And The Reflection Of Sister Ann Marie
By Joeaux Robey
A bright light flashed in my dream state. Suddenly, I realized I was awake. I sat up in bed. I could hear the wheels of a car turning against the gravel of the circular entry into the Abbey, then more headlights shone brightly into my window. I jumped out of bed and peered through the blinds. People poured out of several cars and were gathering on the porch in front of the Abbey. Loud whispers. It had to be close to midnight.
Again, I peered out through the blinds.
Assumption Abbey is miles off the nearest public road, and an eternity from the nearest town. It is an oasis centered in the middle of deep, thick Missouri woodland. I have to admit, my first thought was the movie Deliverance. Cancel that, I thought again.
I had come to the Abbey with Marilyn as a little escape from our hectic pace to soak up some silence… to sit in a sacred space and explore our own thoughts, which right now – – sounded a lot like a very loud heart beat. I ducked into Marilyn’s room, which was adjacent from mine.
“Marilyn, wake up!” I shook her shoulder.
“What’s going on?” she said.
“There’s a bunch of people outside… ‘can’t figure out why people would be hanging out in front of the Abbey at midnight. Any ideas?”
She jumped up and ran over to her window. We both stood peering out through the blinds.
Our stay at the Abbey had been quite interesting and peaceful for both of us. We didn’t quite understand all of the Catholic “original sin” stuff or why the poor old Monks sounded so sad when they sang the Psalms… but, our souls delighted in the solitude:
- Both of our telephones were out of range.
- We double dog-dared one another to leave our computers at home (and it worked!)
- We met the most wonderful nun, Sister Ann Marie, who shared amazing revelations of how the world was becoming ONE!
During our stay, I found myself unable to put down my journal. Words and pictures streamed from within me with every seat of solitude I chose. Honestly… I was totally digging it! I was ready to move in. It was like my first day of art school, all over again. Only, this time I had zero inhibitions about my creations. They just flowed as if they were on their own and they didn’t know any better. I realized how much the silence truly does make way for creation.
Assumption Abbey was a little slice of heaven. In the middle of nowhere, Missouri, just off of highway “roller coaster.” If you’ve ever driven in the Ozarks — you know what I mean. “Everybody! Hands up – wheeeeeeeeeee!”
Marilyn and I snuck down the hallway toward Sister Ann Marie’s room where we practically bumped into her midway. We three were the only occupants in the guest quarters.
“I am so sorry about all of the commotion,” she said. “It’s family attempting to reach the housing of one of the Monks who lives in solitude, they are lost and in need of directions.”
We all had a little nervous laugh, handed out goodnight hugs and headed back to our rooms. A little embarrassed, I crawled back into bed and contemplated the meaning of solitude within huge Catholic families… and monks… and hermits… and being lost… and in need of directions… wonderful metaphors.
Several days after our stay at the Abbey we each got the most beautiful card from Sister Ann Marie:
“It was lovely meeting you” she wrote. “I pray your ministry of healing, love, joy will continue to be blessed. It is all God!.. … may we all be minsters of Spirit. Gratefully, Ann Marie.”
…Silence. God. Spirit. Love.
Roller Coasters. Midnight. Fear.
Lost. Directions. Silence…
Yes. We are all ministers of Spirit.
Thank you for the reminder, Sister.
Thank you for the midnight, Assumption Abbey… and more so, thank you for the silence.