Autumn/Fall Gift Ideas

I have decorated these wonderful natural sinamay gift boxes that are handcrafted in the Philippines with Fall accents!! The box includes two soaps:   Gingered Pumpkin and Appleberry Cream.   The two fragrances blended together as one gift is really awesome.   This is not available on our website….but you can contact me through:   soap@bspa.us  if you are interested.   They will be available for a limited amount of time.   $18.00 plus shipping.

Soap Shop Windows and Unexpected Gifts!

I promised a photo of the exterior on the North side of the Soap shop showing you the window damage.   Quite a site??   These windows face into my Soap Production area which was hit hard by our recent storm.

The good news is that the windows might possibly be delivered this week and be installed soon after.

After I make soap the wooden molds are stored directly opposite these windows.   For safety reasons it was decided not to reuse these molds as they were just full of glass and small glass particles.   So I began my search to get new ones made and made quickly!    A woodworking crafter from Maryville MO was recommended to me.   John Monjar of Monjar Woodshop has already delivered 30 beautifully crafted wooden molds and I am back in the soapmaking business.   And besides the speed with which he made them they were also a gift!

 

The area where my molds are kept is being expanded to hold all the new molds.    God has blessed our Community in so many many ways these past weeks and we are ever so grateful and we most certainly keep everyone in our prayers, especially our neighbors and friends who have lost all of their crops in the storm.    Our Prayers are with you.

Gratefully,

Sr. Cathleen, the Soap Sister

Picking Up The Pieces

For those who know me you know there is never a dull moment in the Monastery here at Clyde.   Then add Mother Nature to the scenario that took place here a couple of weeks ago and you have the recipe for a bit of chaos.   On the evening of August 25th we experienced 100 mile an hour straight line winds along with very very large hail.   Our double pane windows were no match to the power of the wind as over 100 of them gave way to the mighty force of the wind.   But most importantly we all were safe with not so much as a scratch.

Nortwest side of newly renovated rooms for the Sisters

We certainly know first hand the sheltering power of the hand of God upon us as we heard stories the next day of near catastrophy.  One such story had to do with our dear Sr. Natalia who is 103 years old.   She was in bed for the evening when the storm hit.   Quickly one of our nurses in the Health Care Center went to her room and scooped her up in her arms carrying her out to safety.   As her bedroom door was closed her windows gave way inside.  Deo Gratias!

 

All of us who were physically able disbatched ourselves to help in areas where needed.  I quickly went to our Altar Bread Dept. shipping room where I surmised some Northern exposure windows had blown out.   I also guessed that the windows in my Soap Shop located in another building were most probably blown out.   A few of our maintenance staff and friends had braved the inclement weather to come to our assistance in boarding up windows as quickly as they good.    I knew they would also get to the soap shop even if not for several hours to come.    I could visualize the mess and destruction going on there.

 

So in the morning I with several other of our Sisters walked outside and took stock of the damage and it was massive.   As we headed toward the soap shop I found myself dreading going in.   Yes, all six windows on the north side which in the soap production area were all blown out or in as the case may be.   Thankfully they had been boarded up the night before!    Glass was everywhere along with leaves pasted to the inside walls.   Sr. Rita offered the assistance of some of our Altar Bread employees and along with Srs. Maria Victoria, Judy and I we got it tidied up as much as possible by noon time.

 

I will go ahead and post this and tomorrow take some photos of the shop for you to see.   Have a safe and festive Labor Day.

A Box Full of Blessings

That’s what you’ll find in these exquisite gift boxes.  First, we have two bars of our delicately scented hand crafted soap.  Next, the box itself is unique, beautiful, and reusable.  Another blessing, these boxes, make of sinamay fiber, are a fair trade item!  Our use and your purchase of these boxes helps the makers in the Philippines earn a just wage.  And as always, our soap contains a bit of holy water and our prayers for God’s blessings on whomever uses it.   These boxes are available in these scent combinations:

“Terrific Twosome” (Mayan Gold and Swiss Lavender

“Easter Garden”  (Lilac and Lily of the Valley)

“Bouquets of Love”  (Rose Petal and Lavender Lace)

“Breakfast Blend”  (Honey Oatmeal and Vanilla Berries)

Looking for a thoughtful Mother’s Day gift?   These lovely fragrant boxes will be just perfect.   They are $16.00 each  (shipping additional).

To place an order  phone, email or write to:

Sr. Cathleen Marie Timberlake, OSB

Monastery Scents

31970 State Highway P

Clyde, MO  64432

Online/email   www.monasterycreations.com   or  soap@bspa.us    Phone: 877-672-7627

Wishing you abundant blessings, Sr. Cathleen Marie, osb

Ordinary Time

We have moved into the Liturgical time of  year called “Ordinary” time.   If you have been following our “Sacred Stones, Sacred Stories” blog http://www.clydemonastery.org/StoneStories/ you will see that we have been very busy here at Clyde doing preparation work for the upcoming renovation of our  Monastery.   Since the first few months of the year are traditionally slow ones here in the soap shop it has given me an opportunity to stock up on soap inventory.   I was recently ‘gifted’ with another  40 quart steam jacketed kettle for soap production. This will double my capacity allowing me to produce 300 bars of soap in approximately 1 1/2 hours.

img_04785My work on the Board of Directors for the Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild www.soapguild.org continues to be very interesting and gratifying.  I’m now serving as Vice President and loving every minute of it.

We recently held our yearly conference in Denver Colorado. There is alot of work that goes into the planning of these events but the end result is always worth it. Our Sister Mary Hope from our Dayton WY monastery attended it for the first time this year. Admist all the meetings and conferences a bit of time was set aside for fun too!

I would be delighted to hear from you!  I am in the soap shop here at Clyde most days and can be reached at 877-672-7627.   We have that perfect solution for your gift giving opportunities!    May our God bless you and your summer days!

Tea House Excerpts

There is much to catch up on through the lense of this blog!   Early last September I received permission to start “High Tea at St. Pauls” here on our  Monastery grounds.  We had learned of this concept from our Brother Monks at St. Michaels Abbey in Elkorn NE. where Br. Jerome has been serving guests for 30 years. The driving force behind this three month experiment was the desire to introduce people from near and far to our Monastic life here at Clyde through serving tea and lunch at St Pauls house here on our property.img_4819_3

Built in 1929 St. Pauls House has long been a arena of  warm and welcoming hospitality having been used for many many years as a guest house for our relatives and friends visiting Clyde.

I wondered if anyone would come…and now over 200 Tea House Guests later I would judge it a great success. It was humbling to hear of so many wonderful experiences guests were having as they shared table and warm conversation with each other.   Stories were told of having had high tea in Chicago and Saudi Arabia with neither of them comparable to their experience in Clyde, MO!

St. Benedict encourages us in his Rule to receive all guests as Christ.   Obviously that maxim was communicated through the attention to detail that was taken in our welcome, our conversations, our food and our joy!

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I could not have done it  without the encouragement of my Community; my  sisters and friends who volunteered their time in preparation, serving and clean-up. I understand that no left hungry!

Since December I have had many calls wanting to make reservations for High Tea.  Due to some extensive renovation that will be undertaken in our Monastery main buildings in the coming months High Tea at St. Pauls will not be available for some time to come.   Our guest house space in buildings such as St. Pauls will become living space for our Sisters for at least the next year and a half.  We look forward someday to again sharing with you our guests the conviviality of High Tea!!

Soapmaking & Holy Water

Just what do the two have in common? When I started to make soap almost nine years ago I found myself wondering how I could integrate Prayer, which is our main work together into my newfound passion, that of soapmaking.Inspiration came to me and I decided then and there to add some Holy  Water to each batch of soap and to pray for everyone who would be using it.

holywater-font

In the photo included here you will see our Holy Water font that is located within our monastery cloister.From this I have filled my holy water bottle many times over.Praying for all of you who use my soap is an obligation that I take very seriously. The life of prayer that I have been called to in my vocation flows in and through my life as a soapmaker.

On our Congregations’ website we have several prayer opportunities for you to share in.The first is the  prayer request tab located on the home page in the upper left hand corner.  Here a link for you: http://tinyurl.com/ncsmza The second is to share in our daily life as we pray the Divine Office through our Podcast: http://tinyurl.com/yuvpox.

It’s been a busy week, month, here in the soap shop.  During the month of July Sr. Judy and I made 2,250 bars of soap.   For the year we have produced over 9,000 bars of soap!  Thats alot prayer! Every once and awhile several of our Senior Sisters who reside at Our Lady of Rickenbach here on our grounds stop in for a visit during their daily walks outside.

This coming week our Novice Nancy will make her First Monastic Profession of Vows.   I’m sure I’ll be giving a number of tours of the Soap Shop!   Blessings upon Blessings.

Question:  What are the blessings you’ve experienced in your life?   You’ve also been a blessing to someone?

Recipe For Craisin English Muffin Bread

img_01481Okay, here is the long awaited recipe for English-Muffin Bread:

Prepare 2 bread pans with cooking oil spray and dust with Corn Meal.   In a mixing bowl put 3 cups of flour, 2 envelopes of active dry yeast (or 2 tbl); one tbl of granulated sugar; 2 tsp salt; 1/4 tsp baking soda.

Heat 2 cups of milk and 1/2 cup of water to between 105 and 115 degrees.   Stir into flour mixture.  Stir in 3 more cups of flour.  At this point you can add a cup or two of Craisins, or Raisins. Spoon into prepared pans.  Sprinkle tops with a bit of cornmeal.

Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for 45 minutes or until doubled.

Heat oven to 400 degree.  Bake 25-30  minutes until golden.Cool in pans on wire rack 5 minutes.  Loosen edges with thin knife, remove from pans and cool completely. Then ENJOY.

I think there is a direct correlation between the love of baking and the love of soapmaking!   Though the former surely tastes better.   I’ll share some of my favorite recipes in the course of time.   I love baking for my Sisters here at the monastery.   One of our Novices will make her First Profession of Vows on August 15th and I’ve been asked to do the baking for the brunch following the Profession Ceremony.   That will be such an honor and so much fun!

Do you have any favorite recipes you’d like to share?

Cherries Anyone?

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Recently we as a community enjoyed a “community  assist”.  So you’re probably asking what is a community assist?  Some of our younger members had  gone to the house of one of our employees who had  graciously offered cherries for the taking.  So we  obliged.You can see us preparing them or “pitting” them in the photo included here.It seemed to take forever to accomplish our task but a good time was had by all. All I need is some cherry fragrance to add to some soap! Would that be a keeper?

These days  Sr. Judy and I have been busy making many new batches of soap to stock the shelves.  They seem to have sprouted wings as they fly off the shelves of late. But that is a good thing. I hope you are enjoying your days of summer as much as we are here in the beautiful northwest corner of Missouri.  

Question: What do you think?  Do you have a good cherry pie recipe to share?

Soap Students

As I mentioned before the days that I spent in Abiquiu were a gift to me! My purpose in going there was to teach some of the brothers Soap and Lotion making so that they could add these crafts to items available in their gift shop and augment their self supporting efforts.  Rosy Verdile heads up their craft efforts.  Unfortunantly she had badly broken her leg just prior to my visit but was none the less able to participate in the classes which got underway on Wednesday May 6th. Since I only had a couple weeks of notice prior to leaving for Abiquiu I very quickly assembled the raw materials that would be needed.  Several vendors that I know from my association with the Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild very generously donated materials:  Lebermuth, Certified-LyePumpking, and  5B&Co.  Thanks to all of your for your generosity.

After some initial time of instruction I led them through the production of their first batch of Cold Process Soapmaking.  Even though my preferred method is Hot Process Soapmaking I believe that they needed to know both processes.  We dutifully wrapped our finished soap mold in several woolen blankets and managed to only peak once to see if indeed the gel stage of soapmaking was underway!  Yes!!    I never had done  ’soap swirling’ so I thought now was as good a time as any to give it a whirl.  I am looking forward to seeing the fruit of our labors.  

Lotion making was an instant hit.br-dominic-pouring-lotion We worked steadily for three days and ended up with numerous batches of soap and 3 batches of Soap.  I hear that since I left they have continued production and are well on their way to a successful venture.abiquiu-students

On the left is Bro. Dominic pouring his lotion.  On the right you will see the Abiquiu Students and myself. This was the first time I had ever undertaken such an adventure and it made me grateful for all who have mentored me as well as for my Community who has supported and cheered me on along the way. The Benedictine moto is “Ora et Labora” which translated means prayer and work. In our lifestyle there is such a wonderful opportunity for the blending of the two. 

As we move into the days of summer I wish you a most blest summer season.  Up next will be my sharing of the Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild meeting.  Stay tuned!