Baptism of Jesus
January 10, 2021
Susan Doubet, OSB, Benedictine Sisters of Erie, PA
During the winter it takes a person with a hardy disposition to spend time in one of our hermitages in the woods which adjoin our monastery grounds. You can’t drive a car out to them, your only choice is to either to carry what you need or use our very large sleds to transport your belongings. One year an Anglican vicar from a small village in England made a winter reservation and arrived for a month’s sabbatical. He trudged back to the monastery for Evening Praise and supper every night and, it seemed, all was going well.
Upon leaving he left a “Thank you” letter to the community. Here is an excerpt: “The stay at your place was at the right time for me. I had almost given up on the Anglican Church (or any Church) picking up my weekly church newspaper and seeing the swerve to fundamentalist thinking. But your community reminded me that it was important to stay—and to focus on what was important for the sake of those we serve. So thanks to you all. I have to say I have never stayed in a more hospitable religious house—so may your various ministries prosper.”
Certainly all of our Federation houses could be the recipient of such a letter. And, I think, the first two readings for this Sunday, the “beginning” of Jesus’ public ministry, give the reasons why. From Isaiah, “I set you as a light for the nations, to open the eyes of the blind, to bring prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.” From the Acts of the Apostles, “He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.”
Isn’t this the ministry we are all about, especially found in the hospitality ministries that so many Benedictine houses offer? As He did, so shall we.
Sister Susan Doubet is a member of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie and is currently a research assistant for Joan Chittister, OSB. She is a former subprioress, secondary teacher/administrator and has worked in numerous areas of communications for over 25 years. Sister Susan has been blogging since 2007 at Light through Stained Glass Windows.