What happens when you mix an Islamic mystic, a Benedictine convent, and a small town with a large military population? Is it the set-up for a wacky movie? Or a documentary on the clash between tragically limited people.
In this case, it’s an experimental leap of faith, as St. Placid Priory opens its doors for a performance of the poetry of Rumi, the 13th century Persian mystic, in Lacey, Washington.
Sister Lucy directs the community’s spirituality center, where they offer an amazing array of programs to nurture spiritual growth, from writing haiku, to making pottery, to practicing meditation. When she invited me to share Rumi’s work two years ago, my heart skipped. This kind of encounter completely suits Rumi, who wrote, “I go into the Muslim mosque and the Jewish synagogue and the Christian church and I see one altar.” And it fits the Benedictines too, who practice radical welcome and pioneered lectio divina — a process of reflecting on sacred words that any ecstatic would gobble up.
Once Patrick, my musical partner signed on, I knew this was something I wanted to be part of. It’s been two years a-comin’, now a mere month away. The whole project took another leap when the radiant Tamara Roberts agreed to teach a workshop on Rumi with me before the performance. One more pool to play in.
What are we in for? I don’t know. But it won’t be boring. Folks are calling Sister Lucy asking questions. They are students of Rumi, glad to find friends in unexpected places. Like a convent in Lacey, Washington. Welcome, Rumi. Welcome all.