Historical setting: 590 C.E. Cottage between Annegray and Luxeuil
“Bringing a new bird now.” That was the message that arrived today on the leg of one of our birds. We had sent a message to Annegray that the boys arrived safely but we had not heard back, nor had we received the visitors we were expecting. Apparently Colleen is the only one concerned about baptism immediately. So now we hear that Brother Servant is coming today.
Our guest with the new bird doesn’t arrive until this afternoon. He has just come all the way from Luxeuil. He tells us this grayish feathered bird he brings was fledged at Luxeuil and that is where any messages should be sent from now on. We expect our message of the news of our family landed unread at the dovecote of Annegray, as no one is there anymore but the pigeons.
Brother Servant has barely laid his winter cloak aside when Sister Paula and Colleen have already provided him with hot tea and biscuits.
“So you’ve moved on to Luxeuil?” I ask Brother Servant.
“Indeed. And it all seems a deliberate temptation to threaten our vows. Where is our poverty when we bask like emperors in the soothing waters? How can we be obedient when vast corridors keep the Father at such a distance we can’t even hear his voice. And our obedience to God is challenged by the awe of so much ancient pagan beauty.”
“You’ll surely make it your home soon, with lots of endless psalm singing. I imagine those old Roman halls will chant the new songs of Christians any day now. And you have a church bell to announce the hour.”
Brother Servant argues, “When all the sisters arrive even the chastity of some of the brothers may be at stake.”
Colleen finds a place with us at the table, as Sister Paula goes to the other room to let Ana know of our guest.
Colleen assures Brother Servant the vow of chastity is not entrusted to the monks alone. “Surely the women of Luxeuil will mind those vows most solemnly.” And she asks, “Brother Servant, just what is required by Father Columbanus for a woman to belong to that community?”
The Irish monk raises his eyebrows and looks straight at Colleen. There is an excellent teacher already there so you can practice reading and writing when you are there. So whenever your spirit is ready you will be received.
(Continues Tuesday, February 28)