Author Topic: The Chronicles of the Community of St. Colmcille in the Wilderness  (Read 4984 times)

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Offline rkelly17

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Re: The Chronicles of the Community of St. Colmcille in the Wilderness
« Reply #15 on: August 18, 2014, 08:24:10 AM »
The Chronicles of Brother Shedric and Sister Indi, Seventh Abbot and Abbess of the Community of St. Colmcille in the Wilderness.

Chapter Two

This 37th Winter was the coldest in any of our memories.Frosts began already in the Autumn and we lost many of the crops that take longer to ripen. The snow fell constantly and sharp winds blew it into huge drifts. The river and lakes froze over, so traders were unable to make their way to us. In order to fish our fishers had to cut holes through the ice. The deep snows interfered with the hunters and gatherers. By the Early Spring accounting we were about 12,000 units behind what we need to feed everyone for a year. Fortunately we have about 2 years’ worth of food in our barns, so we can survive. We have enough ale that we should be able to trade for food to make up the deficit. We have enough stone and iron that we can devote all of our trading to food this year.

During our 38th year we did indeed trade for the 12,000 units of food necessary, though it took to the very end of the year. The shortage of the previous year has led us to build three new farms so that there would be less likelihood of a shortage. During that year we also lost another young mother, Sister Tessi, who died in childbirth. Most of our people die peaceful deaths at the end of a long life, so these tragedies hit the community particularly hard. The 38th Winter was cold again, but there were fewer storms and the frost held off long enough for us to harvest enough food to feed the community.

In the Late Spring of our 39th year a group of 34 nomadic peoples presented themselves and asked to join the community. These were the most miserable people we had yet encountered and they told us horrendous stories of the sufferings of their people in the Winter of the 37th year. Many of their people died and the various peoples to the West of us, all of whom suffered greatly, entered into a series of wars to gain new hunting territories. These wars left many people desperate for food and shelter. The group told us that they had started out as a group of about twice the size, but many died along the way.

Of course we took them in—how could any spiritual person not respond to their suffering?— but we, too paid a price. Sister Kiarrah, a farmer near St. Brigid, came down with a serious disease which Brother Donel, the priest at St. Colmcille, also contracted while he was offering her the sacrament of healing. Both we cared for at the infirmary by Sr. Magnolie and recovered. Then Brother Leamontgomer, a farmer near St. Harmann, came down with a different disease from which he also recovered under Sr. Magnolie’s care. After Br. Leamontgomer’s recovery we all gathered at St. Colmcille for a mass of thanksgiving. In chapter we discussed the problem that the community is now so spread out that someone from St. Brigid who becomes sick might not be able to get to the infirmary. We then decided to build a new infirmary South of St. Brigid to serve the people South of the river.

At the same time we began a new pasture for chickens next to the southern sheep pasture. The infirmary and pasture were completed in the Early Winter and this led to a second miraculous event. This time there were 6 reliable witnesses who reported that about half of the chicken flock moving to the new pasture repeated the miracle of the sheep and walked along the bottom of the river and then flew from the river bottom up to the dock of the trading post. The other half walked across the bridge as one would expect. The fact that we now have so many reliable witnesses brought forth testimony from others who say that they have seen deer doing the same thing. What causes these manifestations? None of us really knows, though some in the community believe that the somehow predict some event. Those who think this way, though, are divided on exactly what this event might be.

As our 40th year at St. Colmcille in the Wilderness began we had 338 people. Of these 206 were full members and 20 were novices in the last phase of their novitiate. There were also 44 students and 68 children. We have 97 houses for individual families and the 2 dormitories.

Also at the beginning of the year merchants brought further rumors about the wars going on among the nomadic peoples to our West. Rather than petering out as the last several Winters were less severe the wars have spread and seem to be coming closer to us. Merchants also bring us stories of men who look something like our founders, but warriors with light hair and sailing ships with fierce dragon heads on the front. We have no idea who these men might be and what their intentions are.

In the Summer some of our number who were coming back from a retreat in the mountains reported seeing a band of nomadic warriors. The native peoples who live to our South and East have formed a league to defend themselves against the threats from the interior and from the seas and have asked us to join them. This we cannot do, since we are people of peace and not of war. We will accept all who care to join us and resist none that plan evil against us. These are the words of our Lord and this is set out most plainly in the Rule. We do not know what the future may hold for us, but we will not practice violence against anyone. Perhaps we may need to flee this place as our ancestors fled the Old Land to come here.

Offline rkelly17

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Re: The Chronicles of the Community of St. Colmcille in the Wilderness
« Reply #16 on: August 18, 2014, 08:34:31 AM »
Historical Afterword

The texts contained in the iron box end abruptly here. The archeological evidence does not allow us to determine exactly what happened to the people who populated this town. In this their story is similar to other ancient sites in North America. We are also unable to determine whether the "chronicles" relate events of the town as the actually happened or whether they represent legendary exploits. If authentic--tests are still being carried out--they do confirm that there was some sort of Irish presence in North America even before the Viking settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland. This latter represents one of the anomalies of the texts as scholars agree that L'Anse aux Meadows was settled around 1000 while the current texts speak of people who appear to be Vikings about a century earlier--if the dating of the earliest texts is correct. While the chronicles give us a remarkably plain-spoken record of the lives of people, their reality remains shrouded in mystery.

Offline slink

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Re: The Chronicles of the Community of St. Colmcille in the Wilderness
« Reply #17 on: August 18, 2014, 05:18:39 PM »
Most excellent, @rkelly17!

Offline rkelly17

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Re: The Chronicles of the Community of St. Colmcille in the Wilderness
« Reply #18 on: August 18, 2014, 07:03:59 PM »
Thanks, @slink. I take the complement seriously coming from you.

Offline slink

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Re: The Chronicles of the Community of St. Colmcille in the Wilderness
« Reply #19 on: August 18, 2014, 07:22:06 PM »
Meow!   ;)

I have a fascination with early North American settlements, be they lost colonies of Europeans or earthen pyramids on the Mississippi River.  I remember one time when my mother and I visited a place, perhaps in northern West Virginia, where an entire community had perished and no one knew why.  They had unearthed a mass grave, and that was enclosed in a building behind glass from the public.  One of the skeletons showed the woman had been pregnant when she died, by the presence of an infant's skeleton within hers.  I found the display both depressing and fascinating.  This was before all the fuss began over desecration of American Indian ancestors' graves.  It might no longer be available to the public.  If I could remember where it was, I could find out, but I don't.


Offline irrelevant

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Re: The Chronicles of the Community of St. Colmcille in the Wilderness
« Reply #20 on: August 18, 2014, 08:33:04 PM »
Beautiful story and town. So well written. I really like the seamless passing of the torch. The tone is consistent throughout, reminded me a bit of a canticle for liebowitz.

Offline rkelly17

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Re: The Chronicles of the Community of St. Colmcille in the Wilderness
« Reply #21 on: August 19, 2014, 09:44:08 AM »
Beautiful story and town. So well written. I really like the seamless passing of the torch. The tone is consistent throughout, reminded me a bit of a canticle for liebowitz.

One of my all-time favorite novels! We were required to read it in grade 12 and it is one required book that I loved and went back to several times.

I find early monastic life very interesting--not that I could ever do it, but it is interesting to try to understand the mindset of the people who did.