Saturday, May 9, 2009
Letter from Jenny from Scotland
This is a letter from one of my present students in Scotland who took me to Iona and gave me such wonderful memories - I thought you would enjoy hearing from her!
Letter from Scotland
I have been remembering our time on Iona. I had been to the island twice before but last year seemed very special somehow. I think it was because the time we spent in the abbey had a profound effect on me. The atmosphere seemed full of the spirit of the monks who had lived their simple lives of prayer, work and caring for the spiritual needs of the local people.
While we were in the church a member of the Iona community came quietly down the monks’ night stairs, it was almost as if one of the Celtic monks had entered to join his brothers for the night office. Again, a shadowy figure sitting praying in a corner chapel seemed like someone from the past. It was in the chapter room however, that I was most keenly aware of the abiding spirit of the men who had lived their dedicated lives in brotherhood which had been shared and deliberated on in that room.
This whole experience helped me to understand the monastic period we studied last term in your course. It was as if flesh had been put on the bones of history and I was able to live the experience of monastic life in the middle Ages and share the values that inspired and formed their lives.
I find we have so much to learn from the wisdom of the past it is worth taking time to seek out the saints and sages like Columba, Benedict and Augustine because what they taught is just as relevant today.
Your student, Jenny from Scotland
I will be home and sharing some of my trip to the West of the United States with you beginning tomorrow, hopefully.