Sunday, August 11, 2013

On the Daily Manual Labor ... and Parties


Chapter 48 of Benedict's Rule begins "Idleness is the enemy of the soul.  Therefore the sisters should be occupied at certain times in manual labor, and again at fixed hours in sacred reading."  Gathering to share our manual labor has been a part of our life at the monastery since our founding in the late 1880's.  The tradition of this communal work has been referred to as parties in recent years.

While preparing for the Holiday Fair, Sister Francine gathered together sisters for the third annual noodle party!  Various sisters worked the dough, cut it into smooth noodles, separated those strands by hand to dry, and gathered up the prepared handiwork to be sold at the October fair.  The monastery dinning room was filled with alternating periods of lively laughter and chatter and reflective silence as the sisters shared this labor of their hands.

A much longer annual tradition is our monastery corn parties!  Our gardening sisters have been busy picking bushels and bushels of sweet corn for the monastery.  While the sisters eat a great deal right off the ear, we also freeze a few hundred pounds for eating during the winter.

 The corn must first be husked and washed clean of their silks.  Sister newly 'retired' school teacher and Sister wisdom figure volunteered to work their way through several piles of corn.  Willing to help the community with the labor of their hands.

Sister guest-mistress, massage therapist, and librarian
(left to right) cutting away in the kitchen.

The next day the ears were steamed and cooled throughout the day.  That evening sisters gathered again to cut corn away from the ears, weigh them in five pound pans, and wrap them them for the freezer.  Approximately 300 pounds have been prepared for our enjoyment throughout the winter months.

Sisters compliance-officer (left)
and accountant (right) offer
the work of their hands.

The 'party' comes from simply gathering together, to laugh and visit, to enjoy the support of our sisters while working on the needs of the monastery.  The 'party' is also the promise of a treat at the end of the work.  The corn party concluded with ice-cream or fruit bars to sweeten the deal.


No comments: