As I look at our monastery, there are many challenges and opportunities ahead of us. The most important one is to always remain faithful to God's love, and to create here at the Monastery a place where others can come and experience that love for themselves.
We are incredibly blessed with having three already established foundations - one in Chicago and two in Mexico - and a new one in Texas. We are also helping one in South Africa that is not our foundation, but to which we are totally committed. Additionally, we have requests from other monastic houses for help. My role as abbot is to keep encouraging the development of each of the monastic foundations so that each one grows strong and true. God shows us the way forward!
In keeping with the Rule of Saint Benedict, we balance our life of prayer, study and hospitality with work for our daily bread. Each monastery is expected to be self-supporting. We do not receive financial underwriting from our archdiocese, nor other institutions of the Church, including the Vatican. Over all of the years that I have been at Christ in the Desert, the Lord has provided for us and has never failed us. While God never gives us everything that we want, we really have never lacked what is necessary for our monastic life.
We have always insisted that prayer can never be reduced for the sake of work. In our modern world there is a continual pressure to shorten the quiet times of prayer so that we can get more work done. However, we have never seen that as required. Always the friends and benefactors of our community have made our life possible through their prayerful presence, participation and partnership with us.
In a few years, on June 24, 2014, Christ in the Desert will celebrate 50 years since its foundation in 1964. I will turn 70 years old the following day. Those anniversaries form a clear goal for me to aim at. I would love to have all of the earlier construction debt paid off, our physical plant completed and paid for, the foundations independent, and an endowment in place for our future to support a strong and stable community at Christ in the Desert.
God has made all things possible so far and surely He will continue to give us what is truly necessary. In the sections below we have described ways people can support our life through annual giving, capital campaigns, and planned giving.
I invite you to contact Brother Christian Leisy, OSB, our Subprior and Business Manager. He talks with people from all walks of life about how they can support the work of our Monastery. Your inquiry will be met with warmth and sensitivity, and be held in confidence. His email is: email@example.com.
At this point, our urgent needs include:
Help pay the propane bill - We spend about $6,600 per month on the propane that supplements our solar power grid. Until we raise the funds to needed to upgrade our power grid, our propane expenses are a concern for us.
Complete the fund to upgrade our water system, which is mandated by the state - Though our system is safe, it is inadequate for our current demands. We need to raise about $100,000 more.
Highlights of our regular, ongoing expenses for our forty monks, averaged for one month:
$65 ~ fuel and travel expenses of the weekly trip to purchase groceries
$100 ~ web site maintenance
$150 ~ laundry expenses
$480 ~ physicians and other doctors
$500 ~ operating expenses for our library
$500 ~ our commitment of help to the Monastery of La Soledad in Mexico
$525 ~ cost of replacing clothing
$600 ~ postage costs
$670 ~ auto insurance
$850 ~ insurance on our buildings
$1,000 ~ our commitment of help for the Monastery of Santa Maria in Mexico
$1,100 ~ office supplies
$1,500 ~ the satellite connection which allows our phone service and Internet
$1,600 ~ maintenance of our vehicles
$4,000 ~ food costs for our community of brothers
$5,000 ~ our commitment of help for our Sisters at Our Lady of the Desert
$10,000 ~ one year of a monk's studies outside the monastery
"Eventually we came to know ourselves not for what we accumulated, but for what we allocated." Global activist and fundraiser, Lynn Twist
"...giving a good measure: pressed down, shaken together, running over..." Gospel of Luke 6:38
Whatever the size of your own `good measure,' we welcome your prayerful presence and partnership with us. Please consider the following options.
Unrestricted donations are always placed in the area of greatest need, though you may request an area of preference. We do not confine ourselves to only making year-end appeals, and value your donation of any size throughout the year. As a planning tool for donors, and for us, we can send you a pledge form, if you wish. Specific campaigns are available for those who wish to increase their level of support.
Creating a legacy of love and meaning often begins with exploring the potential in giving tools such as your will, a charitable gift annuity, and charitable trusts, as well as in investments and other financial instruments. We can assist you, your family, and advisors as you discern your intentions for the well-being of your family and others.
From our beginning, we have been fully committed to fostering environmental sustainability. Our Monastery is `off the grid'; we generate all our own power. Many of our donors are particularly interested in this aspect of our life and derive deep satisfaction from supporting our projects in adobe and strawbale building, passive and active solar design, and conservation approaches for our watersheds and wetlands.
BURNING BUSH GIFTS AND MONASTERY SHOPS
On our website we offer a year-round alternative gift giving program where you can honor your loved ones by selecting items that support our Monastery. Additionally, we benefit from your purchases at our book and gift shop at the Monastery, as well as at our shops in Sante Fe: the Monks' Corner and the Community Thrift Store.
By striving to live in a community of love and respect for all people, the monks at Christ in the Desert hope to slowly and silently bring change to human hearts which, as St. Augustine said, are restless until they find their rest in God.
May God bless you for your generosity to us and to those who rely upon
our hospitality and assistance.