What a week this has been!

We had our last worship services, our last seminar and wine and cheese after party,

and now the packing.

Standing: Hilda, Brendan, Jessica, Tonya. Seated: Sarah, Shirley, Anita

Standing: Hilda, Brendan, Jessica, Tonya. Seated: Sarah, Shirley, Anita

This afternoon, in zero degree temperatures, my camera said good-bye to my dear cottage by the lake.

Apartment #7 facing Stumpf Lake.

Apartment #7 facing Stumpf Lake.

Last night we celebrated Christmas lavishly.

Each scholar contributed the three elements of vocation expressed individually:

  • joy
  • talents and gifts
  • service to others

Artists painted, musicians sang and played, organizers instructed;

we each took a turn speaking, leading, praying, blessing.

Welcome speech. Note the banner with hand calligraphy.

Welcome speech. Note the banner designed by scholar Lynn. She also did hand calligraphy place cards. Photo: Carla Durand

Anita and Sarah lead us in Christmas carols.

Anita and Sarah lead us in Christmas carols.

Carla and Viv, staff members who know how to make work fun.

Carla and Viv, staff members who know how to make work fun. Photo: Anita Amstutz

Pondering: Collegeville Institute Director Don Ottenhoff and Professor Kathleen Cahalan, Saint John’s University.

Brothers Aaron and Wilfred -- full participants in the life of the Institute.

Brothers Aaron and Wilfred — full participants in the life of the Institute.

Hilda and Sister Ann Marie share in the laughter.

Hilda and Sister Ann Marie share in the laughter. Photo: Anita Amstutz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benedictine hospitality is famous for a reason, and it is infectious.

We who came as strangers are leaving as beloved friends.

Have we accomplished all that we hoped?

 I can only speak for myself.

I wrote and published many essays this semester and have a few more in the hopper.

I interviewed monks and nuns.

I explored Central Minnesota and took two trips to the Twin Cities.

However,

I’m packing up a lot of books I did not read.

And I have a list of blog post topics I haven’t gotten to. For example:

Modernist architecture designed by Marcel Breuer. How it influences the lived experience of this campus.

The story of how Saint John’s University birthed Minnesota Public Radio which also helped launch NPR itself and outstanding shows like The Prairie Home Companion and On Being.

A feature on Father Killian McDonnell, age 95, poet, and founder of the Collegeville Institute

Father Killian looking quite like his portrait on the wall.

Father Killian looking quite like his portrait on the wall.

Ha! The joke’s on me.

I didn’t have to write those essays.

If you click on the links above, you’ll find perfectly good stories already written.

Turns out, I don’t have to do everything I can think of!

That might be a good enough lesson for this Christmas season.

Can you let go of what remains undone in your life right now? Are you undergoing any bittersweet partings of your own?

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