I feel kinda bad about pointing out that Mother Margaret-Georgina Patton is Patton’s n/i/e/c/e (sorry, that’s “granddaughter”!) when what’s really important about her personally was that after her conversion to Catholicism and entrance into the Regina Laudis Benedictine monastery, she’s become a pretty big authority on a bunch of things. But for good or ill, this woman has her Patton relatives stamped all over her face and bearing, as well as her given name. And it is cool to have that contact with a history longer than last Tuesday.
Anyway, you don’t get to see the Regina Laudis sisters all over the tube, so it’s pretty special. The show is called EWTN On Location, which is a grab-all title for conferences elsewhere that EWTN records and airs. This one was the Holy Trinity Apostolate’s Lenten Conference from back on March 10, up in Sterling Heights, Michigan. They’ll be showing two talks from 9-11 AM, and another two talks from 1-2:30. I don’t know when Mother Patton will be on, but it looks like maybe in the afternoon. One of her compadres, Mother Olivia-Frances Arnold, was also there.
UPDATE: Mothers Patton and Arnold are on right now. The topic is “Cultivating Sacred Space as a Place of Martyrdom: A Monastic Witness.” Monasticism is supposed to be white martyrdom; they follow the primitive Benedictine observance, so there’s a lot of work and a very simple life. Mother Patton doesn’t look as Pattonesque in her habit as she did in pictures of her in work clothes doing farm stuff! So now I don’t feel so bad.
Her talk addressed her army family, as part of talk about how monastics have to come to terms with their spiritual genealogy. It talks about how she rebelled against her beloved family as a teenager and even protested against Vietnam while her dad was serving there, but eventually had to learn to accept and love these parts of herself again. She also learned that not only had her grandfather’s army liberated the abbey’s founder, but in that moment God had called her to found an abbey in America. She also had to learn the relationship of Benedictine spirituality to Roman army life, organized by watches and obedience. But she also found a lot of holiness in the vow of stability and the abbey’s relationship to its land. (Not surprising, since army brats move around a lot.)
Anyway, the conference topic was “The Christian Vocation: The Call to Martyrdom.” There were talks on “White Martyrdom” (ie, asceticism and other ways to imitate martyrs if people aren’t killing you), “The Life and Spirituality of St. Francis de Sales,” and whatever the other speakers wanted to talk about.