Saturday, August 9, 2014

This Week in Madonna House: August 2-8

This week in Madonna House is a week full of ‘last weeks’. It is the last week of Cana Colony, our six-week family summer camp-retreat. It is also the last week of our priests’ involvement in the four-week Nazareth summer camp. It is the last week of the summer program, our five-week presentation to our guests of a vision of Gospel life and love.

This week’s theme for that program has been “In His Presence: Becoming a Prayer,” and had many wonderful presentations, not least among them by Fr. Pat McNulty giving a passionate teaching/testimony about his own journey as a poustinik into the heart of prayer. Several of the guests afterwards were stunned to learn that Fr. Pat is in his mid-80s—he has an undiminished vigor and fire in his manner of teaching and preaching that is remarkable at any age, but even more so at his.

Fr. Pat, as he has written about in our newspaper Restoration, has had some pretty serious health issues in the past year, so we are always deeply grateful at his continued presence among us and his ability to share with us his hard-won wisdom about the spiritual life.

Another feature of our summer program was a music night last Sunday, where anyone could get up and perform, sacred or secular, classical or modern, instrumental or vocal. I’m afraid I wasn’t able to attend this one, as I had just gotten back from that wedding in the States I mentioned last week, so I can’t tell you too much about it. We do this a few times a year, at least for the last few years, and it’s always a great wonderment how many really talented people are hanging out at MH at any given time.

The summer program wraps up this evening with one final Saturday Seminar with the directors general. This is the open forum Q & A where our guests can ask just about anything they want to ask about God, the Church, the spiritual life, Madonna House of the three directors of the community, Fr. David May, Susanne Stubbs, and Mark Schlingerman. This has been an especially rich and fruitful happening this summer, since our guests have been so engaged and thoughtful and open in their encounter with us.

Otherwise, the harvest is pouring in from the farm, with many of the early crops coming in—sweet peas, green beans, zucchini, lettuce and spinach. We got a large donation of peaches, and the food processors at the farm are in high gear now preserving all this harvest for the winter months—canning, freezing, and so forth.

The guests continue to pour in, and the dorms remain full. On a personal note, someone arrived this week who had first heard about MH through this blog written by this priest who writes every week about the community, and he thought he would check it out… anyhow, nice to know that my life has not been in vain…

Finally (and also on a somewhat personal note), the local Catholic college, Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy, is hosting a study institute for teachers, the Wojtyla Institute, which they have organized yearly for the past four years. This year myself and one of our women are both among the presenters, talking on the general theme of the restoration of Christian culture in education. I will be talking this morning on the need for silence in human formation; she will be talking about MH’s experience in Winslow Arizona with the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. There are about 30 attendees at this conference; to my great surprise, they were each given a copy of my book I-Choice: Staying Human in a Digital Age, as part of their basic registration package.

Well, as I always say, I know there’s been a lot more going on in MH than what I’ve written here, but that’s the stuff I’m aware of. It continues to be a rich, full, and really joyful time here (the beautiful summer days we’re having help with that!), and we are all counting our blessings with much gratitude. 

At the same time, know that we are all holding the world up to God in prayer these days with great seriousness, as there is so much happening that can only be resolved by prayer. And you are all in my prayers, too. God bless you.