After a long Diocesan Convention this weekend out in Pierre, I decided to take Monday and Tuesday of this week off and get out of town for a night. We packed up the car and drove about an hour and quarter north to Marvin, SD, where Blue Cloud Abbey resides. Blue Cloud Abbey is a truly special place. I've been to a lot of monasteries over the years, but Blue Cloud is my favorite. The grounds are gorgeous, and the monks are quite gregarious.
There aren't any pictures of it, but as it happened during Evening Prayer yesterday when we got there, the Abbot clothed a new novice monk with the Benedictine cowl. I had never seen that before in a monastic liturgy, so it was a nice event. This morning, since we are already up (my daughter decided to wake up at 4 AM), we went to Morning Prayer. My daughter discovered the main Abbey church has a great echo, so we had to take a walk outside while my wife enjoyed Matins. Luckily, the sun was rising, so we got some great shots.
We also toured the grounds later in the morning, including the monks' delicious apple orchard. They also havea large bird change indoors with about 50 finches. My daughter was enthralled with that, as with the tolling of the tower bell.
The monks' cookies were also as good as always. It's a good thing I am not a monk there. I'd be fat as a butterball...