“Ask me about my vow of silence”
“We feel we’re stewards of their business, and we really put bread on the table,” said one of the women, Sarah Caniglia, sitting in their impeccably organized office amid lighted candles and CDs of Gregorian chants. “I feel like the head of a family, but the boys are grown up and they’re never going to get married.”
Father McCoy, who at 42 already has a monk’s bald pate and fringe of hair, said: “Our life as monks is not set up to sit around and answer phones. We’re supposed to be a little removed.”
“We are professional pray-ers,” said Father McCoy, who wears a white habit, a long black smock called a scapular cinched with a leather belt and, on his feet, knock-off Crocs. Some days he wears a T-shirt that says, “Ask me about my Vow of Silence.”
It sounds like a win-win-win situation: the monastery is making enough money to support itself; the women are reaping the benefits of their semimonastic life; and, of course, the customers get cheap (sometimes environmentally friendly) ink. Could other Church institutions learn something from the monastery’s success in contracting out its business operations? Or is this just a new version of an old story? After all, parishes have been depending on hardworking, dedicated women to keep them going for generations. I imagine there are lots of parish secretaries and business managers nodding in recognition when they read that comment about feeling like the “head of a family” of grown-up bachelors!