May 2024 News – OHC Chapter in South Africa

The past month was a more regular one for the Priory, with relatively few unusual events and a more stable rhythm of community life, prayer, ministry and work. Several Volmoed guests and various local people joined us from time to time at our chapel prayers and Eucharists. We were especially pleased to have one of our long-term Associates visit with her husband and a good friend to attend Eucharist on a Sunday morning.

Br Robert James, the Superior of our Order, arrived in the last week of May. He is with us to organize the final preparations for our Order’s annual Chapter gathering, which will take place in South Africa during the first two weeks of June. This is the first time the Chapter meeting will be held outside of North America, and we are looking forward to having many of our Brothers from North America with us here at Volmoed soon. For several of them, it will be their first time in South Africa. For part of the time, they will travel to visit our Holy Cross School near Makhanda (Grahamstown) in the Eastern Cape.

chapter 2023 group portrait
Chapter 2023 Group Portrait

The first Chapter session has already happened. On the first Saturday in June, we participated in an online Conference with our Brothers in North America, to begin conversations on matters that will be further discussed or decided when the main Chapter meeting takes place here.

There was also a Taizé youth day at Volmoed on that first Saturday in June. Br Aelred assisted with the organization, and Br Scott led a Bible meditation with the young adults.

There are to be a number of significant changes affecting our monastic community after the two-week Chapter gathering. Br Scott will be returning to the USA after a number of years with us, and we will miss him and the many valuable contributions he makes to our life and work. Br Luc will be officially stationed to our community, and we look forward to his presence with us and to the contributions he will make.

After a lengthy period of frustration with the US Consulate in Cape Town, Br Mpumelelo was eventually granted a visa to enter the USA and spend a few months with the community at our Holy Cross Monastery there. He will travel across together with Brs Robert James and Scott. We know it will be an enriching experience for him, but we will miss him and look forward to his return.

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