Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Visit to Clear Creek, Continued

Last post I mentioned my family's drive down to Clear Creek Monastery, located in beautiful eastern Oklahoma. I hope to describe a little better our experience at the Monastery and guest house this time.
Apropos of this blog, today's mail included an unexpected jewel: a DVD from Clear Creek! It looks to be a sort of documentary, although I haven't seen it yet. I'll be watching it this weekend with the family all gathered for Thanksgiving. Notice to fund raising monasteries: give out free cd's and dvd's and you'll ALWAYS get lots of grateful donations! I really enjoyed the chant cd that was first sent us about 6 months back.
Anyway, the Mass and all other formal prayers are held in the crypt. My family went in for Vespers the first day as we had arrived in the afternoon. It is a very simple, slightly dark, cavernous room that is roughly split into thirds: the first third is for laypersons to attend, the second third holds the monks, and the final third has the main altar and further back another altar against the wall at the far end of the room.
After Vespers (and a very wiggly little boy on my lap) we walked outside. I want to say a little something about pro-life attitudes: these monks HAVE it! While my baby was quite often babbling away (he was almost 1 at the time of the trip) and making those baby noises that make parents nervous that everybody is focusing on them. The monks that we talked to were so excited to hold him and give him a ton of attention, naturally. There was nothing put on about it.
There was an evening Rosary lead by the caretaker in another building, and a few laypersons and two nuns (not sure which order they are) joined for our election. After that I returned to the lodge to do some spiritual reading before bed. The place was very quiet, and so dark you could see a lot of stars outside.
As you can tell, I can't really give justice to my visit, but I recommend anyone able to visit does so, and soon. How long will we have the ability to travel like we do now? It's important to support such intensely Catholic places such as Clear Creek.
Those interested in a removed, rural life can look into purchasing land in the area. Everyone has acreage! However, visit the monastery and make some contacts before going through an agent- you may get a much better deal.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Visit to Clear Creek

I recently took my family to Clear Creek Monastery for the first time, and I'd like to narrate a little bit of our experience there. Before I start, I'd like to say the obvious: if you can get there, do it!
We input the address of the monastery into our Tom-Tom device and drove from Illinois to Oklahoma over about three days. We attended a TLM in Des Moines in the crypt of St Anthony church, which felt like a church basement (in fairness, it is a church basement), where Msgr Chiodo said Mass and gave a very good homily on Charity. The church (upstairs) is pretty although a little barn-like. It would be nice to see the Latin Mass in the main church.
From Des Moines we headed to Kansas and visited some friends. After a night there we continued to Tulsa, which has an amazing number of large, old churches in about three square blocks downtown! Mass (OF) was about halfway through at the Catholic church, while the other churches were generally empty and locked (it was Monday).
Well, from there we found our way to the monastery, which we found through the help of St. Christopher and (likely) St. Benedict, as our Tom-Tom's coordinates were not quite right. There are signs posted which I initially ignored, but we found our way there. Clear Creek is in the middle of nowhere. I say that as a compliment, of course, because this is a monastery removed from the world, geographically and spiritually.
Everyone here is very friendly and welcoming. If you are used to a small town atmosphere it will be familiar. We talked to one or two monks initially who pointed us to the guest house where we could freshen up and unpack (contact them via mail before visiting if possible). The guest house is run by a family that lives on the property. They are warm, welcoming people and we felt right at home with them.

Part II will continue soon...