Monastics, sisters and brothers, are under the vow of obedience which always lends a bit of uncertainty and adventure to life. When asked by your superior or Prioress to move to another place, to go to another job, the required answer is “Yes” as you have long ago agreed to do. “Be it unto me according to thy word,” is the blessed response of Mary at this season, when asked for her obedience to an incredible possibility. Feelings, however, do not always go along with the immediate “Yes,” but they do follow along if we are willing to allow God’s grace. So it was…when my Prioress from America called one surprising day and asked me to go to our community house in Italy. I was instructed to check and ask my Prioress at the Beguinnage if that would be all right for 6 weeks. I am reminded of the Holy Trinity icon where Rublev traditionally depicts the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, each nodding in honor deferring to one another. I am watching this honoring in 21st century action between Prioresses. It was agreed and off I flew to Italy for 6 weeks and the celebration of Christmas and Epiphany. A mixture of sadness to not spend Christmas with my Beguinnage sisters and joy to see and spend time with sisters from my home convent in America washed over me as I flew over the snow covered Alps to warm and sunny Italy. The sun peeks out and drops behind the Tuscan foothills each day. The weather through Christmas was delightfully mild as I learned to mount the steep cobblestones (the cobblestones in North Flanders are very flat!) of the old city from a market trip in the new city below, changing my gait accordingly and adjusting to yet another new language. My Italian Christmas adventure!