August 5, 2010
Professional networking is the sport of the day. We’re linking, tweeting, following, inviting and posting ourselves into a connections frenzy. Each social network keeps tabs on our number of connections, so we can see exactly how important we are. I have jumped in head first, along with millions of others, with this blog as an example of reaching out professionally online.
By contrast, the starkest of contrasts, are the Carmelites, a cloistered monastery in the Wichita Diocese. Here’s an excerpt from a story by Annie Calovich, Wichita Eagle reporter, from a few years back: Rising at 5 in the morning to pray, turning in at 11 at night to sleep on blanket-covered boards on the floor, the cloistered Carmelites follow a spiritual way of life that is probably the most austere and demanding of all the religious orders in the Catholic Church. No meat on their table, no socks on their sandaled feet, the nuns belong to a branch of the Carmelite order called “discalced” — meaning barefoot.”
The nuns support themselves on what they grow or make, including granola. We found them that way, through a friend recommending their delicious, toasted granola. And, who can resist “Heavenly Granola” made by nuns who dedicate their lives to prayer. Who do they pray for during their long days? Us. People they choose never to meet. A letter provided an update on their new monastery, as they wait to begin construction: “There were also some kind men who donated some bales and helped us to put them in place. Someone even told us that it looks like a fortress! We love it and are most grateful…”
I can hardly imagine a life offline, much less cloistered. It’s been a blessing for my family to know about them, even if it’s just through their granola or hand-made cards. The true gift from the Carmelites is the reminder to look inward and upward. We can’t connect our way to heaven, after all.
If you’re interested in trying Heavenly Granola, salsa or any of their hand-made products, write to them at: Discalced Carmelite Monastery, Box 278, Valley Center, Kan., 67147.
December 23, 2008
I saw this quote from Shakespeake: We are advertis’d by our loving friends. Had to laugh. Even Shakespeare was talking about word-of-mouth marketing.
Interesting reading on its value in WOMMA’s newest volume of “Measuring Word of Mouth.” First chapter is free to view online.