Letter from the Fellowship: Christine Niles

The SSJE Monastery has long been a part of my landscape – mysterious, intriguing, and intimidating. As a teenage spiritual-seeker, I passed by on my way to Harvard Square to listen to the chanting Hare Krishnas, sign petitions for social justice, give to the homeless, and buy books on Buddhism and Beatniks. The Monastery only got a passing glance and from what I knew about Christianity, it did not seem like an option for me.

Years later my husband, Charlie, introduced me to the Episcopal Church and the Christian faith. Now I find that much of my spiritual life and faith formation happens at that same Monastery that I so often passed by. When I first entered the Chapel it was with a new view of Christianity, far from what society had presented. My mind was eager to learn and my heart was ready to be wrenched open and filled with the love of God. Charlie and I have attended many workshops and worship services at SSJE. We listen to sermons on the website, read the daily “Brother, Give Us a Word”, and made the Lenten video series on creating a rule of life part of our daily prayer.

In the presence of the Brothers my sand settles, and my water becomes clear. Their offerings transform me daily, opening my eyes to a new way of being in the world, often turning my picture completely upside down, revealing the image as God actually painted it, a much more beautiful composition! Their hospitality has brought me a greater comfort than I have ever felt before.

By joining the FSJ I hope to deepen my relationship with the Brothers and other Fellowship members. Becoming intentional about following a rule of life is a natural next step for me on my spiritual journey. With so many choices of paths, the Fellowship is for me a way to make a decision on a direction so that I don’t stand bewildered at the crossroads, but move along, the boundaries allowing me the freedom to take in the scenery and the adventure ahead.

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