New Mexico

Saturday: watch a Sheep Performance at the Borders Show.

Sunday: Sleep at Newcastle Airport. The tide won't allow me to catch an early morning plane.

Monday: Fly from London Heathrow to Dallas. Endure four queues, three security checks and non-arrival of baggage. Miss the connection to Albuquerque by one minute. Compose this as my daily prayer tweet: 'Change those crazed centres of stress known as airports into centres of hospitable harmony whose organisation is earthed in prayer'. The patiently waiting saint Esther-Marie Nagiel drives me to Madonna Retreat House, at the headquarters of Santa Fe Archdiocese, which she manages.

Tuesday: Esther thinks I need a visit to the Sandia Health resort to recover from jet lag. She generously pays for me to have my first ever full-length massage, preceded and followed by pampered relaxations, refreshments, newspapers, sauna, steam room, jacuzzi, and scented couched parlours with music. If you don't approve, please note that previously I bussed into the Old Town and spent four hours with Hispanic culture: galleries, church, eating places, market place musicians.

Wednesday: The Retreat House looks down upon the Rio Grande. I walked and clambered down to the lake that adjoins it. We visited the monastery of the Norbertines. where Esther-Marie's soul friend works. Some decades ago a group of Norbertines re-located to this abbey in order to reach out to New Mexico Hispanics. They say morning and evening prayer but their main energy is in educational and pastoral work. They have built hermit cells for customers to hire, and have beautiful sculptures and indigenous pottery and art. Esther and I sat in the John the Baptist cell and conversed about our Community of Aidan and Hilda, its calling, and its retreat that starts on Sunday.

I meet a devout catholic lady from mixed Indian and Hispanic family who explains the history and culture of New Mexico. 'The Franciscans came with a Bible in one hand and a sword in the other and told "the savages" they must convert to the true God' she said. The Aidan Way of defenceless love that listens to and walks among the indigenous people is as needed here as it is among the Anglo's.

I have four talks to give. I came early partly in order to be present to this land of New Mexico, to listen and learn, before I complete my talks. Now, I hope to integrate copious scribblings into my computer scripts.

Pray for us.

Posted at 15:02pm on 30th July 2014
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