For four years, I've been a part of the American Benedictine Academy, which works to pass on Benedictine values. Our biennial conference this year celebrated modern "artisans of the monastery." It brought together more than 100 artists, writers, musicians, craftspeople and art appreciators at St. Benedict Monastery in Minnesota, including a large number of oblates.
GSR Today: As Sr. Joan Chittister told us at the recent Fourth International Oblate Congress in Rome, Oblates "are not meant to simply be consumers of the Benedictine tradition. You are meant to be carriers of the tradition. You are the future of the order."
Poet Wendall Berry, 81, is passing on his family's farming legacy to a new generation; he selected a small Catholic liberal arts college about an hour's drive from Louisville, run by the Dominican Sisters of Peace, to continue the Berry Farming Program, which offers an interdisciplinary approach to agriculture, combining fieldwork with philosophy and studies in agricultural science and agribusiness with classes on literature, history and culture.
I have always had a tremendous fear of death. It arose, perhaps, from having had older parents. I worried my parents might die, leaving me bereft. Even now, I sometimes awake at night gripped by the terrible anxiety that I will soon die.