April 2021 – The Last Easter

As we celebrated the Easter Vigil in our chapel, we realized that this would be the last time we will gather in this space for the great solemnity of our faith – the Resurrection of Christ. It was a somber moment – each of us has memories of significant events that have taken place in this chapel: professions and burials; the renovation from pre-Vatican II to post- Vatican II style; the day the snake crawled out from the organ pipes and the day the termites visited on Holy Thursday. (They truly had a “last supper” that day!) The near-birth of a baby during Sunday liturgy, the dancing of Sister Denise and the beyond-standing-room-only presence of so many during Christmas and Easter liturgies. Of the families that have grown up in our chapel, and the relationships that have been born and flourished. Two of our stained glass windows have already been removed, replaced by thick gray cardboard composite. It is a long, slow goodbye that we have begun to bear.

But to see the new building being enclosed with walls and roofs eases the sadness! We can stand in the new chapel space and envision: seats will be arranged this way, the altar will be hear, the Blessed Sacrament there….and this is the order of the Benedictine windows in the front. We wait now on the roof — a barrel vault style in the form of a cross. Complicated, difficult, but so very meaningful. And once the roof is on, everything will seem even more real, and the excitement of new life will overtake all sorrow —- indeed, resurrection!


*Speaking of the chapel windows, people have asked, which are we saving? The large Benedictine story windows (the 4 Benedictine women, the death of St Benedict, Benedict and Scholastica, Benedict with Maurus and Placid); also the 4 large windows with shields (Pax, Ora et Labora, 2 UIOGD), and the large Benedictine medallion window. Likewise we are saving the Panis Angelorum window, and several of the smaller round cross windows. We are seeking donations to help with the removal, care, transportation and re-installment of these windows! The are quite old and fragile, and under the expert care of Washington Art Glass Studio. If you wish to support this effort, please direct your gift to St. Benedict Monastery and indicate “For Chapel Window Restoration.”

*In addition, the remaining windows in the chapel will be offered for sale. If you are interested in a purchase, please contact Sister Joanna at 703.361.0106.