After devouring all the food in the hotel (Eggs, sausage, Waffles, fruit, yogurt, cereal, and juice), we piled on the bus and headed to Saint Meinrad for our next recording session. We recorded the first part of Vespers for Our Lady. A few of our singers and chaperones attended noon-prayer while the remainder of us were starving and chowed down on chicken and shrimp gumbo. The workers at the Abbey prepare all their food from scratch to create delicious meals for the monks and the guests. The Abbey is known for their bread, which they sell locally to the region.

After lunch, we rested a little before Br. Maurus took us on a walking tour of the Abbey, Seminary, and Chapels. St. Meinrad is full of beautiful religious paintings and sculptures as well as exhibits on race and the Catholic Church in the United States. We learned all about monastic life at the Abbey; there are about 90 monks who continuously abide at the Abbey with a dedicated wing for the elderly with round-the-clock care. Despite the heat, we toured the Abbey’s prayer garden, which was filled with flowing water, abundant flowers, and places to stop and pray in silence. It was our first awe inspiring nature moment of the day, but it would not be out last.

After the tour, we were exhausted!! We are sleeping, we promise, but Dr. Doerries works us hard! We rested for a little while playing catchphrase and slapjack while other read and knitted. After we recovered, we recorded for an hour the Magnificat from the Vespers and then boarded the bus for Marengo Caves. (Congratulations to our soloists for the day, Marcella, Maria, and Flannery, who stayed a little later to perfect their music!)

Marengo Caves gave us a private, mile-long tour of the three levels of caverns that make up the US National Landmark. We saw stalactites, stalagmites, underground rivers, and the total darkness of cave life. We were moved by the natural beauty of the rock formations and the serenity of rooms that could fit two-story houses. We sang a few of our songs in Callers’ Canyon, where in the 19th and early 20th centuries local residents held concerts and square dances. Because the caves stay at approximately 52 degrees year-round, in the 1920s a local Brethren church held Sunday services in the cave rather than in the heat of their church.

After a quick trip to the gift shop and dinner at the caves we boarded the bus, full of new experiences, and headed back to our hotel. We held a short evening prayer and then made our way to bed. We also celebrated Marie’s 13th birthday!

We were tired and instead of staying up late into the evening chatting and giggling, we passed out asleep. Even the chaperones looked pooped! In the morning when Dr. Doerries asked us how much sleep we got the previous night, we reported record numbers of hours!

We are headed to Sunday services and mass this morning, before having lunch at the Abbey and our afternoon recording session. Tonight, we are excited to visit Holiday World amusement park!

Love to Mom, Dad, Grandmother and Grandfather, all our siblings, and pets!