Saint Meinrad Archabbey

A catholic monastery devoted to the teachings of St. Benedict

Seeking Solitude

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Some time passed while he was so engaged. One day, he took with him some students he had brought up, and crossing the lake, entered a deserted place which adjoined the lakeshore. He went all the way to the Swiss Alps[6] and came to the village of Chama to do some fishing-and to find a place for a hermitage.

So they came to a certain river which flowed down in that solitude. And there the blessed man engaged his companions in fishing, while he on the other hand wandered about, alone with himself, contemplating the solitude. For he was very much on fire with love for this solitary place.

After pasturing his mind for a long time on this thought, he returned to his comrades and found them weighed down with no small catch of fish. And he said to them: "Thanks be to God, who in his generosity has mercifully enriched us with his gifts. Now my sons, if you please, we must return and look after our home." They went back and came down to the village located not far from the shore.

Meinrad -seeks -help -of -woman
St. Meinrad seeks the help of a woman.

There they entered the inn of a certain woman, rested a little while, and refreshed themselves with food and drink. But the man of God, discerning that this woman was God-fearing and very ready to look after guests, opened to her the secret desire of his mind.

And he began in these words: "O woman dear to Christ, did you want to hear it, I would tell you the secret of my heart. But before I do, I ask you to keep my will and words hidden, until you see whether the work can be accomplished which I think myself to have conceived with a devout mind. Living in this lonely place delights me beyond all riches, and if I found someone who wanted to supply my bodily necessities out of the love of God, I would want even now to put my cabin here, so that I could be free to pray more frequently. But since I am denied this consolation at present, I ask that in the meantime what I desire be hidden."

Inspired by God (as I believe), the woman replied: "I will reveal your secret to no one as long as it is against your wish, but you should know that if you decide to persist in your undertaking, I will supply your necessities for the sake of God, and help you in your vow as much as I can."

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  • 6 In the text, the Penine Alps, but which as named today would be too distant from Lake Zurich. Return to text.