“Just as there is an evil zeal of bitterness which separates from God and leads to hell, so there is a good zeal which separates from vices and leads to God and to life everlasting. This zeal, therefore, the sisters should practice with the most fervent love. Thus they should anticipate one another in honor (Rom. 12:10); most patiently endure one another's infirmities, whether of body or of character; vie in paying obedience one to another -- no one following what she considers useful for herself, but rather what benefits another -- ; tender the charity of sisterhood chastely; fear God in love; love their Abbot with a sincere and humble charity; prefer nothing whatever to Christ. And may He bring us all together to life everlasting!” – Rule of Saint Benedict, Chapter 72.
I remember clearly the first time I met Nannette and Robert Meals. They were visiting the Abbey on the weekend when I was to make my Oblation. We were gathered at the Abbey’s farm, called such because it was inhabited by a pair of mules. One mule went scampering over the pen, chasing a pear. “Just like a Presbyterian after a hot dish”, I said. Bob and Nannette laughed, and Bob said “Now I know you’re Presbyterian.
This was the beginning of my relationship with them, one that has lasted several years. Nannette became an Oblate on our retreat the next year. She was a delight! Over the years, I believe, we became great friends. If something had happened at the Abbey that I failed to understand, Nannette would offer an explanation. We also had asthma attacks together whenever someone “overused” the censor. No visit to the Abbey became complete without seeing Bob, now the Abbey’s treasurer, and at least one long talk with Nannette.
That ended this week. I received an email asking for urgent prayer. But by the time I received the email, I read of her death on Facebook. Nannette preferred nothing to Christ. She is now in Christ’s presence, still in her habbit which has transformed itself to white.
Bob, while I cannot know the depth of your pain, I know it must be great. Please know the entire community is lifting you up in prayer. While it cannot ease the pain, please know that Nannette has beaten us to the day of Resurrection.
Brother Oscar Romero