Each monastery in the Cistercian tradition has a lot of autonomy in its day-to-day life, but each monastery also has a Father Immediate. The role of the Father Immediate is to visit the monastery every two years to see how things are going and to give advice and encouragement to the monks. Our Father Immediate is Dom Elias from Gethsemani in Kentucky, the monastery that founded Mepkin. During his visit with us, Dom Elias spoke with each monk in detail and then gave a report on the community. He was very encouraging about the leadership that Father Joe is offering at this time and made some practical suggestions for our life together.
After the Visitation, Dom Elias was joined by Dom Mark, the Abbot of New Melleray Monastery in Iowa, Mother Kathy, the Abbess of Redwoods Monastery in California, and a longstanding friend of Mepkin, Sr. Susan Schorsten. This small group accompanied by Father Joe and Father Guerric, spent two days in reflection on future planning for Mepkin and reported back to the community at the end of their stay. It was a very invigorating time for all. Sr. Susan chaired the group, which will meet back at Mepkin in a year’s time.