October 10, 2023

Garden and Orchard

 We have had a very good harvest this year with many surprises.  In spite of the drought both our garden and orchards did very well.  We had a good tomato and potato harvest, along with many other vegetables.We put up lots of tomato sauce, pickled beets, sauerkraut and salsa.  We also canned plums and pears and froze lots of peaches.  The big surprise were the melons.  We always plant them but don't get much or if we do they don't ripen well.  This years we had wonderfully sweet and delicious cantaloupe and watermelon and they were BIG.  One watermelon was 35 pounds!

The best news is that we put in a greenhouse this summer in our backyard.  We will be able to grow lettuce and spinach and start our plants early for an earlier harvest.  We will also use it to start flowers for the flower beds.

July 6, 2023

Sr. Nettie's Golden Jubilee

 Our Sr. Nettie Gamble celebrated her golden jubilee on July 4th.  Mass was celebrated by Dom Brendan Freeman of New Melleray Abbey and Sr. Nettie renewed her monastic vows after the gospel was read.  

The day was a combination jubilee celebration and an Independence Day celebration.  After Mass we had a festive meal,  all of the fare being 4th of July picnic food.  The community was joined by 14 members of Sr. Nettie's family and many friends.  It was a great time!

Sr. Nettie receiving a blessing.
Sr. Nettie signing her vows.

Greeting guests and family.

June 25, 2023

Sr. Kathy's Golden Jubilee

On June 22nd our Sr. Kathy celebrated her Golden Jubilee of 50 years of profession as a Cistercian nun.  Kathy is one of two sisters who are from Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Kathy renewed her vows at Mass with Mother Rebecca  and Dom Brendan present.  Her two sisters were here, along with other relatives and friends and New Melleray monks.

 After Mass we had a celebratory meal with all of our guests.

Sr. Kathy renewing her vows
Celebratory meal
Sr. Kathy's family


June 19, 2023

Fr. Steven Gregg

Last week we had several classes with Fr. Steven Gregg.  He is a monk of Our Lady of Dallas in Dallas, Texas.  He teaches at their middle school, high school, and college.  His area of expertise is medieval literature.  He talked to us about the Charter of Charity, a founding document of our order and other documents that influenced the Charter of Charity.  Fr. Steven has quite the sense of humor, regaling us with stories about teaching adolescent boys.

May 30, 2023


Last week we had our yearly retreat. Our retreat director was Sr. Sarah from our Irish house Glencairn.  Glencairn is our grandmother house.  They founded Wrentham Abbey in Massachusetts who founded us.

Sr. Sarah used Celtic spirituality as the topic for the retreat.  We learned a lot and were inspired by the history and holiness of the monks and nuns of Celtic monasticism.

We gifted Sr. Sarah with a pair of overalls and made her an honorary Iowan.

April 11, 2023

Sr. Madeleine Renews Her Vows

This morning at chapter our Sr. Madeleine renewed her vows for another year.  It was a perfect day to do this as the gospel for today was of Mary Magdalene mistaking Jesus for a gardener and then recognized him when he spoke her name.  Mary Magdalene is Sr. Madeleine's patroness and is currently preparing our spring garden.

Sr. Madeleine renewing her vows.

Sr. Madeleine making her vow of obedience to Mother Rebecca


Waiting for the Vigil to begin.
All of the sisters went to New Melleray Abbey, our brother house for the Easter Vigil.  It was very special for both of our communities as we have never done this before.  The vigil began at 4:30 AM in the New Melleray Chapter Room with the lighting of the fire with flint rock.  Then the Paschal Candle was lit from the new fire and from that each person had a candle lit to carry in procession.  We processed into church and the Exultet was sung by Br. Paul Andrew and Sr. Kathleen.  The vigil readings were read and Mass celebrated by Dom Brendan Freeman, Abbot of New Melleray.

Br. Joseph starting the fire with the flint rock.

Lighting the Paschal candle.

Sr. Kathleen and Br. Paul Andrew singing the Exultet

Sr. Kathleen at the organ

Fr. Brendan reading the Gospel.

Br. Joseph reading.

Schola singing the Easter Alleluia

February 6, 2023


Dom Bernardus
Last week our new Abbot General, Dom Bernardus Peeters and his secretary, Fr. Raphael came for a four day visit.  Dom Bernardus is the former abbot of Tilberg Abbey in the Netherlands.  He was elected Abbot General last February at the General Chapter in Assisi, Italy.  We each met with him individually and he gave the community four conferences while he was here.  It was a wonderful experience to get to know him and to hear his vision for the Order.