Of Nuns and Nibblers
11/December/2007 Filed in: Jottings
Several people have made enquiries about joining the community during the past year, but when one suggests that a little more is required than simply saying "I have a vocation", there is a remarkable sifting and shifting. As Benedict makes clear in chapter 58, which we begin reading today, both candidate and community need to be open to the Holy Spirit, who tends to whisper rather than shout. Communities have to be ready to be changed by those who join them, but newcomers also need to be prepared to accept some, at least, of what they find with faith. (This is code for saying a novitiate is not all rapture and rejoicing!) Anyone joining a community like ours will need to have a pioneering spirit. We cannot offer the grand buildings and settled routines of longer-established communities, but we are fortunate in having a long monastic tradition to look back on and considerable fervour and enthusiasm for what we are about. I think one of the joys of monastic life here at Hendred is that there are fewer institutional compromises — probably because we have fewer possessions to worry about. But that will not appeal to everyone.