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January 15, 2017
St. Benedict and the Reading of Books
The Rule of St. Benedict has several references to reading. We may not think of a monastery in the sixth century as having books or a library, but that inference can be drawn from a number of places in the Rule. It seems evident that not all monks were literate, but St. Benedict promoted reading at meals, so all could avail themselves of the knowledge and wisdom of the spiritual classics.
“The meals of the brethren should not be without reading….And let absolute silence be kept at table, so that no whisperings may be heard nor any voice except that of the reader’s...the brethren are not to read or chant in order [of rank in the community], but only by those who edify their hearers.” (Chap. 38 on the Weekly Reader)
St. Benedict has recommendations about what the monks should read. Scripture, of course, has pride of place, then secondarily, books which help one to know Scripture and how to live a virtuous life. “For what page or what utterance of the divinely inspired books of the Old and New Testaments is not a most unerring rule for human life? Or what book of the holy Catholic Fathers does not loudly proclaim how we may come by a straight course to our Creator? Then the Conferences [of Cassian] and the Institutes and the Lives of the [Desert] Fathers, as also the Rule of our holy Father [St.] Basil—what else are they but tools of virtue for right-living and obedient monk?” (Chap. 73)
Another interesting note in the Rule is that St. Benedict legislates during Lent reading is to be done in the morning for an hour instead of normal work and each monk is to receive from the library a book to read. “On the days of Lent, let them apply themselves to their reading, and from then until the tenth hour [4 PM], let them do the work assigned them. And in these days of Lent, they shall each receive a book from the library, which they shall read straight through from the beginning. These books are to be given out at the beginning of Lent.” (Chap. 48 On the Daily Manual Labor)
The last intriguing note is that the brethren are to rest after the noonday meal. However, if any prefer to read during this time, they are to do so in a manner which does not disturb the silence and the other monks who are sleeping. This detail implies that “reading” normally meant “talking out loud”. This is in contrast to our day and age in which “reading” is presumed to be “silent and to oneself”, rather than out loud and for others to hear. (Chap. 48)
St. Benedict’s “School of the Lord’s Service” (Prologue of the Rule), which is the monastery and its ordered way of life, would not be complete without a well-stocked library. It is in this spirit that Marymount Hermitage has received, purchased, saved and stored books since its inception. Now with the erection of Mercy House, our “School” will have its valuable and necessary library.
December 7, 2016
CHRISTMAS GREETING from Sister M. Beverly, HSM:
Merry Christmas! Thank you for visiting Marymount Hermitage in a virtual way through this website and section on the proposed Mercy House: the new library and house of hospitality. The goal for construction of the new building is $213,000 with ground-breaking set for the spring of 2017, God willing and weather permitting. To date, as of December 6, 2016, we have almost $50,000. This total stated amount is for construction of the building only, and does not provide for interior furnishings nor contingency funds. I appreciate both your prayers for the completion of this project and your gifts to fund it. We pray daily for the friends, neighbors and benefactors of Marymount Hermitage, both living and deceased. In addition to this, Mass is offered monthly for this intention by a hermit priest in eastern Oregon.
Reminder: If you are sending a donation for Mercy House, please indicate this on the Memo line of your check or at least in your enclosed note. Undesignated donations will be used for the maintenance of Marymount Hermitage, as in the past. Marymount Hermitage and library funds are recorded separately. Both operating and construction funds are needed and appreciated.
Website: Please read the December 2016 newsletter which is a precious and poignant remembrance of the building of Holy Family House, the residence for Sister Rebecca Mary and me, and how this applies to the building of Mercy House now, fifteen years later. Holy Family House, which we called “The House that Love built” is a tribute to the generosity of friends in the past. God has always taken such good care of us!
CHRISTMAS MEDITATION AND PRAYER:
Quote from Pope Francis:
“...We have been asked to celebrate the way God has treated each of us and all his people. For this reason, I believe that it is a good time for us to say together: ‘Lord, I have let myself be deceived; in a thousand ways, I have shunned your love, yet here I am once more, to renew my covenant with you. I need you. Save me once again. Lord, take me once more into your redeeming embrace (Evangelii Gaudium: The Joy of the Gospel encyclical, #3).”
This may not seem immediately like a quote for Christmas, but I will tell you why it struck me as appropriate. There is so much suffering in the world, in families, within our own lives and in our own hearts. I have had to tell myself: Nothing has changed. God is still in his heavens. We need a savior, and fortunately we have one in Jesus Christ, the Word made Flesh. Nothing fundamental has changed. All is right with the world. For me, I need the reminder this Christmas that it is all about Jesus coming to save us, to show us the merciful face of the Father, to enable us to suffer yet continue on our journey to the Kingdom of Heaven. The joy of the journey comes essentially from knowing that God loves me. Dorothy Day always quoted St. Catherine of Siena and I love this thought myself: All the way to heaven is heaven, because He Himself said he was ‘the Way’. Wow! Nothing can change the source of our joy. Suffering and death are not going to separate us from Jesus. On the contrary, Jesus allows me to live his passion in my life, knowing that, united to his suffering on the cross, not only is it my salvation, but that I console the heart of Jesus when I am willing to embrace suffering with him and like him.
What does the world need today more than faith? It is a great gift which we have been given. What can separate us from the love of God which comes to us in Christ Jesus? This is the way St. Paul writes about this mystery (Rom. 8:35-39). The love and mercy of God were made visible in Jesus, eternal Son of God, born of the Virgin Mary in a stable in Bethlehem two thousand years ago. We celebrate this on Christmas. This Christmas may we all find in a deeper, fuller way, the love of God, which is the source of lasting joy and peace which the world and evil cannot take from us.
I am happy to announce plans for a new building at Marymount Hermitage: MERCY HOUSE.
Mercy House: a library, hospitality house, guest parlor and gift shop.
Mercy House: a permanent memorial to the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy.
The new library will be dedicated to the Pope of Mercy, Pope St. John Paul II.
The kitchen/utility room will be dedicated to the newest Saint of Mercy, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, to be canonized on September 4, 2016 by the express wish of Pope Francis.
The guest parlor/gift shop will be dedicated to the first saint canonized in the New Millennium, St. Faustina, Polish mystic of Divine Mercy.
The new building will be located across the roadway from the chapel. Mercy House will be 40’ x 44’ with a panoramic view of the mountains seen from the library windows, an entrance porch and small back patio. The cost is to be $213,000. If this building fund goal is reached by Christmas 2016, ground-breaking will be in April, 2017. God willing, Bishop Peter F. Christensen, Bishop of Boise, will bless Mercy House in October, 2017.
Thank you for reading this and the letter from Bishop Peter Christensen.
(Click letter to read the Bishop's letter in PDF format)
Bishop Peter’s interest in and approval for the fund-raising and construction of Mercy House assures me that this is God’s will. I would ask three favors from you:
1. Please pray for this intention. If you only say one Our Father, you will have supported a new era for Marymount Hermitage and the new Mercy House. Other suggested prayers would be to say the Chaplet of Mercy or to ask St. Joseph the Worker to intercede for us for success and safety for the workmen.
2. Prayerfully consider making a donation of $50. All donations, large or small, will be acknowledged and are tax deductible. With your gift, please indicate if you need a tax receipt. Checks should be made out to Marymount Hermitage. Benefactors, both living and dead, are remembered daily in the prayers of the community and monthly Mass is offered for them.
3. Lastly, please visit our website often. The Library webpage will allow you to see a dollhouse view of the new building, see photos of the construction phases, read the Facts Sheet and Frequently Asked Questions. This section will be regularly updated. The Marymount Hermitage newsletter page is posted by the 15th of each month.
Your spiritual and material support is greatly appreciated. God bless you!
With love and prayers in Christ Jesus,
Sister Mary Beverly, HSM Superior of Marymount Hermitage
About MERCY HOUSE (click pictures to enlarge)
A new building is planned at Marymount Hermitage as a permanent memorial to the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy 2015-2016, as a commemorative facility dedicated especially to the Most Holy Trinity: Jesus the Word of God, Face of the Merciful Father, and the Spirit of Truth who is Love.
The library/hospitality house will host the extensive religious books comprising the Marymount Hermitage collection developed over 35 years, the result of many generous donations.
It will serve as a conference hall for use by parish and other groups, especially those who ask Sister M. Beverly to offer them teachings for their day of prayer while here on pilgrimage.
It will have two small hospitality rooms: a parlor and a kitchen.
(Entry Way View from Front Door)
The guest parlor provides a suitable room for spiritual direction, visiting, and business consultations.
The parlor will also double as a gift shop, so rosaries, flower cards, baby booties, and other gift items made at the Hermitage are available for display and sale.
The parlor will be equipped for overnighters in the rare event when all the hermitages are occupied and we have a request from another short-term retreatant.
The kitchen can be used to provide a hot lunch for day groups, a place to visit at table over a cup of tea, a work space for the librarian, and a utility room to store linens and to do laundry when retreatants leave.
(Expanded Interior of Meeting Room - View Looking North)
Mercy House will have multiple functions for the community, retreatants, neighbors and visitors: checking out books from the library, a cozy reading room with windows facing the mountains, a conference room to learn more about the faith and Scripture, and a reception hall after special event Masses at Marymount Hermitage.
Each room of Mercy House will dedicated to a great, modern, Mercy Saint: the library to Pope St. John Paul II, the Mercy Pope; the kitchen to St. Teresa of Calcutta, Missionary of Charity, and spiritual mother to the poorest of the poor, who will be canonized by the express wish of Pope Francis on Sept. 4, 2016 in the Year of Mercy; and the guest parlor to St. Faustina, Polish mystic of Divine Mercy, first canonized saint of the new millennium.
(Side Angle View of Main Meeting Room)
MERCY HOUSE: Time Line
October 22, 2015: Sister M. Beverly drew up the first floor plan of the library and two small rooms which will comprise the new building. Later she realized that this day is the feast day of Pope St. John Paul II and she got the inspiration to call the new building Mercy Hall. Mary Chamberlin suggested the name “Mercy House” and we have designated that as our choice.
February 22, 2016: The Board of Directors of Marymount Hermitage, Inc. accepted the plan of building a new library.
April 19, 2016: Bishop Peter F. Christensen, Bishop of Boise, met with Sister M. Beverly and approved the plan and fund-raising efforts for the new library/hospitality house. Bishop offered to write a letter to accompany the letter Sister Beverly is sending to potential benefactors.
May, 2016: Jack Roberts of Council, ID hired as the general contractor.
Steve Curtis of SMC Design in Nampa, ID hired as architectural designer.
July 13, 2016: Letters mailed to all on our mailing list and to all the US Bishops asking for donations for the building fund. Goal is $213,000 with $2,500 donated to date.
Christmas, 2016: Fund-raising goal achieved, God willing.
January, 2017: Jack Roberts will be authorized to begin hiring sub-contractors for construction work.
April, 2017: Ground-breaking for Mercy House; construction projected to take 3-4 months.
Bishop Peter F. Christensen, Bishop of Boise, will bless Mercy House in 2018. Date still pending.
Basic Building Specifications:
Size: 40’ x 44’ plus covered front porch and back patio facing the mountains to the north.
Design: Some architectural features of the chapel will be incorporated, so that the two, main, public buildings at Marymount Hermitage are similar.(Click images to enlarge)
Location: Across the roadway from the chapel, some distance to the right as you look out NE from the chapel doors.
Orientation of bldg.: N by NE
Website: Architectural sketches are available here. View, and send us your comments.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
I am happy to contribute to the building of the new library, but I am worried about when Sister Beverly will no longer be there. What will happen to Marymount Hermitage in the future?
The Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon whose motherhouse is in Beaverton, Oregon will receive the corporation and assets of Marymount Hermitage when Sister Beverly can no longer live in Mesa, Idaho. The Superior General of the SSMO’s is already on the Board of Directors for Marymount Hermitage, Inc.
Why talk about the library during Christmas time? Just wondering.
Jesus Christ is the Word made flesh. He is present to us now in his divine Person, with a human nature. He is present in the Church founded as his Mystical Body. He is present in the written word which comes to us as the Jewish Scriptures (the Old Testament) and the Greek Christian Scriptures (the New Testament). This “book” (which is really a library!) is called “the Bible” and we believe it is the Word of God. Jesus is present in his written word which is sacred, truthful and unchanging because he is The Truth in person. The library for Marymount Hermitage is mostly (but not exclusively) a Christian Catholic religious collection of books. For those who are seeking the Truth, there are many books to point them in the right direction. We can find genuine truth in books of theology, Scripture studies, philosophy, history, biography, and even good fiction (just to name a few categories). Mercy House will be a tribute to Jesus the Word of God.
The goal of the capital campaign is $213,000. How much of the money needs to be in hand before you begin construction of Mercy House?
All of it! That is the short answer. In this regard, Marymount Hermitage comes under the diocesan policy for new construction which specifies that we cannot take out a loan or go into debt to build. We hope and pray that by December 31, 2016, we will have the total amount in hand, so the general contractor can begin lining up his sub-contractors and actual work can begin, weather permitting, in the spring of 2017, in either March or April.
What does “regular update” mean in reference to this Library section on the website?
Until construction begins, “regular” means monthly, ideally when the newsletter is posted before the 15th of each month. For the interim, the updates will refer mainly to the total amount raised and incoming questions about the project. When construction begins, God willing, Sister M. Beverly will post weekly photos of the building progress.
Is the Marymount collection of books worthy of a new library building?
Actually, a priest friend asked me this question and I was rather surprised. I would say, “Yes, of course!” I am proud of the books we have collected over 35 years. We have been selective about what we buy, accept and offer for use by others.
Are you accepting donations of books?
We will accept books after Mercy House is up and running. Currently, we do not have adequate storage space to acquire more books at this time. Secondly, books will be accepted only if they fit the categories of what we collect and if we do not already have them.
You can make a list of the books you would like to donate to verify with us that we can use them in the future. Secondly, you can give permission for us to give away your books to other institutions, if we cannot keep them for whatever reason. Lastly, we do not accept magazines or booklets which are paper back. We prefer hardback books because they will hold up better for years on the library shelves and in people’s hands.
Why are you building a new library?
The existing library is too small, was never built on a permanent foundation, and is in a location hard to access, down a steep hill. The new building will be on level ground, near the chapel and parking lot, and will be handicap accessible.
Isn’t Sister Beverly too old to take on a big project like this?
If you are wondering who dared to ask this very pertinent but delicate question, the answer is ME, Sister M. Beverly! I have always dreamed of a new, large, adequate, easily accessible library, but assumed I would never live long enough to see it happen.
The existing common house has had to be abandoned because it is too dilapidated with frozen and broken pipes throughout many winters. It is currently without water and closed to the public. The current library is too small and there is no reason to upgrade the existing modular building. Thus the project for building a new library/hospitality house has been thrust upon me and Marymount Hermitage out of sheer necessity. God has made his will known by concrete circumstances.
How long will Sister Beverly live at Marymount Hermitage to use the new building?
The new library/hospitality house is not about me. It is about the next era for Marymount Hermitage, what is needed, and what can reasonably be envisioned as useable in the future. One aspect of Mercy House is that it will provide Sister Beverly with opportunities to earn her living at Marymount, rather than always traveling elsewhere to teach or give retreats.
The new building fits well into the development of Marymount and its charism in the Church and for Sister Beverly’s vocation as a hermit as she moves into old age. At age 67, it is something I realistically consider, though I am in excellent health at this time. When I am no longer able to live at Marymount Hermitage, the campus will be used by a religious community. This is all planned legally and financially to protect to assets of Marymount Hermitage and the continuation of its contribution to the life of the Church in the Diocese of Boise.
Anyone who has a serious concern or question about the details of this is welcome to write to me for a personal response. If you would like to contact one of the members of the Board of Directors, you can request their contact information.
Who will use the library?
The library will be used by the community, retreatants, and neighbors and friends of Marymount Hermitage. Besides being able to find books to read while on retreat at Marymount, the library is being made available for “distance learning” specifically in two ways. Sister M. Beverly frequently takes books with her on a specific topic for display and “lending library” table when she is giving teachings and retreats in parishes or other venues.
Secondly, for years now, Ellen Piper and her helpers have been cataloging our books on the computer, continuing the work of former volunteer librarians. Currently, Mary Chamberlin has undertaken this prodigious effort so that, at its completion, people will be able to request books online and have books mailed to their homes, a “borrowing by mail” arrangement. Who can use the library? Lots of people! I would rather lose some books loaning them out than have books safely on a shelf and no one reading them.
What will happen to the old library building?
This building is a sturdy 12’ x 32’ modular which is built on steel girders, has axles, and was never put on a permanent foundation. It can be moved by attaching wheels, which is what we intend to do. It will be given to a Catholic non-profit named Dorothy Day Place, Inc. which was founded to minister to the homeless of Boise.
What will happen to the old common house?
This building is also a 12’ x 32’ modular but is on a permanent foundation. One of its essential functions in the infrastructure of Marymount Hermitage is that it houses the pressure tank which supports the whole water system on the campus. The building will eventually be modestly ungraded and used only for the water works, for storing the archive file cabinets, and for temporary storage for recycling. The building will remain closed to the public..