The Cathedral Dedication Stone stayed in our monastery this week.
Many of us Sisters had opportunity before entering the monastery to make pilgrimages to various places such as the Holy Land or shrines in Italy, Portugal, Spain etc. It’s common on pilgrimages to collect holy souvenirs (including rocks) from places like the shores of the Sea of Galilee or the Roman catacombs. We want the tangible reminder of the intangible encounter inherent in a visit to a sacred place. So one pilgrimage can be represented afterwards by a multitude of stones from many places collected by one pilgrim. Now, as the Cathedral Dedication Stone came to Cor Jesu Monastery, we witness the reverse, a pilgrimage of one stone through many places, parishes, and missions, touching the lives of over 60,000 Catholics. From the blessing hand of Pope Francis and the tombs of Saints Peter and John Paul II back to these hills. Not one stone among many, but one stone through many, coming eventually to rest in one place to remind us we are part of one Church.
Contemplatives are tasked with the mission of prayerfully being at the heart of that Church. Our hidden, quiet, yet concrete prayerful participation in the dedication stone pilgrimage manifested this duty in a particular way towards the entire Diocese of Knoxville. After the excitement of the dedication stone’s arrival, courtesy of the Knights of Columbus, we eagerly transformed a corner of our small Mass and Adoration Chapel into a temporary home for the stone, carefully placed under the watchful eye of one of our favorite statues of Saint Joseph the Worker. Tools in hand, he looks as if he just engraved the cross in the center of the stone. Benediction, Mass, individual holy hours, community holy hours, and even choir practice, all normal facets of our day to day prayer life, were conducted with the stone present serving to always remind of us the larger Church we are part of and need to pray for.
It was an honor and we are grateful to have the privilege of joining so many Catholics in East Tennessee in this endeavor.
A rolling stone gathers no moss, but a pilgrimage stone gathers much prayer.