I asked one of the sisters,
“What mostly do you do here?”
“Mostly…we eat and we pray.”
My camera is typically loaded with black and white film but the overcast skies and the dark monastery rooms made for poor light conditions. The purpose of this 1,100-mile road trip is to clear my head and push myself out of my comfort zone, so I resort to shooting digital and in color. Because the premises are private, photographing the sisters isn’t possible without obtaining 26 release forms. My movement is limited as many of the rooms and sections of the building are off limits. The snow picks up and walking outside requires winter gear I’m not prepared for. Needless to say, my options are limited.
Time to pause. Silence is observed from 9pm to 9am. Embrace this monastic living, this still life. Join the sisters for daily prayer. Share meals three times a day. We eat and we pray is now my mantra. Stop wandering. Stop seeking. Stop projecting. The answers aren’t out there. Break bread in this dining room. At this table. This place. Right here. Now.
Monastery of St. Gertrude, Artist in residence, January 2020, Cottonwood Idaho
With gratitude to the sisters of St. Gertrude's Monastery.