St. Placid Priory is a women’s Benedictine monastic community. We come from diverse backgrounds and have pursued many different careers. We are down-to-earth. We follow the Rule of St. Benedict, pray together and extend our Benedictine presence to the local community in the Olympia, Washington area.
We are healthy risk-takers, willing to follow the call of the Holy Spirit–even when the invitation seems unsure. We are a community with some structure and much freedom. We strive to allow the Rule of Benedict and the prophetic call to influence our lives. We are optimistic about our future and are taking concrete steps to prepare for our monastic future in the next century. We seek to cultivate a gentle spirit, bringing a non-violent stance to our conversation, interactions and ministry.
Most people have never heard of St. Placid. He is one of the Church’s early, although little known saints. We read in the Dialogues of Gregory the Great:
Once while blessed Benedict was in his room, one of his monks, the boy Placid, went down to get some water. In letting the bucket fill too rapidly, he lost his balance and was pulled into the lake, where the current quickly seized him and carried him about a stone’s throw from the shore.
Though inside the monastery at the time, the man of God was instantly aware of what had happened and called out to Maurus: “Hurry, Brother Maurus! The boy who just went down for water has fallen into the lake, and the current is carrying him away.”
Maurus asked for the blessing and on receiving it hurried out to fulfill his abbot’s command. He kept on running even over the water till he reached the place where Placid was drifting along helplessly. Pulling him up by the hair, Maurus rushed back to shore, still under the impression that he was on dry land. It was only when he set foot on the ground that he came to himself and looking back, realized that he had been running on the surface of the water. Overcome with fear and amazement at a deed he would never have thought possible, he returned to his abbot and told him what had taken place.
The holy man would not take any personal credit for the deed but attributed it to the obedience of his disciple. Maurus, on the contrary, claimed that it was due entirely to his abbot’s command. He could not have been responsible for the miracle himself, he said, since he had not even known he was performing it. While they were carrying on this friendly contest of humility, the question was settled by the boy who had been rescued. “When I was being drawn out of the water,” he told them, “I saw the abbot’s cloak over my head; he is the one I thought was bringing me to shore.”
Our community identifies well with our patron saint. Our lives have been with the anawim, those who know they are entirely dependent upon God. We know ourselves to be the anawim. There have been many times that we have felt overwhelmed with difficulties yet God pulled us through, providing for us in wonderfully miraculous ways. Yet through times of challenge and of the miraculous, we began anew to live the ordinary faithfully. We remain unswerving in our monastic observance and to God’s call in our lives.
NOTE: The statue of St. Placid shown above was sculpted by Bruno Laverdiere, at that time a monk of St. Martin’s Abbey. It was commissioned by the first graduating class of St. Placid High School, the Class of 1965, as a gift to the Sisters of St. Placid Priory. Here’s Little Placid in his current home–our 50th Jubilee fountain at St. Placid’s entrance.