It reminded us of the day we entered the monastery as postulants!
No matter how many times a man or woman visits a monastery, even living inside the enclosure, the day one formally enters to begin monastic life there is, for most monastic traditions, the symbolic entering through the formal enclosure doors of the monastery while family and friends look on. The postulant enters and then the doors are closed shut. Her new life, hidden in God, has begun!
We watched today’s events of the ending of the term of His Holiness Benedict XVI as Pope in between our work and scheduled times for the Divine Office. Almost anytime we watch Papal Events, the good stuff–the Holy Father’s homily or concluding remarks–happen just when it is time for us to go to the Office and today was no different as the helicopter landed at Castel Gandolfo just when it was time for us to go to Rosary and Sext!!!
We gathered again around 2PM to watch the doors officially being closed and then Sr. Mary Martin removed the photo of Benedict XVI from the community room wall. In Dominican monasteries when the term of a prioress ends it is the subprioress who leads the community until the election of a new prioress so it was fitting that she removed the photo. Sr. Mary Cecilia removed the one in the parlor.
Now the wall is bare. Now the people who have gathered at the Vatican, at Castel Gandalfo, in front of computer or the TV around the world, go home, back to the events of their daily life with sadness but with hope, too, as we begin a new chapter in the life of the Church.
And Benedict XVI? He now remains at the foot of the Cross in a new and intense way. May he know the support and strength of our prayer and the love of our hearts.