A young man from KwaZulu Natal who is discerning a monastic vocation made his first visit with our community. His understanding of religious life has been nurtured by a women’s community in KZN. During his visit, he joined us in making a pilgrimage to Cape Agulhas, the southernmost tip of Africa and officially the place where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. It also has a beautiful seashore and the third oldest lighthouse (established in March 1849) on the South African coast.
The Order of the Holy Cross recognizes 25 November as the anniversary of its founding, as that is the date in 1884 on which James Otis Sargent Huntington became its first member to make life profession. It has become something of a tradition for the residential Volmoed community and the Volmoed staff to join us in celebrating our Founder’s Day, and this year we were again pleased to host a festive Eucharist and delicious catered lunch on that day.
We joined the wider Volmoed community in welcoming some of the new patrons of Volmoed. These are people who have been invited to serve in that capacity following the death of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who had been the Volmoed patron.
Several guests at Volmoed joined us in chapel prayer during the month. We continued to engage in spiritual accompaniment and guidance with various people, some in person and some online. Pilgrims were blessed on two occasions, on one of which three groups intersected, there being a group ending their pilgrimage at Volmoed, a group beginning at Volmoed, and a group continuing through Volmoed.
Br Roger and Br Scott continued their service as trustees of the Order’s Holy Cross School in Makhanda, in the Eastern Cape. We are told that the celebration with much singing and dancing at the close of this school year was especially momentous, because the Grade 7 learners who graduated this year are the first class who have gone the whole way through the school from Grade R to Grade 7.
Edwin Kriel continues to settle well into life as a postulant with our community. He has coordinated the involvement of several Volmoed community members in the creation of Advent wreaths (one for each chapel) and in the writing of meditations on the themes of each week in Advent.
Another VYLTP/Taizé Youth Day was held at Volmoed on the first Saturday in December. Br Scott led one of the afternoon workshops, on an aspect of prayer, and our monastic community attended the prayer around the cross at the end of the day. As usual, the young people seemed to appreciate the opportunity to spend a day at Volmoed, which included enjoying time outdoors in the beautiful environment here.