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Mystical Ventures and Food


IMG 0778-300pxWhile the Scriptures tell us, “man does not eat by bread alone” (Matt. 4:3), our bodies still need physical nourishment as well as spiritual. Living a sustainable lifestyle means we are the land’s stewards: we may take nourishment from it, but must replenish afterwards what we have taken. Its care has been entrusted to us. Organic farming includes the use of animals, both for their gifts, like milk and eggs, but also for their lives, like meat. There are a number of organic gardeners that are totally vegetarian and that is wonderful, but for us at MV, we still rely on some meat and fish to complement our meals.

One of the most wonderful approaches to food I have found is in a set of cookbooks authored by a Benedictine brother from upstate New York. The first one I bought years ago, was entitled: Sacred Feasts from a Monastery Garden: Recipes and Reflections. I once told a few of my colleagues it was the best theology book I had ever read. In it, one is guided to use food to mark time in a way, making sacred time. One harvests and cooks and is nourished according to the seasons of the year, the seasons of the Church, eating in communion with the saints, and drawn to reflection on TIME, that human construction that God, the Eternal one, has given us. Sometimes, eating more simple meals or eating less is just as important as preparing lavish meals. Spring calls for lighter fare; summer for fresh foods from the garden, fall for harvested crops teaming with flavor and winter for warm hearty soups. Paying attention to shorter darker days when one is cooking “Pasta IMG 0773-300pxE Fagioli Soup” on January 1st or “St. Antony’s Warm Fruit Compotes” on his feast day (January 17th) puts one in touch with nature, the cycles of the church year and the simplicity of good food from the land. One is connected to the planet. One is connected to God. One is connected to growing itself. For every time we take in nourishment, we continue to grow toward our telos, our goal, our God.


Last year, our eldest daughter took it upon herself to try to gather favorite recipes from the family, both old and young members of the family, and produced a cookbook, which she then gave to everyone as Christmas gifts. In it were some marvelous recipes, but also memories of TIMES gone by, of food that we ate when we were young, of Grand Memere’s gorton, or Pepere’s bread, (which my kids will still die for), or Grandma’s tater-tot casserole, or Nana’s Hankie Pankies. There were the crazy tales that went with eating some of those meals, like eating ratatouille when one was only 8 years old, or remembering our son-in-law propose marriage to our daughter in the middle of one Thanksgiving dinner, or remembering when Aunt Dot blew the oven door off the stove when she tried to bake plum pudding in a can instead of steam it! Food brings people together. Food also evokes memories, and in many cases Food is the stuff that helps make memories. That is strikingly apparent if one looks at my kitchen after four or five of us have all been trying to make Christmas perogi before the holidays.


Since a sustainable life means taking one’s nourishment from the land, there will be regular recipes here at MV, with our inaugural one being a summer fare: Chevon Eggplant Moussaka. We planted Chinese eggplant this year, the long narrow ones, and found they make a great moussaka. Under the “Writings” page, you will find many more. I will initially put up about a dozen, but will add more IMG 0784-300pxas we continue to grow, eat and make memories.


Living a sustainable lifestyle also means putting up food for the colder months, when the garden is at rest. Canning and freezing food from the garden have been regular activities here. Though my in-laws lived through the depression and consequently never threw anything away, my generation, which lived on the heels of those times, never wants to waste anything. Recycling is somewhat inbred…..maybe we can use that carton for something….. So vegetables are canned or frozen, herbs are dried, jellies and pickles are made before Bill puts that final layer of straw on all the beds, and wood is cut, so the winter will be welcome. There will also be recipes for “preserving food” in the Recipe column.


Call to Prayer

Endow Groups

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Endow Groups 



St. Veronica Guiliana


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The amazing story of St. Veronica 

St. Veronica Guiliani



Pope Francis

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