It feels like Pentecost. There are delegates here from Togo, from Australia, from France, from Korea, from Holland, Benin, Germany the Philipines, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Vietnam, Spain, Senegal, Hungary, Italy, England, the US, Austria, India, Nigeria, and Hungary…and those are just the ones I have talked to so far…
…and all are in one kind of language or terminology or another, eager to talk about their faith, to tell their stories. All so articulate, so real, so humble and genuine. This place, a small Salesian conference center in the western suburbs of Rome, is very alive.
In the assembly meetings I feel like a delegate to the UN, listening to interpreters of the non-English speakers on headphones as they tell of their own experiences of the grace of God within the Benedictine family of Christians.
Our liturgical life is much less high-tech and very intense with Lauds, Vespers, Compline and daily Eucharistic celebration. There are no headphones in church, but the familiar liturgical texts transcend language as we pray them together. (Praying in French is anything but natural or easy for me, but somehow it feels healthy to struggle through it.) A number of us come together for centering prayer each morning and evening.
Those are my beginning impressions. I invite you to go the the Congress website for full details of our gathering, for photos and video. Just click the following http://www.benedictine-oblates.org/2009
I am humbled and honored to be here. I pray the blessing of the Holy Spirit on all the Sisters and Oblates of St. Mary Monastery who helped make it possible for me to be here.