Recently we celebrated the ‘change of stability’ to Kopua of three Brothers – Aelred, Anselm, and Gregory – originally from the Cistercian Monastery of Our Lady of the Philippines, Guimaras Island.
Change of stability sounds like a contradiction! Cistercian monks make a vow of stability, committing to a place and community for life. In rare occasions a brother may change his stability for a greater good; in this case it’s to bolster the numbers of the community here at the Southern Star Abbey or Kopua.
All the brothers have already made their home here, contributing in a variety of ways to our life, since their arrival in late 2018. In that time Br. Aelred has turned our unused and overgrown vegetable garden into a very productive source of nutrition for everyone, even expanding its size. Also he’s built a chicken coup to house a small number of chickens who supply us fresh eggs and provide music to our ears in the morning with the roosters crowing. Br. Aelred also has learnt to play the organ since he’s been here and fills that role during the Divine Office.
Br. Gregory is studying for the priesthood and is one of our cantors leading the singing when we’re in choir. Also Br. Gregory is a great cook keeping us well fed a couple of times a week. We do eat on the other days too!
Br. Anselm brings a wealth of knowledge and experience. He was formerly an Augustinian before joining the Cistercian Order and has studied for four years in Rome. He helps to maintain the grounds amongst other necessary tasks which keep things running smoothly.
All of the brothers have made a wonderful contribution to the monastery and brought great joy to the community. Their presence has reminded us of the great significance of the vow of stability in Cistercian life. Rather than joining ‘the Cistercians’ we join a particular Cistercian monastery or abbey. This deepens our commitment to place and community, as we together seek the Lord.