On the 31st May, Feast of the Queenship of Mary, we will celebrate the 10th anniversary of our aquisition of the island of Papa Stronsay in Orkney.
We can never be sufficiently grateful to God for all that He has done for us... Baptism, Penance, Holy Communion, Monastic Life and the Priesthood, ... ineffable gifts.
To that superabundance, we add the gift of a place to live, -our monastery in Papa Stronsay, Orkney.
Monks first came to this holy island in ancient times and remained until after the Middle Ages. 'Papa Stronsay' means "Priests' island of Stronsay." In those past ages the island was called "Papa in Litia" and "Papa Minora" which translate as "Little Papa", "Little Priests' island".
Now, soon for ten years, priests and monks, we have returned to Little Priests' Island, Papa Stronsay.
We will sing God's praises here.
The Orkney islands are now in that period of the year where there is light for most of the night. Since these 'nights' are not dark at all, yet nor are they bright, they are sometimes called "White Nights" in Northern countries.
These photographs were taken last night between 9.30 and 10.00 p.m. when the sky was cloudy, and the sea, perfectly still, was a mirror of the sky. The still air carried the sounds of nature: a few ducks swimming on the sea; the calling of the seals; and the breathing and moving of Papa Stronsay's Highland cattle.
Highland beasts of the Lord, wild and tame,
bless the Lord, in His White Night.
Benedicite, maria et flumina, Domino.
Benedicite, cete, et omnia quae moventur in aquis, Domino:
Benedicite, omnes volucres caeli, Domino.
Benedicite, omnes bestiae et pecora Domino:
Benedicite, filii hominum, Domino.
Seas and rivers bless the Lord.
You dolphins and all water creatures bless the Lord;
All you birds of the air, bless the Lord.
All you beasts, wild and tame, bless the Lord.
You sons of men, bless the Lord.
Praise and exalt Him above all forever.
And the night shall light up my joy.
(Exsultet of the Paschal Mystery)