Chanting with the vacuum

Hasn’t everyone whose spent a lot of time vacuuming the church done this? My own chanting history is steeped in lawn mowers.

It’s convenient to stereotype monks as either oddities or holy men, but in pigeonholing them we impede their marvelous hospitality. A few years ago a journalist doing an Easter story about a monastery on the Great Plains insisted that he needed a photograph of a monk with a broom. The scholarly monk who finally agreed to pose was quickly dubbed Brother Broom by his confreres as they laughed over the article at breakfast on Easter Sunday. It didn’t help that the monk wa misquoted in the story so that he seemed to be taking a heretical position on the Incarnation. This ludicrous situation could have been avoided, and the reporter might even have gotten a better story, had he photographed the young monk who worked the abbey’s industrial vacuum. The tapes on his Walkman were of the pass tones of the monks resonated well with the deep vibrato of the vacuum. “A perfect blend,” he joked, “of prayer and work.”

-Kathleen Norris, Dakota, p.199