October 15, 2010
Abbot: We all need places and times for sanctuary

The man who played a pivotal role in Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves’ experience at the Mount St. Benedict Monastery five years ago says that sanctuary is something that should be sought by all.{{more}}

Abbot John Pereira, Order of St. Benedict (OSB), speaking on Thursday, October 7, at the book launching / prayer breakfast of Dr. Gonsalves book, Diary of a prime Minister: Ten days among the Benedictine Monks, said that seeking sanctuary is part of being human, and that there is a need in everyone to create places of sanctuary in their lives.

“There must be pockets and spaces in our lives for sanctuary.”

“It is this sanctuary that allows us to sit back and reflect on the ultimate meaning of human existence,” Pereira stated.

“Jesus sought sanctuary several times in his life. When people were hounding him down to touch him to be healed, he would run away and go up to the hills to pray because Jesus knew the need for going apart for seeking sanctuary.”

Five centuries before Christ, the greatest philosopher who ever lived, Socrates, stated that the unexamined life is not worth living.”

“We all need places and times for sanctuary.”

Abbot John said that the book, which details the Prime Minister’s thoughts and observations during his August 12 – 22, 2005, stay at the monastery located in Northern Trinidad, set the tone for the importance of sanctuary in everyone’s lives.

He said that it should be seen as an invitation to take time for reflection.

“When the Prime Minister, in the midst of his busy schedule, can take time for sanctuary, he is making a statement not only for himself and his family, but for the rest of the society.”

Abbot John described his Mount St. Benedict Monastery as an indelible part of the spiritual landscape of the Caribbean, and as a tower of strength to the people of all faiths and political persuasions.

“Trinidad would be a much poorer place without the monastery; the West Indies would be a much poorer place without the abbey.”(JJ)