The United Benedictines of Belgium meet every year with all the women Benedictine houses in Belgian being invited. This year the day of retreat was in a monastery, once in the countryside and now totally encircled by a city!! However, the monastery has preserved some quiet, open green space, gardens, pools, trees and all behind an imposing gate to a very busy city street. The garden and pools are gentle and restoring to the spirit, a hidden oasis in the city. The monastery church is impressive and majestic,  built in 1622, as my fellow American sister noted, only 2 years after the Pilgrims, our first settlers to America arrived in America in 1620! Our ancestors were eating turkey with the Indians in the wilderness while imposing architectural churches were being built in Europe. This fact lends a little perspective to the newcomer American nuns. Apparently, the father of one of the founding nuns of this monastery was the architect and the original plans hidden in a hayloft to avoid the Nazi destruction in WWII! In this lovely church is also a Mary statue, quite normal in a Catholic Church, but lo and behold Mary has a veil with a handmade lace edging…now that was enthralling to this American sister lace maker.

Little blessings from God — “Even the hairs on our head are numbered” — are everywhere in a day if only the mind (or at least my mind) is empty enough to notice them and be thankful.


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