St. Martin’s & other Benedictines

I attended St. Martin’s College in Lacey, Washington and graduated with a degree in psychology the day Mount Saint Helen’s blew her stack in 1980. Certainly, my liberal arts education provided me a solid foundation for my future endeavors, but my “informal” education was getting acquainted with the monks that lived at the abbey. I was so impressed by these men that I have remained associated with them my entire adult life. I joined the abbey’s oblate chapter and do volunteer work for them. Most importantly, I formed friendships with more than a few of the monks.

While St. Alberic’s is not based on St. Martin’s or on any other abbey or priory, St. Martin’s most certainly inspired the fictional abbey’s creation. Likewise, while there are no direct parallels between the fictional monks of St. Alberic’s and the monks of St. Martin’s, their joys, their struggles, and their quest for enlightenment were the hops, yeast, and barley of the many men of St. Alberic’s. As I developed various drafts of these novels, I bounced ideas off of those monks who tolerated or even enjoyed whatever bubbled out of my brain that day. To a man, their first response to the idea of a modern abbey adopting a four-year-old was that it could never happen. But once they were able to suspend their disbelief and enjoy the idea, they warmed to the story and provided valuable insights.

Near to St. Martin’s Abbey is St. Placid Priory. Although I am not an oblate of St. Placid’s, I have attended their oblate meetings from time to time, getting to know some of the nuns there and sharing with their oblates. I am ever grateful for them allowing me to be a part of their journey as well.

Being an active oblate, I’ve also had the opportunity to visit other abbeys and priories in the Northwest, and once attended the World Congress of Benedictine Oblates in Rome. All of these experiences provided me with insight and inspiration for the Benediction of Paul series.

I am forever grateful to all these institutions and those devoted to them.