7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 86)

June 25, 2010 | 35 comments

— 1 —

Queen of Angels Monastery

We’re here! After about eight hours of travel we arrived in beautiful of Mt. Angel, Oregon for our monastery vacation. Mt. Angel is a very German town, with Bavarian architecture and names of streets and restaurants in German. Evidently up until recently most of the people spoke German. Also, it’s so weird to be somewhere where you need to wear a jacket in the evenings and early mornings — very different from our 98-degree highs and 72-degree lows in Texas.

— 2 —

Prayer garden at the Shalom House

Right now we’re staying at the Shalom House of the Queen of Angels Monastery of the Benedictine sisters. Our plan was to stay at Mt. Angel Abbey the whole time, but they were booked for the first two days we’d be here, so we ended up here at Shalom. I’m so glad it worked out that way, because we love it here.

The sisters run a nursing home, food bank, homeless shelter, and of course the retreat house. My husband had a nice conversation with a 95-year-old nun who’s been here for more than 70 years. She said that originally they’d planned for people to stay at the homeless shelter no more than a few weeks, but they wouldn’t make people leave if they weren’t ready, so now they often have folks there for months. My husband asked her some question about how they were going to handle some aspect of the shelter, and she replied that it was still too new to know, saying, “We’re not sure yet — we only started it in 1988.”

— 3 —

Living room at the Shalom House

At the Shalom house there are private rooms, but everyone shares a common living room, and common men and women’s bathrooms. As The Most Introverted Person in the World, I was a bit apprehensive when I first saw that setup, but I’ve found it to be surprisingly comforting to be so connected to other guests. It feels like we’re all one big family. Most of the other guests are iconographers who are here for a seminar, so it’s been fascinating to chat with them.

— 4 —

I had one of those moment where I forgot that social awkwardness is one of my charisms when I thought I might try to make conversation with the iconographers in Spanish; they all speak some English, but most are originally from Mexico. Wouldn’t it be nice to try to chat with them in their native tongue rather than having them speak English? I thought (my guardian angel shouting, “No! Don’t do it!” over my shoulder, as he does any time I try to interact with other humans.) Long story short, there was a bit of an awkward moment after I told them that I have a relative who is a monkey at Mt. Angel Abbey (confusing monje, monk, for mono, monkey).

— 5 —

When we booked this trip we signed up for the plans
at both Queen of Angels and Mt. Angel Abbey where you get both lodging and meals, eaten in common with the nuns/monks and other guests. When we first arrived, I looked at the schedule and thought we’d made a terrible mistake. I didn’t like the idea of having to be somewhere at a certain time if I wanted to eat, and actually thought about canceling the meal plan. We ended up trying it, and it’s amazing how much it transforms your whole day to live according to the monastery schedule. I’ll write more about it later, but suffice it to say that it’s already been a powerful experience.

— 6 —

I printed out your prayer requests — all 50 pages of them — and look forward to going into the chapel to pray for you! I haven’t had a chance to do that yet, but I did have a rough day of travel to get here, and I offered up my suffering for all the intentions on that list. (Also, I just now saw that there are some new requests that recently came in. I’ll include those too!)

— 7 —

This morning I woke to the bells ringing across the monastery grounds, calling us to prayer. We got ready and headed over to the chapel, where the sisters chanted Psalms for about thirty minutes, then we had Mass, then everyone ate breakfast together. I knew it was time for lunch when the bells started ringing again. It makes me wish I lived close to a monastery: even if I couldn’t join them for prayer every day, there’s something so comforting to have the movements of the day announced by the music of bells.

This trip has already been an amazing experience, and we’ve only been here about 24 hours. I’m so grateful to be here!


Below is a Mr. Linky list if you’d like to add a link to your own 7 Quick Takes post. (1) Make sure the link you submit is to the URL of your post and not your main blog URL. (2) Include a link back here.

I look forward to reading your posts!

1. Kristen @ St Monica’s Bridge
2. Angie @ Many Little Blessings
3. Rachel
4. Brianna @ Just Showing Up
5. Leah @ Unequally Yoked
6. Kathryn (Bookworm)
7. Erin @ Seven Little Australians Plus One
8. NCSue
9. DebbieQ @ stop her she’s knitting
10. Stephany @ Stephany Writes
11. Elizabeth Mahlou
12. K’s Xtreme makeover edition@so much to say
13. Mary @ Hope Echoes
14. Michelle @ Musings of a Catholic Lady
15. Jill @ Clearest Glimpse
16. Tami @ The Next Step
17. Colleen
18. Judy @ A Thankful Woman’s Book of Blessings
19. Margaret in Minnesota
20. Sarah – The Baby Fever Edition
21. Kim @ Love Letter to my Kids
22. Happy Geek
23. That Married Couple – Does Anyone Actually…
24. Simcha Fisher
25. Transformed Hearts
26. Lady Caitie in the Pretty City
27. Karen @ Imitation of Mary
28. Missus Wookie @ her wanderings
29. Amanda
30. Sarah @ Passing for Normal
31. Milehiama @ Mama Says
32. Kirsten
33. ~liz@smithical
34. annies home
35. Mary Smith
36. Barbara C.@Box of Chocolates
37. Kim@ talklesssaymore
38. Christine the Soccer Mom
39. Barb @ My Daily Round
40. Matching Moonheads
41. Megan
42. Tina @My Pricless Fishers
43. Kim@Starry Sky Ranch
44. a broader mark
45. Sarah Reinhard @ SnoringScholar.com
46. Diane
47. Young Mom
48. DarwinCatholic
49. Patty
50. Lerin @ Beautiful Chaos
51. Bonnie@Newlywed
52. Joe @ Defend Us in Battle
53. Jordana @ Curmudgeonry
54. JoAnna @ A Star of Hope
55. Jaime @ UndertheFigTree
56. Catherine@Adventures In Domesticity
57. Kam @ Nap Wars
58. Beth @ Seeds of My Faith
59. Gill – Life of a Photographer
60. Cassidy @ Praying Through Chaos
61. Mary @ A Simple Twist of Faith
62. Blair’s Blessings
63. Brandi @ Take These Chances
64. KC
65. Jenny@Lest I Forget
66. Vee @ Paper Dali
67. Christian H
68. Jamie @ A Rough Diamond
69. Dorian Speed @ Scrutinies
70. Ashley
71. Therese: Aussie Coffee Shop
72. The Bipolar Beauty Queen

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  1. Kristen @ St Monica's Bridge

    Okay Jen, I am very jealous! I wish I were there. I am offering up my suffering in the heat for the intentions of those you are praying for. It looks beautiful, it sounds–no pun intended– heavenly. I think it is so wonderful that you would use your vacation to help others through prayer. I am so grateful for that!

  2. Angie @ Many Little Blessings

    Sounds like you're having a wonderful time, apart from the monk/monkey issue. 😉

    I have sometimes thought that it would be nice to live very close to my parish, as I would love to hear the church bells at various times throughout the day.

  3. Rachel Gray

    I love visiting monasteries; they make me wish I could stay forever. One day I think I will. 🙂

  4. Muttering Mother

    This might be a silly question, and I say it out of mere curiosity – how are the kids fitting into all this?

    I can't believe you printed off that whole encyclopedia-full of prayers, what a gift you are.

    Enjoy your special time.

  5. Kathleen@so much to say, so little time

    #4–hilarious! This whole experience sounds wonderful. Enjoy it!

  6. Ann

    Looks beautiful…my family is from Oregon, and my Grandma lived at Providence Benedictine before she passed away last Sept. at 92. My brother also studied at Mt. Angel. I hope you have a wonderful time, your enthusiasm is great! (On a side not, there's got to be a better way to describe your nerves! thanks, Ann)

  7. Owner of Homeschool Faith and Family Life Website

    I am surprised beyond belief that you are an Introvert Jennifer! WOW!
    Your writing emanates such confidence, assertiveness, outpouring of heart and soul…I just never would have guessed!

    I've been wondering why we don't awaken to those lovely bells and prayer at home…my daughter just come back from retreat where she was awakened by bells and a beautiful exchange of prayer with the person ringing it…and I thought, "Now why don't SPOUSES wake up like that each day?"

    Your monkey blunder cracked me up.
    My poor dh experienced something similar when, on a particularly humid day in the field, he said to his men (who are Mexican) "I'm so hot. Yes? You too? I am really hot." Trouble is, he tried to do that in Spanish; and apparently there are TWO versions of the word "hot"…one refers to temperature, which, unfortunately is not the one my dh chose…the other refers to a colloquial term for "sexy".
    Yep…you guessed it…that's the one he used; which explains the very STRANGE looks he got from the guys that day! Thanks for Quick Takes!

  8. scmom (Barbara)

    I recently saw the film The Nun's Story. To drop everything at the sound of the bells was one of the inner conflicts the sister had, ultimately resulting in her leaving the convent. As I was watching, I thought that would be one thing I would enjoy, but then again, I have a stubborn streak. 😉

  9. Michelle

    It sounds like you're having a very interesting and restful time. Good for you!

  10. Kim

    Enjoy the Abbey! Sounds heavenly!

  11. Scarlett

    Re: #7 When I was a junior in college, I lived off campus, but close enough that I could hear the bells from the clock tower, which rang every 15 minutes. My watch broke, and in the several weeks before I got around to getting it fixed, I told time, and got to class on time, by the chiming of the bells. I came to really love; it made me feel like I was living in a different time, when everyone would have been living by the same schedule and marking the passing of the day together. (I also had the clocks on my cellphone and my computer, which were convenient, but it got the point where I avoided looking at them because I preferred to just pay attention to the bells.)

    I also, when I was abroad later that year, lived down the block from a Catholic church. It's bells didn't ring quite so regularly, but I loved that I lived close enough that on Sunday mornings, I could just listen for the bells to ring at 12pm, and leave the house then, and make it to 12 o'clock Mass exactly on time!

  12. simchafisher

    "Extrovert Tourette's Moment" — ha! I hope your time continues to be so rich and peaceful. I love the part about the "it's too soon to say yet." Hm, hoom, as Mark Shea would say.

  13. Missus Wookie

    We have bells here but sadly can't hear them over traffic. I enjoy hearing them when I can – if only as it reminds me that things must be quiet!

    Monasteries and convents usually have such gorgeous gardens I love the combination of architecture and foliage/flowers.

  14. Sarah Boyle Webber

    Blessings on your trip! I am flying to California from NJ next Saturday and while I am so looking forward to the trip and seeing my family celebrate my brother's wedding, I hate to fly almost as much as you.

  15. Mary

    Sounds wonderful! I've never done that, I will have to put it on my list.

  16. shopannies

    sounds like a wonderful trip

  17. Christine the Soccer Mom

    Have a wonderful week, Jen. Glad you are getting away like this. 🙂

  18. Tina Fisher

    Can't wait to see/hear more about your journey at Mt Angel Abbey!

  19. abroadermark

    Sounds wonderful!

  20. Diane

    I giggled over the part about calling your uncle a monkey … that is definitely the sort of thing I would do. (And it would likely happen to me in English. I get so nervous talking to strangers that I start spouting nonsense.)

    It looks absolutely gorgeous. I hope you enjoy your time there!

  21. Young Mom

    It sounds amazing! Hope you enjoy your time away.

  22. Patty

    Thank you so much for sharing a glimpse of your visit to the monastery. Have a blessed time. I have learned so much from your blog. I didn't know social awkwardness was a charism! God bless you.

  23. Lerin

    I hope you enjoy your retreat!!

  24. Anonymous

    Being myself an Spaniard I loved the monkey thing -I can imagine you trying to speak Spanish. Your writings really brighten my days. Can't wait to read your book.

  25. JoAnna

    Sounds wonderful. Enjoy the rest of your stay.

  26. Beth

    I'm really getting a kick out hearing about your stay at the Benedictine Abbey. I used to attend a Benedictine university which was first and foremost an Abbey. Monks taught many of the classes, the bells marked our days as students, and the community atmosphere which Benedictines are well-known for valuing extended out far into the student body and beyond. I can only wish I'd gone there as an undergrad.

  27. Mary @ A Simple Twist of Faith

    Jen, this is my first volume of "7 Quick Takes Friday" hosted by you!

  28. unselko

    Jen, I attended college at Mt. Angel, run by the Benedictine Sisters. Since there are some old nuns there, you might ask them about that time. I think I graduated in '64, and the college didn't last too long after that, but that's a very long story.

    My name at that time was Judy Stearn, if anyone asks.

    I received an excellent education from those dedicated women, and we even had some classes in philosophy from some of the monks. It was a wonderful experience, and as a city girl I particularly enjoyed being out in the country. Mt. Angel was very small at that time, surrounded by farms in every direction.

    Mt. Angel was not very German at the time–I believe that's come about for tourism, as they started an Oktoberfest maybe sometime in the '70's. It was just a pretty ordinary small town, with the exception of the monastery, the convent, and the lovely parish church.

    I could go on and on, but I think that gives you a little history. Have a wonderful time, and please pray for the conversion of my son John.

  29. Vee

    Thank you for sharing those beautiful pictures …

    And I was laughing hard over the monk/monkey translation in Spanish. It reminded me of when my husband (then boyfriend) wanted to impress me with his Spanish (we're an Argentine family). He kept telling me I had beautiful bears. I could not stop laughing … but did finally enough to say, "OJOS, not OSOS." It was cuter than all get out, though. ; )

    Thanks for praying for everyone. I forget to get on the list. But I'll put you on mine!

  30. Roxane B. Salonen

    Jen, you are so bringing me back to my two weeks of summertime heaven at St. Benedict's Monastery in Collegeville, MN. I'll be going there this year, but just to visit for a few days, not the usual writing retreat. Still, I will enjoy every moment of it. I, too, have taken part in monastery life while there and it's just lovely. So glad you are experiencing this!

  31. Jamie

    What a lovely vacation you must be having. I am certain that this is one trip you will return from feeling refreshed and uplifted. I mean, compare it to a week at the beach with 4 kids!

    I grew up one block down from the church. I loved hearing the bells on the hour. It never bothered me one bit. 🙂

  32. Dorian Speed

    Can I steal "Extrovert Tourette's"? That could be a life-changing diagnosis for me.

  33. Ashley

    Just posted my 1st Quick Takes post.

  34. starrball

    Wow, what a wonderful thing to be able to share with your husband. At present my hubby doesn't share my faith.

  35. BESSIE35Ellis

    I think that to get the personal loans from banks you should have a firm motivation. But, once I have received a collateral loan, just because I wanted to buy a car.


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