Monasteries of the Heart

Old Monk's Journal

Journal Entry 158

It was the last session of the annual Reader’s Retreat with Joan Chittister and she called on one of the women to read aloud from the book we were discussing. The woman opened her mouth to read but instead began to weep. Sister Joan waited. And waited. But the woman continued a cry. After a few minutes Sister Joan kindly prodded, “I feel there is something important you could tell the rest of the group. Give it a try.” Through chocked sobs the woman said, “Awakening…I am awakening.”

Journal Entry 157

Old Monk still has it. Growing up I was the one in the neighborhood that beat up bullies and protected all the little kids. So naturally that’s how the stories were told back to me: Mary Lou is the protector. Kind of a fearless one, too. I would go after any boy, no matter his size, fists swinging. And I usually won.

The trouble is that I’m now in my 70s and still have the mindset of that 10-year-old girl. So much for years of lectio and self-reflection!!! I still think I can walk up to any guy and deck him if he’s doing something wrong.

Journal Entry 156

Here’s a list of books that I’ve finished in the summer months…so far.

Journal Entry 155

It is 6:39 a.m. on Tuesday July 11 and
even though the sky is gray I am celebrating
the feast of Saint Benedict who was rather
gray himself with all his talk about moderation,
as if life was a gift to tippy-toe through
rather than streak across like a
bolt of lightning.

Journal Entry 154

This winter I subscribed to an excellent literary journal, Poetry East, and the first issue that arrived in the mail was devoted to food. Poems on food. Great art on food. Quotes on food
I read it slowly every morning, savoring every mouthful.

Journal Entry 153

I’m reading David Steindl-Rast: Essential Writings, a Benedictine monk whom I greatly admire. I’m trying to be careful that I don’t copy most of his writings into my commonplace book. But this morning I did copy this thought from an interview he gave on reciting the Jesus prayer. Brother David said:

Journal Entry 152

I love theatre and I’ve been fortunate to see a few plays in New York, Toronto, Niagara on the Lake, London, Chautauqua Institution, and at our own Erie Playhouse, of course. A couple of these plays were award-winning and a handful are labeled “classics.”

Journal Entry 151

I have always loved stories more than facts. For example, all that I remember from my high school physics class is Archimedes sitting in a bathtub and suddenly shouting “Eureka—I have found it”. Then he jumped out of the tub and ran through the streets naked proclaiming, “I’ve got it—Eureka.” I really can’t explain what he discovered. Something about the fact that you can calculate the volume of an object by determining how much water it displaces. I do know it was an important discovery, but I loved the story the most.

Journal Entry 150

I just watched a video of a protest by a woman in a wheelchair following the release of the Senate’s version of health care bill. Stephanie Woodward was lifted from the wheelchair by police in the hallway of the Capitol building while she chanted aloud “No cuts to Medicaid.”

Journal Entry 149

I just finished typing this excerpt from a book by Joan Chittister for a publication that I’m preparing:


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