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SVC student spends summer months with Benedictine Nuns

by Public Relations | October 20, 2022



LATROBE, PA – Saint Vincent College junior Garrett Miller, of Glen Burnie, Maryland, spent a month living in the guest house of the priory of the Benedictine Nuns of Our Lady of The Rock on Shaw Island in Washington state this past summer.

Miller, a member of the Honors Community and the Benedictine Leadership Studies program,originally learned from Dr. Michael Krom, professor of philosophy, of the opportunity, but the experience came together after virtually meeting with Mother Noella Marcellino, Prioress at Our Lady of the Rock Monastery, who extended an offer for him to join them. A theology and psychology double major, Miller used the experience as a psychology internship, emphasizing the profound opportunities he had to be still and find joy in the small daily tasks he completed.

From mid-June to mid-July, Miller’s daily life would begin with morning mass and prayer and eventually continue with work that needed to be done at the monastery. Some of his regular tasks included gardening, cooking meals, haying and caring for the animals, but his routine differed from day-to-day. While breaking for lunch, he would have time for reflection and prayer before returning to finish his tasks until vespers, a service of evening prayer in the Divine Office of the Western Christian Church. Miller attended classes during his month at the monastery on topics such as scripture and Gregorian chant.

With a small priory of only six nuns, Miller emphasized the welcoming he felt from the larger community including oblates, friends and neighbors when he first arrived. “Community and hospitality are the values I saw the most around me,” shared Miller, talking of the abundant number of community members always lending a helping hand. Miller took this opportunity to expand his knowledge beyond the classroom and understand more about real world practices involving a life differing from the typical suburban life to which he was accustomed and Benedictine values. “I learned more about the life of a Benedictine, the contemplative lifestyle and the value of working the land and using what it can offer you,” said Miller. “The trip really opened my eyes to island living; I was guided by the light of the day and the schedule of the ferry instead of alarm sounds.”

Overall, the experience was a relaxing and joyful one for Miller. “It was through taking time from my daily jobs on the island that I felt joy being with nature and experiencing the security and friendliness of the islanders on Shaw.