"It seems strange to say, but what can help modern man find the answers to his own mystery and the mystery of him in whose image he is created, is silence, solitude -- in a word, the desert. Modern man needs these things more than the hermits of old." Catherine Doherty

Monday, January 27, 2014

So, 20 below zero and blizzard conditions, sweet!

On days like today, just walking across the driveway to get the tractor running can feel like Siberia!

So, if you ever wanted to explore the North Pole, in high winds, this is a great week to come here.

I'll save you some hot coffee, once I get feeling back in my fingers.

Deus Tecum

from The Mary Theotokos Center 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Is it really 20 below zero at noon today?!

Well we survived a wonderful white Christmas here at the monastery.

With Puppies

Yummy snacks on the knask table,

more puppies,

creative pastry treats,

more puppies, 

wonderful presents under the tree,

and maybe one more dog.

Once the pecan pie was gone and the wrappings cleaned up,

it was time for prayer and thanks for a year of blessings and mercy.

After a reasonable amount of time, the tired tree was returned to our woods.

Then it hit, the snow and the cold. Days with highs of 10 to 20 BELOW zero Fahrenheit,

A few ice storms that reminded us we were gonna be walking up the drive way for a while, a good half a mile stretch, but on ice so hang on to each other!

Most of the time the car was sitting sideways at the bottom of the driveway, but on ice, so it only took a little push to turn it around to face the road.

But for a few days, the road for 10 miles till town was more or less an ice skating rink/water park, only chains advised.

Then once the ice had a thaw and melt and some rain we hit the deep freeze temps again. but this time even colder. Back to hiking up the driveway with groceries.

In a break between the sleet and freezing rain we got the hay in for the goats.

The roles are working well, cumbersome to lift at 500 pounds but easy to roll!

The goats are enjoying their winter quarter in the renovated green house all with fresh hay.

But you know goats, as long as there is food and warmth, it's all good.

But when the food for that feeding runs out and it's time to head outside, it is a little different for them.

Outta the way, make a hole we're going' outside,..baaa.

Outta the way, make a hole we're goin' back inside!

Sub zero is hard on everybody...but not retreaters!

You may remember this retreater from Burlington who came last spring when the baby goats were born.

Sub zero temps wouldn't stop her from praying, reading and even taking her dog for walks in the frozen fields and woods.

It's good to have retreaters here all year praying and finding their way to God through Mary, especially ones like this kind and energetic woman who brings us baked  pepperoni bread!

So retreats, snow, ice, cold, prayers and blessings all the things that make life worth living. Today it looks like a blizzard is coming in,.we're all getting over some sort of flu, but chores to do, and the Chapel calls. Where ever you are we hope you too find your attitude of gratitude and that God's graces surround you.

Deus Tecum


The Mary Theotokos Center

Happy New Year,

John Walker

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Off the radar lately...

Hello everyone,

Sorry to have not made a blog entry for a while. This holiday season my mother died suddenly and I have been struggling with it. 

So right around the time I was planning to post Christmas pics, and New Years Eve celebrations and other events here,..I began to deal with other emotions.

My Mother enjoyed her visits here. She said she felt closer to God here and that the air smelled fresh like her native Norway. She enjoyed the farm animals, especially her adopted baby goat Fawn, the hills and wild flowers. Many was the time she would sit on the deck in the sun and listened to the brook babble. 

We were blessed to have such times together in her last years and even more blessed to learn to pray together and share the beginning of her relationship with Mary, the mother of God.

We all miss her 

and hope to be back on track soon.

Thanks for your understanding and patience.

John Walker
The Mary Theotokos Retreat Center