July 1, 2008

Retreat Notes 6: Talking

On one of my trips to the bookstore (I like to walk down and up the hill each day) the garrulous German (?) monk Fr. Peter starts a conversation. I'm always amazed at these talkative Trappists. He remembers me from past retreats and recalls that I'm a Franciscan. He notices (from my concelebrating, presumably) that I am now a priest and says that this makes him happy.

He asks me if I have seen Into Great Silence--the DVD is on the store counter for sale. I say that I saw it at Kendall Square in Boston on the night of a huge snowstorm. He says that he saw it there twice, (taking the opportunity during the religious duty of airport runs) and then a third time at the monastery. I'm amazed to hear this, not only because I don't think of Trappists as going to the movies, but because I could hardly bear sitting through the film once.

I make fun of him, saying that I'm surprised to see them even handle the DVD in their store, seeing as in one of the precious few spoken scenes in the film, "Trappist" is used as an insult. He says that he liked the honesty of allowing old monks to appear on film with untrimmed nose and ear hair. "Religious life is not so glamorous as it is often portrayed, brother."


Garpu said...

Hee. That's been my experience, as well. Seems like every community--no matter how small--has to have at least one motormouth. :)

Unknown said...

In my experience there are many Trappists who will talk to everyone except other Trappists.

As for the paradoxes of religious life, my favorite story is about one of our friars encountering a gaggle of cloistered Poor Clare nuns at the Passport Office in Washington, DC.

Brother Charles said...

That's a good one, John. We have that syndrome among the Capuchins too.

The Poor Clare thing is funny too. I once heard a story about how a bunch of them were all made to wear a single wig in INS pictures--they didn't bother to have hair on their heads under their heavy veils.