Celebrations

March 2024 News – Initial Profession of Br Aelred Edwin Kriel OHC

The highlight of the past month for us was certainly the Initial Profession of the Monastic Vow by Br Edwin, who has taken the religious name Br Aelred, by which he is now becoming known to us. The happy occasion took place during a noon Eucharist in the Volmoed chapel on Saturday 23 March. Having completed his novitiate, Br Aelred committed himself to live according to the threefold monastic vow of stability, conversion, and obedience, for an initial period of three years. Many of those from his family and friends in Worcester and other parts of the Anglican Diocese of False Bay, as well as from the Volmoed community, who had been present just over a year before to witness his Clothing as a Novice of the Order, were there to witness this joyful commitment. In addition to affirming his own sense of vocation to monastic life, and the fulfilment that comes from living into that vocation, Br Aelred has strengthened the life and witness of the monastic community, by adding his own presence to the variety of ways in which we pray and hope that God’s love will be made known through us. Br Scott preached the sermon at Br Aelred’s profession, the text of which can be found here.

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Feast of James Otis Sargent Huntington

Readings for the feast are here

Today the Church remembers James Otis Sargent Huntington. We think of him as founder of the Order of the Holy Cross. Typically, the Church remembers people on the anniversary of their death, or sometimes their birth. But this is neither the anniversary of his death nor his birth. Rather this is the anniversary of his life profession in the Order of the Holy Cross. Father Huntington is perhaps most remembered as a monastic, so this seems appropriate. But the truth is that the other dates were already claimed by other saints… 

Remembering the Founder of the Order of the Holy Cross seems like a straightforward thing… and yet it offers food for thought… 

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Day of Pentecost – Conversation with a Benedictine monk

I recently came across a 2016 podcast in the On Being series by Krista Tippett, in which she interviews Br. David Steindl-Rast, a Benedictine monk at the Gut Aich Priory in St. Gilgen in Austria and a teacher and author on the subject of gratitude, who is the founder and senior advisor for A Network for Grateful Living. A Benedictine monk for over 60 years, Br. David was formed by 20th-century catastrophes. He calls joy “the happiness that doesn’t depend on what happens”. And his gratefulness is not an easy gratitude or thanksgiving — but a full-blooded, reality-based practice and choice.

Why do I share this at Pentecost? Because he defines “spirituality” from “spiritus” that means “life”, “breath”, “aliveness”. Spirituality is aliveness on all levels. It must start with our bodily aliveness. But of course, when we say “spirituality”, we also mean aliveness to interrelationships, aliveness to our confrontation with that great divine mystery with which we are confronted as human beings and which we can look away from or forget or be dead to. We come alive to it. When people are grateful, they come alive.

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Thursday 25 November – The Feast of James Otis Sargent Huntington

This week saw our celebration for the second time at Volmoed of our Order’s Founder’s Day. We were pleased to host the other Volmoed residents and staff to a festive lunch following the midday Eucharist.

Fr. James Otis Sargent Huntington was the first member of the Order of the Holy Cross to make his life profession, doing so on 25 November 1884 in New York, NY, USA. James Huntington was a passionate advocate of social justice, seeing prayer and action as inextricably intertwined. He has been described as forward-reaching, looking for enriching change and development, interested in the future.

We ask for your prayers for us and for our brothers throughout this Order that was established by the confident endurance of that remarkable man, that we may continue faithful to the spirit of our Founder.

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Happy Arch Birthday

Today is the celebration of the 89th birthday of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. St Benedict’s Priory joins with folks across the globe in wishing him great blessings on this day. 

Stilted Anglican terminology applies the preface “The Most Reverend” to Archbishops. It’s hard to imagine someone who more embodies this description. The importance of Desmond Tutu to the Anglican Church of South Africa, the Worldwide Anglican Communion, and indeed the wider world cannot be overstated. God speaks to mortals through prophets. Anyone who thinks God is silent these days has simply not heard Desmond Tutu.  

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Turning one…

During lockdown big celebrations are not in order. But we couldn’t turn one without something. So today at Eucharist we had a nice, small outdoor coffee time with some beautiful edible treats. Just about everyone from Volmoed was with us – so it was not a big group, but it is the people who have been part of our lives at Volmoed for the year.

It has been a fascinating year to say the least. We arrived on the last day of August, 2019, and began our worship life here the next day. There was a time of settling in. Then a time of reaching out to folks in the region. Then there should have been a time of ripening and growing in ministry, but COVID-19 had a different plan. Lockdown has now extended for about half our life at Volmoed.

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