February 2018


This month was heralded by a screaming wind

during the night, accompanied by

hailstones thudding on the roof ....

The weather has become very cold.

The full moon was visible early this morning,

before the hail became rain.

Some hellebores are in bloom -

as are snowdrops -

and tulips are piercing the soil

with their strong emerging leaves.


The rain is patterning my window again

leaving shining drops.

The trees and bushes are being

attacked by the wind

and the day remains unstable.

Cat Brunie remains on watch in our dormitory.


6th February

The weather has become cold again.

Snow is descending in tiny flakes,

 gathering together in small areas

on the cut grass in our garden.

The Welsh hills in the west are becoming obscured

as the snowfall thickens ....

Sometimes we experience clarity of thought

until something else intervenes

and the understanding is lost...

only to be discovered anew

when our snowfall thoughts melt away.


10th February

Today is the Feast of Saint Scholastica,

the sister of Saint Benedict.

They met for the last time shortly

 before Scholastica died.

When Benedict wanted to return to his monastery his sister wept,

so they stayed together and prayed.


12th February

The cold weather with howling wind

and lashing rain continues.

Hail-stones thundered down again on the flat roof

adjacent to my room.

Yesterday evening I put out more food

for the foxes, which was eaten while

we had our supper.

Now the snow is receding but it is very cold.


This year Lent begins on Wednesday

the 14th of February.


Before one of our parishioners

went to visit some of her family in an even colder clime

she gave us a lovely bouquet of flowers.


“ Every gardener knows that under the cloak of winter

lies a miracle ..... a seed waiting to sprout,

 a bulb opening to the light,

a bud straining to unfurl.

And the anticipation nurtures our dream.”


Barbara Winkler


Ash Wednesday

Return to me with all your heart,

with fasting, with mourning and weeping.

Rend your heart and not your garments.

Return to the Lord your God,

for he is gracious and merciful,

slow to anger and

abounding in steadfast love.


Is not this the sort of fast that pleases me:

to share your bread with the hungry and shelter the homeless poor,

to clothe the man you see to be naked

and not turn from your own kin.

Then will your light shine like the dawn

and your wound be quickly healed over.

 (Texts from our Morning Office)


 The weather seems to be as unsettled

as the world around us.

For a while the sun shines,

and within a short space of time all is clouded over again.

Thick hail thundered down before supper.

A fox came for the food I had scattered

on the  frozen knobbly grass a short while before.

During the night  I heard a fox barking in the darkness....

Does Saint Valentine’s Day herald the mating season ?


Our Hymns for Lent are very descriptive

and full of hope.

The following verses are from an old

Stanbrook Abbey Hymnal.


Almighty Father, loving God,

To whom your fallen children call,

Although our sins deserve your wrath,

Remember that you made us all.


A day will come that is your own,

When all things flower, all is new;

May we rejoice when, on that day,

Your hand has brought us back to you.


May all the creatures you have made

Return to you, blest Trinity,

With man’s imperfect gift of praise

Made perfect in eternity.



 Praying Hands by Dürer


 Psalm 90  from the Grail Psalter


He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High

and abides in the shade of the of the Almighty

says to the Lord : “My refuge,

my stronghold, my God in whom I trust ! “


His love he set on me, so I will rescue him;

protect him for he knows my name.

When he calls I shall answer: “I am with you.”

I will save him in distress and give him glory.


 I was rummaging among some old cards

when I came across the following

quotation about Lent by

Alexander Schmemann

 “ Bright sadness is the true message

and gift of Lent.

Little by little we begin to understand,

or rather feel, that the sadness of Lent

is indeed “bright”,

that a mysterious transformation

is about to take place in us.

It is as if we were reaching a place

to which noise and the fuss of life ...

all that usually fills our days and even nights

have no access ...

It is a deep happiness which comes

 not from a single particular reason

but from our soul having,

in the words of Dostoyevsky,

touched “another world.”

And that which it has touched

is made up of light and peace and joy,

of an inexpressible trust.”



Design by

Paula Fairlie OSB

Wishing you every blessing, now and always.