After my sophomore year of college, I entered the monastery with the expectation that I would be a teacher. And so, it happened. Over the course of 55 years, for varying degrees of duration, I taught at every level except kindergarten – and it is true to say that God spared the kindergartners. When I was assigned to teach high school, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. The same was true when I later went on to teaching college English and remained there until 2013.
We have observed that in the monastery we do not retire, we recycle. My next assignment was as an assistant librarian. To be a librarian may seem to be a natural step forward for an English teacher; I would disagree. It is an entirely different field and has its own levels of expertise. Nonetheless, I am enjoying it. Instead of taking books from the shelves, I am putting them on. Instead of taking information from the book, I am putting information on the book. (I admit I often enjoy getting distracted by some of the books.) If I calculate correctly, the last eighty of my eighty-six years have been spent either in front of or behind a desk. That is true for the library, as well.
This summary of my ministries only scratches the surface of what has been my life. At 20, I chose to pursue the Benedictine way of life. That is and has been my primary focus. I try to live according to the Rule of St. Benedict. At 86, I am still in school —”the school of the Lord’s service”— my teachers are Benedict and my community, all of whom make my life a living, loving reality, truly enriching each day. There is no way I could have had all I have if I had not entered the monastery. St. Benedict’s Rule leads me in a way of life that brings me prayer, community life, work, talents —my life is full in every way.