Sunday, October 15, 2017

Community Milestone

Our community celebrates something big on this fine Sunday. Today is the birthday of Sister Placida, the first member of this group of Benedictine women to reach 100 years of age.

Placida's spirit is still young, vibrant, and sharp. She is an avid reader and lover of beauty. The other day when I was talking to her, she told me about her evolution of finding God. Now she finds God in the breeze.

My first memory of Placida takes me back to a time before I was a community member myself. At my first Holy Week, Placida sat at a table with me during dinner on Holy Thursday. We struck up a good conversation, and by the end of Triduum, she had given a Benedictine medal to another sister to give to me. The catch was that she thought she was my biological sister. It created a fun bond, and I credit my first Benedictine medal to Sister Placida. Since then, I have gained many more wonderful memories of a very special woman...and a few more medals to boot!

Join with me in celebrating our dear Sister Placida! L'chaim!

Let us walk in the holy presence.

(Placida trying on my scarf right after I entered the community)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A Field of Stars

We just heard an enrichment series program from one of our oblates who walked the Camino--a pilgrimage through France and Spain that ends at Santiago de Compostela. It is well known now; most have probably heard of it, so it is always nice to hear a personal account.

My favorite book that I've read about the Camino is To The Field of Stars, which is the account of an American priest walking the journey. And these are my favorite lines from the book:

We want that one star to reveal a twinkle in the eye of God for us. Well, actually we want to see far more than just one star; we want to see them all, strewn, cast, dancing away in their galactic pinwheels. We want to see there an extravagant God who does not count or measure but just pours and pours and pours, grace upon grace, stars upon stars, in our sky, into us. We hope against hope that before we die we might see what Abraham saw: a universe shot through with sparkling care. Then everything will make sense. To witness all this, to see the stars dance, to dance with them ourselves, this is what attracts us, this is what has grabbed us by our souls, and this is what is pulling us down this crazy road. Ah, yes, the seeing of stars is indeed a great thing in this life.

Stars, and the night sky in general, fascinate me. Isn't this a beautiful reflection?

Let us walk in the holy presence.

(I don't remember where I found this picture, but I love it.)

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Profession Blessings

Yesterday our community celebrated a beautiful moment--the perpetual monastic profession of Sister Pat. It was a beautiful day in every way: joyful, sunny, and full of love.

I personally loved the chapel environment with rose arrangements symbolizing death and life. They perfectly represented the Paschal Mystery into which Pat professed to live through obedience, stability, and fidelity to monastic life.

Many blessings to Pat as she continues her journey into the Heart of Love with this community.

Uphold me, O God, according to Your word and I shall live; and do not fail me in my hope.

Let us walk in the holy presence.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Cycling With Sisters

I went into Monday's bike ride knowing that it would personally be a fitting way to end my novitiate year: a tangible and meaningful journey that represents the commitment I am about to make two and a half weeks from now--a prayerful pilgrimage with community.

And it was just that.

There were no exceptional, extraordinary moments that were the "must-tell" stories. The whole experience was just plain ol' wonderful, filled with beauty throughout...and we did it together.

A fellow journeyer asked me about my vocation story while entering into Buffalo--telling my tale while riding felt appropriate. Riding across into Canada on the Peace Bridge was a thrill, too.

And, there was the destination.

Thank you all for your support, for staying connected with us throughout the day, for wanting to hear about it all upon our return. We did it together.

Let us ride in the holy presence.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

The Journey

Here is a picture of the early days of me learning to ride a bike with a friend.

You might be surprised by how old I look. Yes, I learned to ride a bike when I was 24.

I don't have a picture of the actual day that I was first able to "push off" and remain stable, but it was a long journey to get to that day.

Tomorrow, a group of us will be riding our bikes from North East, PA to Niagara Falls in support of the Communicators for Women Religious (CWR) and women religious in general. The network's annual conference meets in Niagara Falls this year, and a bike pilgrimage will begin the meeting with prayer stops along the way--mindful of social justice issues at the heart of the Gospel work of women religious

Yes, a 100-mile journey. And, yes, we are excited!

You can follow us live on Facebook tomorrow by clicking on this.

You can also read about the ride, called Cycling With Sisters.

And here.

See you on the road!

Let us walk in the holy presence.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Awesome Flowers

The other day at a meal a group of us talked about the way we sort all our photos on our computers. Some use categories; some use years; some use more specific dates. I use specific dates for the most part. But, I loved hearing one person tell us that a category she uses to organize is simply "Awesome." There were some who also used the category "flowers."

So, in honor of this conversation, here are some awesome flowers from my time in Maine during a visit to Thuya Garden.

This subcategory is Dahlias--one of my favorite flowers:

And file these in the subcategory "Becoming," as I found the same flower in different phases of its life cycle:
(Belle blanche) 


(Another Dahlia or two or three)

And, finally, creatures on flowers:

Let us walk in the holy presence.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Two Weeks Later

After a safe return from some wonderful time with family and friends, you can trust that you will be graced with many pictures of my adventures in upcoming posts.

My time in Maine was an embarrassment of riches: good, good people; beautiful, awe-inspiring nature; and delicious, flavorful food.

My friend and I stumbled upon a lovely store one day, and we found a book full of quirky lists. So, my first sharing of my time away is a list of rules from Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles from the 1960's. The list was written by Corita Kent (at the time Sister Mary Corita) for the art department at the college.

RULE ONE: Find a place you trust, and then try trusting it for awhile.

RULE TWO: General duties of a student — pull everything out of your teacher; pull everything out of your fellow students.

RULE THREE: General duties of a teacher — pull everything out of your students.

RULE FOUR: Consider everything an experiment.

RULE FIVE: Be self-disciplined — this means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them. To be disciplined is to follow in a good way. To be self-disciplined is to follow in a better way.

RULE SIX: Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail, there’s only make.

RULE SEVEN: The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. It’s the people who do all of the work all of the time who eventually catch on to things.

RULE EIGHT: Don’t try to create and analyze at the same time. They’re different processes.

RULE NINE: Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It’s lighter than you think.

RULE TEN: “We’re breaking all the rules. Even our own rules. And how do we do that? By leaving plenty of room for X quantities.” (John Cage)

HELPFUL HINTS: Always be around. Come or go to everything. Always go to classes. Read anything you can get your hands on. Look at movies carefully, often. Save everything — it might come in handy later.

I loved stumbling upon some artists in Acadia who came on a painting trip. The particular artist I encountered has been painting for 25 years and is now painting full time. He travels with a group of fellow artists to different locations; when he told me this I said, "What a wonderful way to create community." He said he hadn't thought of it that way. I asked if I could take a picture; he obliged. Community, indeed.

Let us walk in the holy presence.