Oblate Director's Letter
The previous four weeks have been filled with retreat activity. Here at the Abbey we hosted two retreats, the first directed by Brother Cyril, considering the Holy Angels, and the second by Father Abbot Gregory, studying the Prologue to the Holy Rule. Both retreats were well attended and well received by the participants. it was good to have both our local oblates in attendance, as well as some from as far away as Alberta, Montana and California.
A third retreat was organized by several of our oblates in Vancouver, British Columbia, Angela (Francis) Powell and Eileen (Faustina) Richter. Seventeen oblates and friends gathered at the Rivendell Retreat on Bowen Island off the western shore of Vancouver for a three day retreat on Chapter Four of the Holy Rule, The Tools for Good Works. It was my pleaseure to travel to Canada in order to direct the retreat. Accents could be heard among the participants from Scotland, England and Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, Canada and the United States: one language with great variety of tone and character! The natural beauty of Bowen Island and Rivendell's Craftsman lodge setting made for a relaxing and peaceful retreat.
LaVern (Perpetua) Hayworth and Pat (Rita) Clark traveled with me to Vancouver, where we received the very warm Benedictine hopitality of oblate Msgr. Gregory (Bernard) Smith. He is the pastor of Christ the Redeemer Parish in West Vancouver, B.C. It was there that I was given the privilage of offering Holy Mass on the Abbey's patronal feast: the Solemnity of Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Archangels, and all Holy Angels. Later in the day, with the help of Msgr. Smith's housekeeper Lene, we were treated to a festive Northwest salmon meal.
On the way home, we stopped by New Westminster Abbey in Mission, B.C., Mount Angel's first daughter house. To our delight, the major relics of Saint John Vianney, the Curé d' Ars were visiting the Abbey as well! It was an unexpected joy to encounter this famously holy parish priest. It just so happened that our joy would be increased even more by also meeting there an alumnus of Mount Angel Seminary , Father Nick Wickert, of the Archdiocese of Seattle. Unanticipated blessings are everywhere. Bless the Lord!
Well, that is the wrap-up for now.
Fr. Pius X Harding, O.S.B.
Director of Oblates