Author Archive

The Wisdom of the Younger

Posted by admin On August - 14 - 2015

I like to be in charge. I grew up in a single parent home the eldest of four children and I won’t say I was bossy…ok I will say it. As the eldest, I was in charge when my mom wasn’t home and my management style relied a lot on being loud and pushy.

As an adult who found herself the single parent, I was in charge again and things didn’t change much. I guess you could say my family relationship motto is “My way or the highway”.

Now in community I find myself in another type of “family”. When I was a postulant, Sister Judy would say “think of us as a family” whenever I questioned roles, responsibilities or behaviors. “We love each other like family” she would say.

“A dysfunctional family” I would murmur to myself. You see I had decided early on that our community was dysfunctional because they didn’t do things the right way—my way. I found myself constantly challenging the authority of not only the Prioress but the older sisters too. “Why won’t they listen to me?” I moaned to my friends. I was having a hard time being the younger sister. But then I found a way to fix the problem through the Rule of Benedict no less.

Chapter Three of the Rule of St. Benedict is titled, Calling the Community to Counsel and it deals with how the Prioress, the undisputed head of the community, is to make decisions. Benedict says that the Prioress calls the community together and asks their advice. And here is the kicker—“the youngest first”.

So as the newest member of the community, I was duty bound to follow the Rule and show the older sisters how things should be done. Fortunately, we all survived my novice year. Unfortunately, my pride suffered greatly. Who knew that the brilliant ideas I had about this or that had already been tried and discarded? Why older sisters of course because they were the ones who tried them.

After living the Rule for a while now, I have come to understand that what Benedict doesn’t say in the Rule is as important as what he does. I think the unspoken truth of letting the younger go first is that maybe after they have had their say, there might be room in their head for someone else’s opinion.

So now when we are called to Chapter I say my piece and then listen to the other sisters. And try not to plot my takeover. I guess I am still a work in progress. Thanks be to God!

Sister Kathy Curtis (aka KC)



Posted by admin On June - 22 - 2015

We have recently celebrated Sr. Kathy Curtis’ final profession!  What a joyous celebration!   The reading chosen for the occasion was taken from Sr. Joan Chittister’s commentary on the Rule of Benedict, chapter 58 “The Procedure for Receiving Members”.  She states that “Benedictine life is rooted in three dimensions:  commitment to a community, fidelity to a monastic way of life and obedience… We are to be totally open to the constantly emerging challenges of the God-life within us and …learn to see the globe through eyes softened by the Gospel…  We are to see change and challenge in life as God’s voice in our ears.”

All that sounds like quite a mouthful!  However, when I think of what it means to commit to be faithful I realize that applies to all ways of Christian living.  We’re there for each other through the hard times – when the water pipes freeze and break, when trees fall on buildings, when cancer is diagnosed (events that occurred this past winter!).  But we’re there for the good times too.  Spring does come.   Winter is over and repairs are completed.  Friends come to celebrate and flowers bloom.   Our response to these things is our openness to the God-life within us.

And so we do learn to see things with new eyes – eyes that are softened by the Gospel.  This is our journey of conversion.   It’s our daily striving to live the Gospel message a little better; to change our harsh ways, to respond to someone else’s need when we would rather not be bothered.  This past winter when we were all snowed-in at the monastery, Sr. Kathy Curtis reminded us that “patience is not just the ability to wait but how we behave while we’re waiting”!  And that too is part of the conversion process.  We learn to change our thinking from competition to “how can we work together?”  Instead of issues being either black or white we learn there is a gray area.  And so we grow in unity with others.

Life is messy!  But together we journey, loving and caring for each other.  Congratulations Sr. Kathy!  And blessings on you as you continue your journey with us.


Eileen & me


Thoughts on Perpetual Profession

Posted by admin On June - 22 - 2015

It was not my plan to become a nun. I am a Protestant and to us religious life generally means a life spent in mission. I have come to believe that is still the definition of religious life. However what we are at Mt. Tabor is monastic and that is another way of living in mission.

I remember my first visit to Mt Tabor. It was for Thanksgiving dinner and during the meal the conversation turned to the progress of the Sister’s quest to become ecumenical. “That means I could live here” I remember thinking to myself. But then quickly thought, “But God has called me to mission in Maytown.” Isn’t it funny how we don’t see the forest for the trees.

After 5 ½ years of living this life I have come to see that God is continually growing us into holiness. For some that is marriage and a family. For some missionary outposts and service. For some, monastic life. Whatever the format, the goal is the same- – to know and love God.

So God draws me. This time, this place, these people. “For the rest of my life”. Those words hit my  youngest son hard. He always thought I would be moving back to Florida. But he is getting used to the idea. As I was driving my family to the airport to return to Florida I heard him say, “It’s been a heck of a weekend. My mom married God!”

Sister Kathy Curtis


suscipe family


Summer Fog

Posted by admin On June - 2 - 2015

It is 9:30 in the morning here in the mountains but the sun hasn’t come out yet. The fog drifts between the trees and around the buildings reminding me that I don’t really know what is going on “out there”. My vision is limited.

Too often we charge into the day, the project, the relationship without really looking. The assumption is that everything is just as we left it last time so it is OK to put ourselves on automatic pilot and think about what comes next instead of paying attention to what is now.

This spring floods were prevalent in Floyd County. I knew that several roads in the area were damaged but was unprepared for the bump as I drove over a road that had been solid pavement only days before but now had sunk three inches. The really sad thing is that there were warning signs posted as well as the obvious break in the road but I was not there. I was someplace else.

So I am practicing awareness…again. I am trying to really be present to what is going on around and in me. I think to myself, “I am writing a blog post.” And supposedly that will keep me present and open to what God is doing around me now.

I have to confess though. This is a very short post and I have wandered off several times. I am writing a blog post on summer fog but really I am trying to learn how to live in the light of now.

2015 Holy Week Schedule

Posted by admin On April - 1 - 2015


(All services at the monastery unless otherwise stated.

Please let the Sisters know if you are planning on attending.)


Thursday:         St. James Foot Washing Service                5:00

Holy Thursday Service and Dinner           6:00

St. Martha’s Mass                                          6:30

Friday:             Tenebrae                                                           9:00

Lunch                                                                 noon

Stations of the Cross                                      3:00

Dinner                                                               5:00

Mass at St. Martha’s                                      6:30

Gospel of Mark DVD at St. James                7:00

Saturday:        Tenebrae                                                          9:00

Pick up lunch                                                  noon

Dinner                                                               6:00

Easter Vigil Service                                        8:30

Sunday:          Morning Prayer                                              7:00

Breakfast                                                          7:30

Local Church services at their regular times


The Sisters will be in silent retreat beginning after Holy Thursday dinner and ending after Stations of the Cross service.

My New Stand on Scheduling Doctor’s Appointments

Posted by admin On April - 11 - 2014

Winter has been long and cold this year and not very conducive to travel. I say that because I experienced some health issues this year and had to travel to Lexington for treatment. With absolutely no exception we had a winter storm every day I had an appointment. And to top it all off, my surgery was scheduled during an ice storm. Yes, I know the surgery was scheduled BEFORE the Weather Channel decided to name Winter Storm whatever but it still makes me feel targeted. So I have come to a decision, no more doctor appointments, surgeries or procedures until the weather cooperates.

I feel pretty confident in making this decision since the redbuds are blooming and the temps are in the 70’s. But then again, there is blackberry winter to consider. I may have to rethink this position but until then, may the redbuds bloom, the bluebirds sing and the oak trees bud. Spring is here.



Ora et Labora

Posted by admin On March - 7 - 2013

Our community has recently started a new practice at morning praise. On the last Friday of the month we have a declaration of gratitude ceremony. After the reading we each take turns coming to the lectern and telling the community something that we are grateful for that month. Sometimes we bring an object to represent the feeling.

This past month our guests were encouraged to participate in the ceremony. Helen, one of our oblates, is a Navy doctor who just returned from six months in Japan. She came to the front holding a rather large garden tool. She called it a bush hog and said that she was grateful for the opportunities she had at the monastery to work with her hands outside in the gardens. She had spent several hours that week digging up brambles and the bush hog was her favorite tool for doing that because it got right in to the roots.

Helen laid the bush hog on the floor in front of the lectern with the rest of our offerings and we finished prayer. Sitting quietly as the others left chapel, I noticed the bush hog was laying in front of the office book I had laid there opened to Psalm 51 which we had read just that morning. Psalm 51 is one of my favorites because it speaks of Gods great mercy when we acknowledge our sin and ask for forgiveness.

Gratitude Friday-Office with a bush hog

Ora et labora.  Prayer and work. Benedict says that both are important for us as we journey toward God as monastics. The psalms remind us of who God is, who we are and how that connection is strengthened through daily prayer-the bush hog that gets right to our roots.

A little update from me to you-Sr. Carolyn

Posted by admin On February - 22 - 2013

Today KC was home doing some work so after trying to figure out how to do the blog posting and putting on pictures and failing again she came to my rescue.

For some of you who may not know, my father died before Christmas.  I was able to get home to be with my family.  He had a peaceful death.  He was 92 and had Parkinsons and dementia.

When I was home and also when I returned to the monastery, I was getting headaches every day and ended up in the emergency room with the biggest migraine I had every had with numbness on the left side of my body.  It was a bit scary.  I am now on medication that seems to be working and one med just for migraines.  So now I am back to as normal as I can be.

The good stuff is that the daffodils are out and they are my favorite spring flower.  I think they look like smiling faces on the hillsides, in the grotto and all over the monastery grounds.  We get cold then warmer temps so we enjoy the warmer sunshine days and try to get some outside work done.

It is lent as some of you know and God gives us something to work on and we don’t even have to ask.  That is OK with me.  I figure God knows better than I. So my prayer for you this day is that you will be open to God’s invitation to work in your life in whatever area God’s feels necessary to make you the best you can be.     Peace to all.  CarolynKburke 011


Continuation of the article in our winter newsletter

Posted by admin On February - 22 - 2013

            My CNA class was also useful in a personal way when I was allowed the opportunity to go home for a month and help my family with caring for my dad.  He is at home and is bedridden.  He is in the later stages of Parkinson’s.  At this time, he has Home Health and Hospice.  This time at home gave my sisters who are closer a break.  Not only helping with my dad but getting some inside and outside jobs.  This time was a gift to see my family, use my knowledge I just acquired, and feeling good about what I had accomplished around the house. 

            More gifts were my vacation time in Wisconsin with Sr. Judy and Kathy Burke.  We went fishing up north at Pelican Lake where Kathy grew up and Post Lake.  I didn’t catch a big one this year but God’s gift was seeing two eagles, an osprey and the joy of seeing them enjoy themselves.  Kathy’s sister, Maureen, joined us and we had many laughs as they shared family stories.  Another gift was my retreat time here at the monastery and our community days at Sharon Hubert’s home.  Of course every day if we are aware, is full of gifts from God.  We as a community have now a monthly sharing of gratitude during morning liturgy.  It is a special time to share what each has experienced during the month.  We have all realized that we can be grateful for even the difficult times as well as the good.

            I am hoping to but some pictures on the blog so you will see if I can do it.  Peace to each and everyone one of you. 


                                  Carolyn and Kathy Christmas 004    


Posted by admin On September - 19 - 2012

The last few days I have noticed the trees are starting to change color. Hummingbirds and butterflies are becoming scarce and spiders are everywhere. I guess it is inevitable that summer is ending. 

This has been a season of change in more ways than the weather for me. My friends Beth & Dan Chauncy whose ministry at the Maytown Center brought me to Kentucky, have moved on to the next thing God has planned for them. The Maytown Center has become a part of Merizdo Ministries and even though my day to day participation at the Center had changed a lot over the last two years, my time there is coming to an end also.

There is change in the garden too. Tomatoes are slow to ripen and pepper plants are drying up. Zucchini and summer squash plants are still blooming but the pollinators are few and far between so the beautiful flowers die on the vine. The overnight growth of okra and cucumbers is giving way to the slower growth of cucurbits and greens.

There has been change at the Monastery too. Campbell and Laurie have gone on to what God has for them next too. It has been an adjustment and a time for reflection. I find myself going back to the promises I made almost a year ago. Obedience, Stability and Conversion of Life.

I listen for the voice of God in my community and its leaders. I stay put and persevere through the difficulties. And I change. I become the person God wants me to be. “Receive me O Lord according to Your word and I shall live…”

Blessings on Beth & Dan, on Campbell & Laurie and on those of us who remain. And may we all embrace change.