In September, 2017, Sr Kathy, our abbess, attended the General Chapter of the Cistercian Order in Assisi, Italy. This meeting of Cistercian abbots and abbesses from around the world happens every three years. The work of the Chapter is mainly pastoral and one can witness the bond of charity that unites all Cistercians across all the continents as our Order faces difficult matters affecting our monasteries as well as sharing the grace of contemplative life. At the General Chapter, the participants experience monastic life embodied in cultures very different from their own. It is an enriching experience, one that expands the horizons of one’s heart and mind reminding us that we are united as one larger body of Christ’s love. The assembled abbesses, abbots and delegates also had the special grace of a private audience with Pope Francis. After his talk to them, he surprisingly proceeded to shake the hand of each, 200 in all!