Frozen communion wine, soft rains that caressed the earth and winds that wrought an all-consuming yellow fog are described meticulously by the 17th century Swiss monk in accounts once consigned to dark ecclesiastical archives.
It's a bit sobering to read the words of someone who lived 300 or so years ago describing their thoughts on the weather and how it makes them feel. That something as simple as a quill and paper could endure throughout the years and bring the thoughts of the long dead to us now.
Jan. 11 was so frightfully cold that all of the communion wine froze," says an entry from 1684 by Brother Josef Dietrich, governor and "weatherman" of the once-powerful Einsiedeln Monastery. "Since I've been an ordained priest, the sacrament has never frozen in the chalice."
"But on Jan. 13 it got even worse and one could say it has never been so cold in human memory," he adds.