01 September 2009

Inside the cloister

Yesterday our homeschool group was allowed a tour of the nearby Carmelite hermits' cloister. We had beautiful weather and a very enjoyable time, spending a few minutes inside the tranquil walls and learning about the Carmelite way of life.

We had a fairly large group of almost 70 people, the majority of them children.

Even though I had been attending Mass at the monastery (owned by the nuns, who have a cloister adjacent to the hermits) since I was a child, and both my parents were third-order Carmelites, I still learned a few things, such as there is a difference between a monk and a hermit -- the terms are not interchangeable. Unfortunately, when I was setting up the tour and was excited that the group may be able to see the hermits' beautiful private chapel, the size of our group kept us out of the main building.

We were split into two groups to make things more manageable for Father and Brother, who generously shared their time with us, undoubtedly speaking more in the 90 minutes we were with them then they do all week. It reinforced for me that this way of life is definitely a calling, a special grace from God.

Our tour ended outside their new gift shop (shown in the photo) and then our group was on our way to the park for a picnic lunch and some play.


Cathy_of_Alex said...

Swissy: You were truly blessed to be able to be there. What a great day!

swissmiss said...

I try to impress that idea on my kids, that not everyone gets to interact with the hermits like we do! Many people don't even know the Carmelites are here in the Twin Cities.

Some of the moms, including myself, could really appreciate a day or two in the solitude and silence of a cloister :)

Ray from MN said...

Is this out at Demontreville?

I gotta do a retreat out there one of these weekends.

swissmiss said...

It is in DeMontreville, but the ones doing the silent retreats are the Jesuits. They are on the same grounds. You pass the Jesuit retreat house as you come in on your way up the hill to the Carmelite monasteries.