Return to Seasem

By Moira Holmes (From Seeds June – July 2024)

Readers may remember that I was blessed, in February/March 2023, to spend six weeks at St Elijah and St Enoch Monastery (Seasem) in New Zealand (Seeds, June-July 23).

On returning to Scotland, I found myself longing to go back, which I did last December, staying three months, as a postulant.

I was convinced that everything was in alignment for a future life there. Not long after I arrived, Prior Rob described how most monastics, in the beginning, often feel like they are in a coffin. I thought, That’s not me, I’m where I’m meant to be. After all, Jesus had already knocked on my bedroom door to welcome me! Slowly, however, the discernment process brought me to realise that my time in NZ was to be only for a season.

The photo is one of the cross-stitches I completed while there and it is a wonderful visual representation of my discernment process. The nature of the pattern made it impossible to hide. Any mistake had to be unpicked, and often in the unpicking the thread broke. However, by God’s grace I was able to pick up the pieces and move forward.

While there were many challenges, there was also much joy. This manifested gloriously one morning a couple of weeks before I left. I was sitting in contemplation at the start of Lauds, the sun beating down on me. I opened my eyes and noticed that my robe looked like millions of stars against a night sky. I was looking at God’s wonderful cosmic creation; clothed in the glory of Christ.

I now believe that I was called back to Seasem as a holding place to allow me to deepen my relationship with our Lord; to heed that knock on the door and open my heart to Jesus; to become better equipped for the challenges ahead; and to help me become the person God needs me to be. I trust that her great plan for me will continue to unfold, and I just need to keep saying ‘Yes!’