images of the crossing over

First-year student boiling dishes


At the end of each season, the first-year students boil the stainless steel dishes used by the community for informal meals in one of the kitchen’s old-school cast-iron cauldrons. Set into  wood-burning concrete hearths, we have three such cauldrons: one is used every day, three meals a day for soup, and two are reserved for “special work” like boiling mass amounts of corn-on-the-cob, and boiling the dishes.

Hot. Intense: all two hundred+ dishes must be boiled, polished, rinsed, and dried in an hour. Back-breaking, from the hours-long process of building the fire and bringing over 20 liters of water to a boil to carting the dishes back and forth from the cauldron to the dish-washing area, and from and back to the main hall.

This first-year student crouches over the cauldron on the hearth itself, pulling dishes out of the water one by one and handing them off to another nun.


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