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Ora et Labora

Photo Credit: RMDurkin Photography

I wonder sometimes at the enormity of our Catholic faith and how it has spanned the centuries, marching steadily and consistently through time. This concept is never more evident than when you spend time in a monastery, where monks pray and work just as they have for 1,500 years.

The solid foundation laid by their work and prayer can be felt beneath your feet. It is a welcome respite from the uncertainty of the world, and even what sometimes feels like unsteady ground within the Church. Recently I witnessed this solid foundation first hand at a Benedictine Abbey while there to pick up a 125 year old Mass set for restoration.

Several months ago a young Deacon from the Abbey contacted me to help restore these vestments. We have discussed the importance of honoring the artistry of the original work and the many hours of prayer and worship woven into every fiber. These vestments will return to the altar at his first Mass following his priestly ordination in 2023.

The full solemn set is stunning — the embroidery is exquisite, largely intact, and impeccably preserved. Work will need to be done — some of the gold work needs to be restored or replaced, and the gorgeous Brocatelle fabric and lining is completely worn in several areas and needs to be replaced entirely. We are working with Humphries Weaving to determine the fiber content and recreate the original pattern to reweave this lovely fabric. This historical pattern will then, once again, be available to the public.

There is a deep solace found in this quiet participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass knowing that our contribution will last far beyond our years as it serves the enduring prayer and work of the monks to obtain grace for the whole Church.

The work of this project will pass from memory quickly but the graces obtained will remain for eternity. Funds are still needed to complete this project. If you are able to help restore this solemn set please visit GiveSendGo to contribute. 100% of the funds received will go toward the materials and labor to complete this project.

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