Rod Dreher

This item about a Benedictine nun drawing spiritual lessons from cheese-making might just be the Platonic ideal of a Rod Dreher blog post. Excerpt:

Mother Noella began her presentation with a slide of a gold-gilded icon of St. Benedict beholding a ray of sunlight. She also showed images of yeast budding in aging cheese, under an electron microscope. She played a video clip of a monk who said that his Benedictine vows of stability and obedience have made him a better cheesemaker. Mother Noella spoke about practicing her vocation by analogy. She likened the cheese ripening process to St. Benedict’s maturation, during three years of solitude. She also suggested that traditional cheeses are losing their souls, largely due to the centralization of production, just as centralization can undermine diversity in monastic life. She showed pictures of her scraping endangered fungi from cave walls in France. She invited us to imagine St. Benedict as a young boy, living alone in a cave. After three years of contemplating God, he left the cave to found monastic communities, his particular vocation. And rising to that occasion, emerging from that cave of voluntary solitude, he looked at the sun. Sister Noella brought her talk on spiritual and professional integration home–to St. Benedict’s ray of light, in the microscopic light of ripening cheese.

Is it possible to buy cheese made from this convent, the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, CT, anywhere? Because I’d sure like to support these holy women and their good work. And I’d like to eat some good cheese, too. Check out this image of St. Benedict eating with his monks; I found it on a foodie site called Gherkins & Tomatoes, accompanying a post about monks and eating.

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