AccessMyLibrary provides FREE access to millions of articles from top publications available through your library.
Byline: Ambeth R. Ocampo
WHEN I ENTERED THE BENEDICTINE ABBEY of Our Lady of Montserrat in 1993, I imagined myself living the rest of my life in silence and solitude. Daily life revolved around the Benedictine ideals of prayer and work (ora et labora). Prayer was non-negotiable, but the type of work was complicated. While washing our clothes someone cheered us up by referring to the life as ora at labada.
I mopped floors, cleaned bathrooms, and tried my hand at gardening. Ordered to tend a plot of Bermuda grass, I pulled both weeds and grass so I was assigned to a bodega of old books. I was in my element, cleaning and classifying the neglected volumes. I read what was written in English or Spanish and filed all the Greek and Latin tomes high up the shelves where only the desperate …