Communal Anointing at the Monastery

Early in November of this year I was among the sisters in our community who had the comforting and touching experience of the a Communal Anointing of the Sick. Having reached the age of 80 and having recently experienced some heart challenges, I asked to be among those receiving the sacrament. It was so supportive to have over a hundred of my sisters present with me in the Chapel for this beautiful liturgy.
Our Prioress, S. Nancy Bauer, and a Benedictine priest, Fr. Dale Launderville, conducted this communal service of prayer, song, psalm and ritual. They began with a short prayer and went immediately to those of us being anointed and laid hands on each sister’s head. After that our sisters came forward and one after another placed their hands on our heads and prayed silently. I looked into the face of each sister as she lovingly placed her hands in blessing on my head. Here were women who have shared life with me for so many decades in this community.

We live closely in the monastic community, praying side by side, eating meals together and sharing life in small groups here. Thus this experience of Communal Anointing seemed like a fitting continuation of the many blessings and kindnesses that make up our life together.