Monastery News

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September 22nd: The Fear of the Lord

“Through the spirit of the fear of the Lord, you ponder on the fact that you possess and desire nothing that is not given to you by God, but in faith, trust and thankfulness you ascribe to divine compassion whatever you know or are or can be.”

Medieval monk Theophilus, “On the Gifts of the Holy Spirit”

September 21st: The Gift of Piety

“Through the spirit of piety you set a limit with pious consideration on what the work is to be, and for whom, as well as on the time, the amount and the quality of work; and, lest the vice of greed or cupidity should steal in, on the amount of recompense.”

Medieval monk Theophilus, “On the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit”

September 20th: Something to Crow About

Our flock of several dozen hens (and one rooster), continues to keep us entertained as well as supplied with about two dozen eggs each day.

As the days are now growing shorter, each evening the chickens return more quickly to their coop, which is dedicated to Saint Brigid of Kildare, principal patroness of poultry. The chicken coop provides a safe haven for the night, after a full day of foraging, dust baths and roosting.

Our rooster Rudy, now about six months old, is pictured here flanked by Pam and Alicia, all of them enjoying a morning break on the pasture fence.

May all our family and friends know the goodness of God’s creation and all that is in store for us under God’s protective hand.

We keep you in our prayers.

Abbot Christian and the monks

September 19th: Gift of Knowledge

“Through the spirit of knowledge that is given to you, you are the master by virtue of your practical knowledge and you use in public the perfect abundance of your abounding heart with the confidence of a full mind.”

Twelfth century monk Theophilus on “The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit”

September 18th: Fortitude

“Through the spirit of fortitude you shake off all the apathy of sloth, and whatever you commence with quick enthusiasm you carry through to completion with full vigor.”

12th century Theophilus the monk, “On the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit”

September 17th: The Gift of Counsel

“Through the spirit of counsel you do not hide away the talent given to you by God, but, working and teaching openly and with humility, you faithfully reveal it to those who desire to learn.”

Medieval monk Theophilus, on “The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit”

September 16th: Monastic Profession

On September 6th, the annual Feast of Our Lady of Solitude (La Soledad), Brother Santiago made his first profession of vows as a Benedictine monk at the Monastery of La Soledad, in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico, and near the city of San Miguel de Allende.

La Soledad is currently a dependent monastery of Christ in the Desert. Once the Soledad community has at least six monks in solemn (that is, permanent) vows, they can become an independent monastery.

Brother Santiago, who grew up in Venezuela and the United States, is pictured here with Prior Ezequiel of La Soledad.

Congratulations to Hermano Santiago and the monks of “Monasterio de Nuestra Senora de la Soledad.” Ad multos annos.

Abbot Christian and the monks

September 15th: Easter Lilies!

Each Spring we always plant the Easter lilies from church as they begin to
lose their flowers. As today’s photograph testifies, the lilies are
beginning to bloom in our cloister garden and will soon be used for
arrangements to be placed in front of the icon of Our Lady in our church.

Another quote from the Medieval monk called Theophilus, reflecting on the
Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit:

“Through the spirit of understanding, you have received the capacity for
practical knowledge of the order, the variety and the measure that you
apply to your various kinds of work.”

With our continued prayers,

Abbot Christian and the monks

September 14th: Mary’s Garden

Today’s photograph is a view of a garden in our cloister, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The garden is located along an outdoor flagstone path leading to our church from the monks’ residence building. As such, our visitors don’t see the garden, a little oasis, which has been nicknamed “the scenic route to church.”

A medieval monk, called Theophilus, wrote this:

“Through the spirit of wisdom you know that created things proceed from God and that without God nothing is.”

With greetings and prayers from Abbot Christian and the monks

September 13th: Hay Time

With the gradual approach of winter, though we hope still some weeks away, we have begun our annual purchase of locally-grown baled hay for our livestock, being our flock of twenty Navajo-Churro sheep, one guard-donkey and three horses.

Though we have good pastureland, we still must supplement with hay during the winter months to keep our animals healthy. The hay we get comes from Hernandez, in the Espanola Valley, about forty miles away. Some of the hay is delivered to us and some we pick up in Hernandez.

The hay is all stored in our beautiful Bethlehem Barn, built by our monks last year.

Our ultility truck and trailer serve us well for our farming projects, but we must still obtain another used four-wheel drive passenger vehicle for trips to the doctors and business in town.

Any leads?


Abbot Christian and the monks

September 12th: Thriving Flock

Under Brother Martin’s watchful care, pictured below, our poultry flock is flourishing. The chickens have a very large field in which to eat, exercise and take dirt baths for some twelve hours per day. Every chicken should be so lucky! In any case, ours are as happy as clams.

At present our flock of forty-five hens produces approximately two dozen eggs per day.

We continue to welcome day visitors to the monastery, seven days a week, between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm. Sunday Mass is at 9:15 am.

Our Giftshop and Desert Art Gallery are also open each day. Unfortunately, we are still unable to receive overnight retreatants.

With our prayers and greetings,

Abbot Christian and the monks

September 8th: Heirloom Calabacitas

Early this summer a friend of ours from Chama, New Mexico, gave us three tiny heirloom calabacita (squash) plants. They were planted in our cloister garden, where we have a variety of flowers, but the vegetable seem to fit right in.

Not yet ready for harvest, the calabacitas are flourishing and will eventually be ready for consumption in our monastic refectory. Fortunately we have a number of excellent monk-cooks who will prepare the squash well.

Our daytime temperatures are still in the mid to high 80s, but there is some noticeable change of color in the many cottonwood trees in our canyon. Autumn in not far off.

With the greetings and prayers of Abbot Christian and the monks.

September 7th: Orchard Underway

The soil is being prepared in our soon-to-be-planted fruit orchard, another exciting chapter in our agricultural endeavors. Next month we will get the trees, which should bear fruit within two years. They will join our existing “lonesome apple” already in the space where the orchard will be.

The varieties of trees we are getting, which are especially hearty in colder climates such as ours, and cultivated in our high desert setting are as follows:

Clapp’s Favorite Pear (mature size is around 15 – 20 feet tall. Easy to harvest!)

Magness Pear

Summercrisp Pear

Wickson Apple

Sops of Wine Apple

Cortland Apple

Lobo Apple (originally from Canada)

Crimson Beauty Apple (from New Brunswick, Canada)

Albemarle Pippin Apple (the oldest commercially grown American apple, dating back to 1666, in Newton Village, Long Island. Well-liked by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and Queen Victoria!)

Psalm 148, which we chant each morning at Lauds (along with Psalm 149 and 150) says it all:

“All mountains and hills, all fruit trees and cedars, beasts wild and tame, reptiles and birds on the wing . . . Let them praise the name of the Lord.”

With our warm greetings and prayers,

Abbot Christian and the monks

September 5th: Raffle Winners

Our August 2021 Raffle was a success and the winners for the drawing are as follows:

10 prizes of $500 each:

J.O. of Allen, TX

J.G. of Seminole, TX
N.P. of Pinole, CA
N.V. of Sarasota, FL
L.N. of Jersey Village, TX
P.H. of Houston, TX
T.V. of Garland, TX
E. E. of Houston, TX
J.S. of Los Alamos, NM
T.V. of Carrollton, TX

3 prizes of $1,000 each:

R.W. of Austin, TX
C.A. of Albuquerque, NM
T.K. of Albuquerque, NM

Grand prize of $2,000:

C.V. of Dallas, TX

Congratulations to all the winners and thanks to all who participated in this fundraising event. We are really grateful for your generous help.

Special thanks to our Brother Jude Vo, who organized and sold so many of the tickets, also those who assisted him, we extend our thanks.


Abbot Christian and the monks

September 3rd: Resurfacing

A large section of Highway 84, running from Abiquiu to Chama, has recently been resurfaced. Forest Service Road 151, our “driveway,” though, remains a dirt and gravel road.

Day visitors to the Monastery are welcome daily from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Sunday Mass is at 9:15 am. The Giftshop is open during visiting hours also.

We offer our prayers and greetings to all our families and friends.

Abbot Christian and the monks


September 2nd: Hummingbird Visit

Sometimes hummingbirds fly into our church through the large front door, usually open all summer during the day.

The little bird photographed here could not find the way out and eventually landed on the floor of the church. Two monks rescued the bird and got it refreshment from one of our numerous hummingbird feeders. Once revived, the bird was on its way to the rest of its life.

With our prayers for all at the beginning of a new month, traditionally dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows, whose feast is September 15, precisely in the middle of the month. Mary’s Birthday is also recounted on September 8th.

Abbot Christian and the monks

September 1st: Roses Still Bloom

There’s sweetness in an apple tree,
And profit in the corn;
But lady of all beauty
Is a rose upon a thorn.

Christina Rossetti

August 31st: Good Zeal

“The monks should anticipate one another in honor; most patiently endure one another’s infirmities, whether of body or of character; vie in paying obedience one to another–no one following what he considers useful for himself, rather what benefits another.”

Rule of Saint Benedict, chapter 72


August 30th: Adoration

“God has not created us merely to work with our hands and our brain, but rather to adore in the deep silence of the heart.”

French Benedictine Henri Le Saux (1910 – 1973)


"Let everyone that comes be received as Christ."

— The Rule of St. Benedict

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