As I mentioned in the first post, Madeleva gathered people in the kitchen and around the table. It was there that we were usually transported by her stories of her latest travel adventures, political undertakings or guest experiences. I looked forward to each meal, I was generally mesmerized and listened with intent while trying not to choke on my meal from laughing or an indignant reaction! She brought them all. But before we began our meal, we would gather around the table and say grace.
It was never left to chance, we said Madeleva’s Prayer:
Bless us O Lord
And make our hearts grateful
For the fruit of the earth
For those who work in the harvest
For those who are seeking
A more just and peaceful world in your name.
Keep in your special care
Those less fortunate than we.
We ask this in Christ’s name. Amen
It is still recited and a sort of warm blanket to those of us who have been going there for so many years. Maureen, her dear friend, now runs the house with a loving, English hand. Quite a contrast from the days of Madeleva but Maureen is well loved, as love comes in many faces. She too was only going to stay “a while”.
There is nothing better than when those who “stay a while” impact our lives indefinitely.
**2016 update: Maureen has left and we have been able to be our own caretakers. The monks figure that at 50, we can now handle cheese sandwiches!**