There are signs in our abbey that the year has once again moved on and we are entering into a new period in the Church year. Today was the last ‘ordinary’ Sunday, next Sunday is Christ the King then it’s Advent again! In Office we use some loose leaf files and our Sundays are on green pages to make them stand out. Today the closeness of Advent really hit home when I found that I only have one left for Christ the King. We remove our green Sundays and replace them with White ( I think) Advent Sundays pages which always seems to mark the year for me. We do this in the summer too so keeping only half a year at a time at hand.

Christmas pudding – yes, it is also that time again. Last week Sr Theresa Mary prepared the mix and we all stirred it and made our wishes – last year my wish was to become a novice and I got it, lets hope I do this one too.

The last tomatoes have been picked and the greenhouse is now clean and empty ready for next Spring. We went over our veggie field and collected the last few squash and marrows which I cooked last week – they were very nice- and we are waiting for a friend to come to plough it before we start manuring and making compost trenches. I need to weed the new blackcurrants which settled in well and will hopefully bear fruit next year.

On the whole it hasn’t been a good year for veggies. Sr Davina got lots of strawberries, some good lettuce and with the aid of the wonderful nettle juice we got some good cabbages too. The nettle juice worked very well keeping aphids off the beans and we got quite a good crop but most of the other veg didn’t do well – too much rain and not enough sun. The apples have been quite good and we do have a healthy looking apples shed. oh we also got a little garlic, some has gone to seed so i am going to try planting it in tubs in the greenhouse over the winter to see what we get, it’s worth trying anyway.

A lovely sound and sight at this time of the year is the wild geese circling before they fly south. Their honk honk is a lure to look up and watch them flying in formation, it looks so joyful and free and they seem to be telling us that they are off for their holidays and will see us in the Spring. We do have our faithful blackbirds, sparrows and robins to keep us company over the winter though.

On Thursday Maria arrived safely from New Mexico to discern her vocation with us. She is spending around a week in the guest quarters to get over jet-lag and adapt to new things a little before she comes inside for about 6 weeks aspirancy. Maria will get an all round picture of us as she will get a bit of ‘normal’ time, then Advent and Christmas. Please keep Maria and us in your prayers at this time of discernment, thanks.

Yesterday and Friday we kept Mother Abbess Gertrude’s Feast day. As usual we had 2 days of recreationk- we could talk or listen to music whilst working in the morning then had lots of time together in the afternoons and evening. We began with tea and a biscuit in the work room whilst we sang to Mother, than a bit of a chat, some of us walked Chelsea and then back for long recreation. Sr Davina made beautiful doughnuts and I tried to make bagels for tea – which didn’t exacly look like bagels and were overcooked! My sisters valiantly tried to eat some, were very kind about them and we had a laugh about it. Now I have more idea what i am doing ( I think) I will try again but give myself lots of time.

Yesterday at the end of recreation we went into the parlour to look at slides mostly of the community. Going into the parlour meant that Maria and David – Sr Davina’s father – could join in the fun. At the moment we have a priest here on retreat and a sister from the Grace and Compassion Benedictines with us too. Sr Metilda has asked me to help her to set up a blog so I am going to try tomorow. The Grace and Compassion Benedictines are fully habited Benedictine Sisters in the south of England, Africa and India. They care for elderly people in their own homes and say the full Divine Office. They would like to encourage vocations in Britain so if you are interested or know someone who is check them out. When their blog is set up I will a link up as they really do good work and we are happy to support them.

I think there’s lots more that i have forgotten but must be off to prayers now and I take you all with me. Pax et bonum, Sr Marie-Therese.