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Dear Oblates,

Peace to you and I hope this finds you well. I am happy to let you know that we have the dates for the 2018 Oblate retreat arranged for August 31 - September 3. We don't have a presenter yet, but I hope to have that in place soon. And as we did last year, we invite you to stay over on the Sunday night and join us down by the river for our barbecue on Monday.

Our two part-time resident oblates have returned after their home leave over the Christmas period. As always, it is good to have them back with us and assist us in our monastic life. Scholastica and Francesca have settled into the monastic rhythm so well that it is always hard for us when they leave. So we thank God for their commitment to us all.

Oblates are becoming such an important part of a monastery (not just ours) in the world today. They truly fulfill their 'oblation' in so many ways when they extend themselves and live in the monastery under a Superior and the Rule, remembering the promises offered to God when they made their oblation.

JoAnn Turner will be coming here in March for about 10 days to offer her skills once more in my Office. She really is so well skilled with the computer and she can just 'make things happen'! And that's what I need to make my day run a little smoother. And she is such a happy person, so she lifts me up too! Ezra and Christy Hubbard who live close by are also ever ready to help us - I often call upon Ezra to help me with various projects, and he also is a person who can make things happen, so I am very blessed.

The other week I opened up the old lap top I used when I was studying in Rome to re-read some of my College work and was not able to access it with the password I was using, I tried everything I could think of, to no avail. So, I called Ezra, told him I had forgotten the password, and he simply said try 1234, bingo, it worked!

So, one never knows when an oblate can be called upon for assistance in so many ways. We thank those of you who continue to support us, and we remind you not to be strangers - we love seeing you when you come back to your monastic home.

May God bless as we begin our Lenten journey, and may Mary the Mother of God fill you with her grace and love.

In Christ, Abbot Aidan, OSB