shop expresses creativity and values
There is a lot to take in when you enter the Monastery of St. Gertrude Book and Gift Shop. Your eyes catch sight of a compelling book title or hand-knitted baptismal gown. Your hands reach out to touch a carved, wooden angel or artisan-made shawl. All the while your nose navigates through wafts of chocolate and coffee, or herbs from the Nature's Gifts Herbal products made by Sister Carlotta Maria Fontes.
But the shop's offerings impress more than the senses. As the Monastery's commitment to peace and justice extends to every product, one's heart and mind tend toward delight as well.
For example, the Cottonwood Benedictine community decided to offer Fair Trade chocolate and coffee to ensure that third world farmers are fairly compensated. Many of the items are handmade by Sisters, Oblates and friends of the Monastery. Pricing also follows the guidelines set forth in the 1500-year-old Rule of St. Benedict.
Sister Miriam Mendez, the shopkeeper, quickly summons a copy of the Rule into her hands and flips to Chapter 57, "Artisans of the Monastery", and reads, "They are to practice their craft with all humility…prices should always be a little lower than people outside the monastery are able to set, so that in all things God may be glorified."
Sister Miriam runs the shop accordingly. The retired nurse experiences her work with the shop and its online component as a richly creative process. "I am overflowing with creativity," she says. "I can't stop. And I keep learning. I have done things that haven't worked and some things that have. The inventory and displays are always changing."
She is proud that the Monastery of St. Gertrude Book and Gift Shop is the only Catholic bookstore between Boise and Spokane. She hopes people will see it as a resource for the upcoming First Communion season as well as other sacramental celebrations.
From baptismal gowns to matrimony crosses, Bibles to inspiring devotionals, First Communion gift packs to children's rosaries; there are a variety of ways to celebrate a loved one's sacramental occasion.
Sister Miriam also maintains a "Special Order Book", where people can place custom orders for afghans, baby items, dog sweaters, "Monastery Mutts" (handmade stuffed dogs), rosaries, books and religious articles. Couples can also commission wedding candles handmade by Sister Valine Kachelmier.
"Something I hear a lot in here," says Sister Miriam, "is 'I didn't know you could get these things in the Monastery!'"
The Book and Gift Shop is open Monday-Thursday 12:45-2:15, Friday 9-11 & 12:45-2:15, Saturday 9-11 & 1:00-2:30, and Sunday 1:00-2:30. You can also visit the shop online at www.stgertrudesgifts.org. Sister Miriam can be reached by calling 208-962-5022 or emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Monastery of St. Gertrude Book and Gift Shop.
Sister Carol Ann to guide an exploration of values
The Sisters of the Monastery of St. Gertrude are guided by the values of Healing Hospitality, Grateful Simplicity and Creative Peacemaking. Every decision made by the community – from the big to the seeming insignificant – must reflect these values. The community’s decision-making processes are usually focused on how to keep actions and values aligned.
In the upcoming retreat, “Valuing Your Life: Living Your Values”, Sister Carol Ann Wassmuth will help you identify your own values and put them in the context of the Gospel. Then she will guide you in taking a deep look at how you are living those values and how you make choices when values come into conflict with each other.
Sister Carol Ann has coordinated the Monastery social justice office for 20 years. She also chairs the Monastery’s Care of the Land committee, is a member of Benedictines for Peace, and serves as a convener for the Idaho Interfaith Roundtable Against Hunger.
“Valuing Your Life: Living Your Values” begins Friday, March 25 at 7:30 pm and ends Sunday, March 27 at 1:30 pm. Suggested donation: $175 single/$260 shared (ask about the separate commuter rate for locals). For more information visit www.Spirit-Center.org or call 208-962-2000.