Our visit to the Benedictine Ascension Priory in Jerome Idaho turned into an amazing adventure. Beginning with permission given for brother Mark to lead us in Ave Maria, a Dance of Universal Peace, while circling around the chapel altar during which time the sun came out for the first time in two days, we could all feel the solemn nature of the occasion, brother-in-law John’s decision to commemorate the first anniversary of his beloved wife Mary’s death.
Here’s the pic we chose of her, Mary in a lighthearted moment:
In direct contrast to Mary’s Prayer, and her shaky handwriting, hidden evidence of the suffering she endured as a repeated cancer survivor for 40 years. (For more on Mary, see The Grieving Time).
The headline of the program read:
The ceremony included readings from each of her six sibs present, a some of Mary’s favorites, including poems of Rumi, Mary Oliver and Biblical verses, then the magical Ave Marie dance in sunlight, and ending with Father Boniface’s blessing for the Kreilkamp family.
Then we traipsed outside, still in sunlight, to check out the new bench and tree donated to the Priory in Mary’s name. Here’s the tree, a honey locust —
and here’s husband John on Mary’s new bench.
Then we loaded the bench, first with the sibs present, plus John —
— next with all the in-laws, too, surrounding Father Boniface, our gracious host for the occasion.
Nearby, I noticed a plaque dedicated to Fr. Simeon, dad’s mentor for many years. (I credit him for helping Dad to reconcile with me, his theologically errant oldest child, after nearly three decades).
Afterwards. Fr. Boniface led us on a brief tour of the Priory, focusing especially on the library, which several of us had asked to see. That visit was instructive. Here are these monks, occupying a serene oasis of trees and beauty out in the wilds of southern industrial agricultural Idaho —
— with a sacred treasury of over 20,000 volumes.
I took a few pics. Delighted to see mystic Jesuit Teilhard de Chardin’s works shelved alongside the Summa Theologica, magnum opus of St. Thomas Aquinas . . .
Buddhist and Hindu —
Islamic . . .
The yellow jacket of a familiar version of the I Ching jumped out at me, along with a Sufi and Celtic volumes.
Clearly this monastery is truly catholic, i.e., universal, in its embrace of all the world’s religions. Fr. Boniface tells us the library itself is run by Fr. Hugh, who is also a lover of Hildegard! Aha! brother-in-law John took down Fr. Hugh’s contact info. Yet another clue in the mystery play unfolding prior to the upcoming Hildegard Festival in Seattle, early next year.
For dinner (the only dinner with all twelve of us present; Kris and Matt had to start driving back to Seattle at 3 a.m. this morning) —
we relished sister Paula’s famous gumbo,
plus sister Kathy’s famous salad,
and for dessert Kathy’s mouth-watering almond polenta cake with creme fraiche and kiwi.
After dinner, I gave my powerpoint presentation for the Evolution of Green Acres Village, and after we retired, a tremendous storm stirred up, flashing lightning and crashing thunder at least twenty times into our rooms, plus: two bull elk, standing only feet from this house, bugled their love all night long.
So that was how our family, in concert with wild nature, celebrated this weekend’s fiery full moon.