Throughout the world, November is the month when people remember and venerate their beloved ancestors. In Christian traditions, November 1st has always been the day when the saints, the holy ones, are honored – hence “Halloween” or the Eve of All Hallowed.
At the Benedictine Grange in West Redding, November has traditionally been the month when persons whose lives proved worthy of honor are brought to the attention of the community with photographs and paintings displayed on the walls, posts, and beams of the worship space.
This year, through the creative artistry of Charyn Atkin, the interior of the Civil War-era barn is hung with dramatic banners featuring the faces of the “saints” — canonized or not, Catholic or not. Hence Gandhi and Mother Teresa, Chief Seattle and Dag Hammarskjold share space with Maximilian Kolbe and Edith Stein (martyrs of the Holocaust), John XXIII and John the Baptist, Mother Frances Cabrini and newly canonized Kateri Tekakwitha. Fifty faces surround worshippers, bringing to memory lives dedicated to the pursuit of peace, equality, education, health care, and environmental concerns.
This is the message of November. The barn is open to anyone who wishes to spend time in quiet contemplation of lives well lived, lives worthy of emulation. Come and see!