In 1982, Sr. Gail entered the Passionist Community of St. Gabriel’s Monastery. During her novitiate in 1984, the community arranged for a joint educational experience with both the men and women Passionist novices in the USA. Teachers and scholars were invited from the Passionist Congregation to give classe on various aspects of religious life.
One of the presenters at the time was Fr. Thomas Berry a well respected Passionist priest in the Congregation. Thomas opened the minds of the novices and situated his listeners within the comprehensive context of a 13.7 billion year unfolding universe.
As Sr. Gail reflects:
Thomas challenged us to re-think ourselves and re-invent ourselves as humans within the entire Sacred Community of Life.
Beginning then in my novitiate in 1984 and continuing until his death in 2009, Thomas taught, guided, and mentored us in a deep time perspective while breaking open our religious imaginations as we pondered the ancient questions: Who are we? and Why are we here?
From 1991-1999, I founded and directed Homecomings: Center for Ecology and Contemplation as a ministry of my monastery. In 1993 Sr Bernadette joined me in the work as co-director.
Homecomings became the vehicle for concretizing the thought and challenges of Thomas Berry. It enabled us to begin to express our understanding of Earth as a “Communion of Subjects” through the creation of organic gardens, a small CSA, sustainable building design and energy use, teaching and retreat work.
In 1999, after a lengthy discernment process, my community of Passionist nuns generously gave me permission to begin a new community in the Church, one that would give expression to the Catholic Tradition as it enters its planetary/cosmological phase.
Sr. Bernadette, Sr. Rita Ordakowski (who later returned back to our former monastery) and myself were welcomed into the Diocese of Burlington, Vermont by the former Bishop, Kenneth Angell. We arrived in Weston, Vermont on June 1, 1999 and began the journey which would lead us to the founding of Green Mountain Monastery.
We are extremely grateful for the support of many religious communities and friends who have helped and encouraged us along the way. In 2005 we were able to purchase 160 acres of land in Greensboro, Vermont along with a beautiful farmhouse and barn that has been transformed into Green Mountain Monastery and the Thomas Berry Sanctuary.