St John’s, Collegeville MN – day 2 – Dec 18

Greetings from Collegeville, Minnesota, home to St John’s Abbey and University.  http://www.saintjohnsabbey.org/

Our journey here has taken us by plane from San Francisco to Chicago, and then by road to Madison WI (overnight), and then here to Collegeville, an hour and a half north-west of Minneapolis.

My first taste of snow has been wonderful — it is so very beautiful here.  The guest house, a lovely new and award-winning facility, overlooks the frozen Lake Sagatagan where people ice-fish in small tents (ask Scott Cowdell about this experience! — he was a visiting scholar here at St John’s last year as many of you may know).

Surrounding its amazing architectural heritage and history lies the St John’s Arboretum, “which encompasses over 2400 acres”.  It is home to a unique collection of native trees and wildlife.  As part of their work, the Benedictine brothers have restored “sixty acres of wetlands, fifty-five acres of prairie, and forty acres of oak savanna” which provide living for many species.  I meet with one of the Brothers from the St John’s sustainability team tomorrow.

Julia and I were taken on a tour by the hospitable Don today, who is the head of the Collegeville Institute. Among other things, we saw how St John’s celebrates Christmas — in grand style (lots of fun)… check out these YouTube clips for more 🙂

It has been lovely to be able to take some time-out here;  to worship in the grand space of the Abbey Church, to eat quietly watching the small colourful birds against the white snow, and to observe the busyness of the (very cute!) squirrels at work – in and out of their burrows.  It is a place of natural and built beauty which has given so much to the community and the church throughout the years, through which God brings new gifts to Julia and I at this time.

May God’s peace be upon you this night.  CG.

 

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