Here’s how this week’s arts and culture column begins:
I spent the first week of Advent at St. Andrew’s Abbey, the Benedictine monastery in the unincorporated community of Valyermo (Spanish: “Barren Valley”) located an hour and half northeast of LA in the Mojave Desert.
My history with St. Andrew’s goes way back. In 2000, four years after I came into the Church, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Who to turn to? How to face my mortality? Where to pray?
At the time I was barely acquainted with the “retreat” concept, but to get away by myself in silence and solitude proved to be a tremendous balm.
READ THE WHOLE PIECE HERE.