

The operation yesterday (Wed, June 2nd) was very successful. They put in 2 stents. My brother saw the before and after pictures and said it was "horrible" before and very good/clear with the stents. I hope that this new blood flow will be a lift to mom's body and spirit.

Thanks for all the prayers!

God bless,

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Update and Prayer Request...

I was recently granted permission to visit my sick mother (Dottie Dean) by Abbot Barnabas. I went home on Monday (May 31) and returned to Kansas the next day, spending approximately 24 hours in Montgomery. (I only told my family that I was coming as I did not want this to turn into a social trip where I tried to see the many people I love in Montgomery.)

When I arrived on Monday, my mother she was short of breath, felt a pressing pain in her chest, was nauseous and a little dizzy. We called an ambulance and she was taken to a local hospital. After tests, it was determined that she should go to the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) Hospital (90 miles north of Montgomery). A specialist there had already committed to putting a stent into the clogged arteries going to her heart (the same procedure that a Montgomery cardiologist said that he would not chance). The doctor in Birmingham does these procedures frequently and seemed to think that there is no extraordinary danger in this case. Mom was taken by ambulance to UAB Hospital on Tuesday afternoon and the procedure is scheduled for today, Wednesday, June 2nd (it was originally scheduled for Monday, June 7th).

I was blessed to have much quality time with my mother on my short visit and I ask your continued prayers while I thank you for the many prayers already offered!

God bless,

Fr. Justin Damien

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Planting season...

Lest I forget, we have been doing a lot of planting recently. Tomatoes, corn, beans, tomatoes, okra, onions, tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, tomatoes, etc... Yep, lots of tomato plants - 231 planted so far, about 100 more to go... Last year we planted about 300 and (fortunately) we reaped what we sowed!! I learned to make salsa last year and am looking forward to the almost unlimited supply of tomatoes and peppers...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Monthly Update...

I will try to remember to post at least once a month (someone just got on me for not posting more often - but we do a lot of the same things day-to-day here).

Lot going on at our school - Benedictine College ( A new building was approved. It will be the signature building on campus. Check it out on the web site... and pray that the rest of the funds to come in to build it ($4.4 Million still needed!). It is going to be beautiful and have a great view of the river (as it will be on the bluff overlooking the Missouri River).

Holy Week was nice here at the Abbey. It was different not running around taking care of details and preparing for the beautiful liturgies of the Triduum (and being exhausted afterward!).

On Easter Monday, our monks went on an Emmaus walk to a local parish where we had a cook-out. Some monks rode in cars. I did not have the sense to do so and got a big blister to prove it!!

The Sunday after Easter, our Archbishop visited (Most Rev. Joseph Naumann of KC in Kansas) and celebrated our Mass where about 11 students received sacraments for the first time (varies ones receiving - full initiation (2), confirmation (5), first Communion and reception into the Church (4)). A very nice Mass and a feeling of completion to the Easter Vigil!

My niece (and goddaughter), Ann Marie Dean, was confirmed on my parent's anniversary (April 11). She took the confirmation name of Justin! I am very proud of her and edified at the choice of such a great saint's name, the same as I took at my entrance into the Novitiate.

I went to a softball and baseball game of our college. We won both of the ones I attended. I was tempted to grab a bat or a glove and go out on the field... but I wisely resisted.

Blood Drive yesterday at our college (yes, I reaching now)...

I am currently watching 2 Bible Study DVD series' (The Great Adventure - overview of the Bible timeline and a class from the Augustine Institute's class on the Gospel of John). Both are excellent.

Everything else is about the same - pray, work, study... Please keep me in your prayers!

God bless you all,
Fr. Justin Damien Dean

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Spring came in disguise to Kansas yesterday (March 20th at 12:33 PM). The night before we received about 4.5 inches of snow and some areas around us were forecasted to receive much more than that (though I don't know what they actually got)! So on the first day of Spring I shoveled snow for 3 hours. Fortunately, it should not last long as the forecasted highs for the next few days are: 39 (today, Sunday), 50 (tomorrow) and 57 on Tuesday. And hopefully, it will be the last snow of the year.

God bless,

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I'm back...

It's been more than a month since my last post because there is just not much to report! We have our regular routine - prayer, class/study and work (along with eating and sleeping, of course)... which is what we have been doing during these past 5 weeks.

I had a new experience yesterday. I've played golf maybe 15-20 times in my life. In golf you are supposed to replace/repair your divots (a divot being that chunk of ground that flies into the air after some shots in the fairway and the mark made by a ball landing on the green [I did not have to worry about them too often!]). Yesterday, we replaced the LARGE divots what were removed from our ground by the large machinery which pushed snow around on our property for the past 3 months. A unique and interesting experience for me!

Lent continues... 2 weeks from Holy Thursday and the beginning of the sacred Triduum (3 days - Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday)!! I hope that you had a spiritually profitable Lent. Not having parish duties (for the first time in 19 years) during this time has been a blessing, which I look forward to as Holy Week approaches!

God bless,

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Crazy weather...

You know that the weather has gone crazy (at least for a day) when Montgomery is colder (by only 1 degree) and getting more snow (2 inches to zero) than Atchison, Kansas!! Have fun with the white stuff, Montgomery!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn's visit

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Cardinal Archbishop of Vienna, visited us on Sunday, January 31, 2010. He offered the Mass, preached the homily, and gave a talk to a packed auditorium of students, faculty, newspaper reporters, etc. He was fantastic and his talks are on the BC website ( - under the iTunesU menu on the sidebar.


The main work that the other novices and myself are doing right now (along with the occasion shoveling of snow) is the renovation of some of the 3rd floor rooms, making them inhabitable for the future junior monks (of which, we 3 are hopefully progressing toward). We are painting them right now...

Vocation Guests

We have had about a half dozen vocation guests recently... please pray for them. And we have a couple of more guests scheduled for the next month. Please pray for all of their continued discernment!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A number of items...

Last Thursday (January 14) was a day where many things happened:

1. We had our first monastic death since I entered the monastery. Br. Robert Heiman passed away at 9:30 AM. He was a wonderful, hard working brother who has spent 52 of his 72 years in the monastery. The tolling of the bell (one ring for every year of his life) was chilling. ("Ask not for whom the bell tolls".)

2. The funeral of one of my dear parishioners from Queen of Mercy (Carl Bruton) took place the same morning (at 9:00 AM). Carl was sick and fought hard for many months, assisted by his loving family and friends, but finally was relieved of his earthly struggle by our merciful Lord.

3. My mother entered an assisted living facility that afternoon. Her memory is starting to fail and her health is declining. After a life of service to her family and others (such as at the "City of St. Jude"), she is now getting waited on and served by others. She likes her new surroundings and is blessed to have my brothers, sister-in-law and her grandchildren in the area and visiting often. I talk to her most days and am looking forward to seeing her when I get my home visit in December. Please keep her in your prayers...

4. On Thursday, January 14th, I hit the 5 month mark in the monastery. Not a huge mile marker in itself, but it was the Vegas over/under line on my stay in the monastery (set by a certain priest in Montgomery[who will remain nameless but his initials are FrDC!]). So the "over" win that bet!!

That's all for now... keep me in your prayers and be assured of mine for all of you!

God bless,

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Catching up...

Start down at the White Christmas post and work your way back up...

Another visitor...

God has blessed me with a number of visitors since I arrived here. A good priest friend (Fr. David Carucci) arrived on the afternoon of Tuesday, December 29th and left yesterday morning (Sat, Jan 2). He came at the right time because on January 1st we have our annual Italian Feast and he helped prepare our festive lunch by making his now-famous and wildly popular [at St. Benedict's] Italian Wedding Soup. He had a good time and everyone enjoyed his visit.

Away in a Monastery...

It was my FIRST Christmas away from home in my 48 years of celebrating this great feast of our faith! And I can't say that it was easy. I missed my family, especially my mom (who is not doing so well physically - please keep her in your prayers). But it was a growing experience also. (God is so good to me!) And thank God for video chat!!!

In a homily during the Christmas Season, one of the priests here quoted a sister whom he knows who said, "Home is where God is".

That help to put things in the proper perspective.

Best Gifts...

THANK YOU to all of you who have kept me in your prayers - those are the BEST gifts I got this Christmas!!

But I got one outstanding material gift also (from my wonderful mother - who prays for me also):

Thanks all!!!

I'm SCREAMING of a White Christmas (Season)...

On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day we got about 10 inches of snow... it has remained cold and added about 5 inches since. It is beautiful and for the most part enjoyable (since I don't have to drive in it)... but shoveling it is still not much fun!!