Question: The Rule is frank about a range of feelings in relation to the challenges of illness and death, including the recognition that one of the hardest challenges of the vowed life comes when a Brother needs full time nursing care. Do this represent a kind of memento mori (remember your mortality) for the Brothers?
Br. Eldridge Pendleton: In one sense, yes, it does. We all know we’re going to die, but not too many of us live as if we actually believe it. For me, it’s one thing to talk about the things we do in the chapters on the challenges of sickness (46, 47), but, like so much about the spiritual life, it’s another thing to live it. In our discussions, when we made mention of the possibility of a Brother needing to live apart from the Community, I thought, “This is good—but I hope that’s never me!” And yet, here I am. Personally, it was hard, coming to a place of freedom, to move into assisted living and nursing care. And yet, if I had it to do all over again, I would have come a year earlier than I did. I miss daily contact with the Community and the worship, of course, but this move has been such a grace for me, and these chapters in the Rule helped me to pray my way through what was a very difficult transition.