On March 26-28 we hosted Fr. Augustine Thompson, OP from the Western Province for lectures on Dominican Conversus/Lay/Cooperator Brothers (and a little on the sisters!). Fr. Thompson has been studying this topic in depth in preparation for a book he is writing. This series of lectures was a little extra-ordinary in that it was something of an international event. We had Dominican monasteries from three countries participating: America, Canada, and Trinidad. This involved a little scrambling as we tried to find times that suited three different time zones!
They joined us via GoToMeeting to take part in the lectures as a sort of 'trial run' to see if/how this would work as part of the on-going formation programs the Association runs for the monasteries. We had a wonderful, patient lecturer and the format seemed to work well. We'll have to wait and hear the experiences of the other participating monasteries to see what needs tweaking. The four monasteries participating were us, Queen of Peace Monastery in British Columbia, Canada, Rosary Monastery in Trinidad, and the Monastery of the Infant Jesus in Lufkin, Texas. You can read about Lufkin's experience of the lectures in their blog post Monastic Cyberspace.
Fr. Thompson spent each session lecturing and then had time for questions and comments at the end. It wasn't just the Summit nuns who could ask questions, the sisters in the other monasteries raised their hands and Sr. Mary Magdalene (or the rest of us!) would alert Father and they'd be able to interact. It was really neat to attend the lectures with three other monasteries: an incredible way to share lectures without leaving the monastery, as well as a great opportunity to foster relationships between the monasteries.