August 18th: Stand-Ins

At present, flowers are scarce in our garden, hence, store-bought ones have been our flora-of-choice for arrangements in the church to place at the icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Child Jesus. The photo below is an example of such. In the coming weeks we can...

August 17th: Roses

Undoubtedly among God’s most beautiful flowers is the rose. During these summer months we have been enjoying the sight and smell of the roses blooming in our cloister garden. Probably none of us here can give the precise names of the several varieties of roses...

August 16th: All Hands On Deck

In his Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, chapter 3, verse 10, Saint Paul is very explicit: “Anyone unwilling to work should not eat.” We monks regularly help with addressing the envelopes for the thank you letters of the abbot, and even the miniature...

August 15th: Our Orchard Endeavor

We currently have only one fruit tree, a lonesome apple, but soon that will change. We’re planting an orchard! Consulting with local experts on the best varieties of fruit trees for our elevation and climate, we hope in the coming weeks to add a dozen...

August 13th: Cloister Fountain

After some major repairs, the twenty-five year old fountain in the middle of our cloister garden is functioning well once again. Underground pipes that had broken have been replaced and upgrading of the water  recycling system was done as well. The design of our...

August 10th: Praying for Rain

The painted glass window, photographed below, is at the Monastery of Our Lady of Solitude (La Soledad) in Mexico, near the town of San Miguel de Allende. The monks there are part of Christ in Desert, and working towards being an autonomous monastery one day. For now...

August 9th: Clouds

Clouds often carry rain, but the present ones are only vapor, with no rain in the forecast. A reversal of fortune is predicted later this week. We certainly hope and pray for that, to keep things on the green side and to reduce the chance of forest fires. Just now we...

August 8th: Exponential Growth

Though our vegetable garden in Saint Fiacre Field by the river has had some amount of setbacks due to deer, the heirloom calabacitas (squash) assigned to our completely protected cloister garden, are doing great. You can almost watch then grow by the day! We look...

August 7th: Monastic Profession

On Friday morning, August 6th, our Brother Isidore Ilunga Mukendi made his solemn profession of vows as a Benedictine monk of our Monastery of Christ in the Desert. At the same time, he received the solemn consecration, or special prayer of blessing, as a monk for...

August 6th: Guard Duty

Matty, the guard donkey of our sheep, is definitely not a trouble-maker and loves to be where the action is. She seems particularly fascinated by machinery, such as trucks, tractors and carts, including the humble “gorilla cart” in the photo below. One...

August 5th: Flowers Flourish

With the arrival of rain, we are almost guaranteed the appearance of wild and scenic flowers to delight the eye, such as those pictured below, taken in the village of Chama, some fifty miles north of us, not far from the southern Colorado border. Though summer in the...

August 4th: Rainy Days & Nights

Despite dire predictions to the contrary, we are now enjoying abundant rainfall, both in the afternoons and sometimes at night. The high desert monsoon or rainy season typically extends through July and August. While early to mid-July was rather dry this year, these...

August 2nd: Squash Blossom

In June we were given six heirloom squash plants and they are now beginning to bloom. They were planted in our cloister garden. We look forward to the “calabacitas” (Spanish for “squash”) that will eventually ripen and be enjoyed at table. We...

July 30th: Navajo-Churro Rugs

Our monks continue to produce beautiful hand-woven rugs, made from 100% Navajo-Churro wool. We who are not weavers greatly admire the craftsmaship of our brothers and tip our hats to them. A little later this summer we will have a number of rugs available for sale in...

July 28th: Whistle While You Work

Our monastic refectory sometimes doubles as a space for addressing envelopes for the many thank you letters from the Abbot to our benefactors. The kind assistance we are receiving for our recent medical appeal is encouraging and very much appreciated and a great...

July 27th: Cakes that Inspire I

Last Sunday our cook for the day, Brother Dominic, came up with a unique creation. Might we call it a “Neapolitan cake,” taking inspiration from Neapolitan ice cream? Brother Dominic was serving thirty of us monks, and wishing to satisfy our various...

July 26th: Four O’clocks

Another welcome summer feature in our high desert setting are “four o’clocks,” a wild flower growing in various places around our property. This flower typically blooms for only a few hours each day. The four-o’clock’s beautiful...

July 25th: An Amazing Yucca Plant

Some 15 feet tall, the majestic yucca currently in bloom outside our church is a sight to behold. This is the first year it has bloomed, and we are impressed with the size and beauty of the plant. There is a second yucca near this one, but it is not as tall or...

July 24th: Chama Canyon Beauty

With recent rainfall, even if sporadic, the Chama Canyon Wilderness is blooming with Russian sage and yucca plants. While the purple-flowered sage can be used in salads, in making dyes, as well as possessing medicinal properties, we have the plants primarily for...

July 23rd: Flight Into Egypt

Benedictine monks typically take their meals each day in silence. At Christ in the Desert we do likewise, but at the midday meal we listen to a brother reading first a portion of Scripture, then from a book selected by the Abbot or recommended to him by one of the...

July 22nd: Second Wave

After a hiatus of several weeks, our rose bushes are blooming once again. In addition to adding beauty to our cloister garden, the yellow, red, white and pink roses provide lovely flowers for decorating our Monastery church. In answer to prayers, we received a...

July 21st: Awaiting Rain

While areas around us are now getting rain, we are still lagging behind. As the photo below shows, clouds are regularly forming above us, but have yet to pour forth the desired moisture. Hence, our prayers for rain continue and hope springs eternal. The brethren are...

July 20th: First Rose of Sharon

Though they are not usually in bloom until August, the first Rose of Sharon has appeared in our Saint John Paul II Meditation Garden, located between the Monastery church and the Guest Reception building. Rose of Sharon work well as cut flowers and will be used in our...