Sunday, September 15, 2019

Closer and Closer

We attended another formation weekend in Villa Maria, PA. These are formation weekends where we hear a speaker while interacting with others in initial formation from different communities as well as those journeying with us. Nancy Schreck, a Franciscan sister, spoke to us on the vow of poverty, in a conversation titled, “The Terrible Grace of Poverty.” She gave us great food for mental fodder.

What makes me chuckle about these weekends is that we call them “Total Formation weekends.” Yes, I know it takes a different meaning than the one that brings me a laugh, but “total formation”...ha. When will that happen?

I thought about the phrase while I walked on Saturday morning. I decided I would keep my eyes open for photos that I could post here. Enjoy some of them below. But towards the end of the walk, I saw young ivy crawling up a wall; the contrast between the green ivy and cement brick caught my eye. I tried to find the right framing for the photo, and I found myself moving in—closer and closer.

As I moved closer and closer, I kept becoming aware of more and more complexity and detail in the ivy’s growth. See that newest growth right at the top? Look closely. As we move closer and closer to God’s “total” embrace, may we continue recognizing more and more that Love is the only true thing calling us to grow.

Let us walk in the holy presence.

Monday, September 9, 2019

A-sailin' we will go!

Last week we enjoyed our once-a-year treat...a sailboat ride offered by a friend and supporter of the community. One cannot complain too much about that. It was a beautiful evening, just enough wind to tip the boat just enough to frighten some, and a colorful evening sky to boot. Again, one cannot complain too much about that. We here in Erie savor, soak up, and relish in these moments, storing them up in our spiritual muscle memory for winter hibernation.

(For a few more photos from another sister's blog, click here.)

Let us walk in the holy presence.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Catholic Day of Action for Immigration

Tomorrow, in Newark, NJ, there will be a Catholic Day of Action for Immigration. Let us send prayerful support to all those who will be there calling for just immigration legislation and practices. A few people from our own Erie Benedictines for Peace are going to support this demonstration, and there will be a vigil here in Erie as well:

Vigil for Immigrant Children
Wednesday, September 4th
12:15 to 12:45 pm
Governor's Northwest Regional Office, 100 State Street

Another way to support is to call your Senators (202-224-3121) or call the White House (202-456-1111). Use your democratic voice to say that you respect all life and desire justice for all people.

We are grateful to Benedictines for Peace for also sharing/providing a suggested text for calling:

I am a person of faith and I am calling to demand that [Senator ____ ] [President Trump] immediately end the unjust and immoral practice of detaining children and families. Family is sacred. It is the cornerstone of our church and our communities and it must be protected. Guided by our Catholic faith and our national values, we affirm the dignity of all people and our call to love our neighbors. We can and must remain a country that provides refuge for children and families fleeing violence and persecution. Thank You!

And a suggestion for spreading the word through social media:

#Catholics have a sacred duty to defend the rights and dignity of all immigrants. On 9/4 Catholic leaders from all over the country are demanding an end to child and family detention. #CatholicDayofAction.
We're joining #CatholicDayofAction in Newark to urge #Trump and #Congress to end child and family detention. We must end the injustice. #Catholics4Migrants.
Prayers + statements are not enough when immigrant childrenand families are in cages and the powerful refuse to act. Catholics will risk arrest 9/4 in a demonstration of sacred resistance @Newark. Stop the Inhumanity #EndChildDetention.

*Watch/share the Facebook Live-Stream of the Newark action:

Let us walk in the holy presence.

Monday, August 26, 2019

All the Way to Heaven is Heaven

This time of year in Erie, I call it "perfect." Every farm stand is full of color and bounty. We are blessed.

As I bought some fresh corn and plums from a neighbor down the road on Friday, I thought to myself, "This is heaven." We are eating so many fresh and rich flavors right now. There’s fresh corn served on the regular for dinner; we have had peaches and tomatoes and beans, too. Everything is right “off the vine” and into our bodies for nourishment. These days make the winter worth it for me. Wouldn’t you say?

And remember that corn we planted in June?

Look at it now! (Yes, it's delicious.)

It doesn’t get much better than this.

Let us walk in the holy presence.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Photo Lectio

It’s not very often that I am attentive enough or quick enough to capture moments like these.

The praying mantis is eating a yellow jacket (wasp? hornet?). It was mesmerizing to watch close up, to have the praying mantis turn and make direct eye contact with me, and to be able to take a photo, but yet, the compassion for the victim. And as I looked at the photo more closely, there was more and more to notice.

“We do not live in a simple world.” (Mary Oliver)

Let us walk in the holy presence.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Vines, Vines, & More Vines!

Thanks to the corporate commitment project that we complete as novices in our community, we now compost. One sister, who has since made first profession, decided to research and plan a composting system that would work for us. People have signed up to help with taking out food waste to our bins during their “dish week” and another sister turns the piles. It’s working wonderfully so far, and I am grateful for that. Very exciting!

Even more exciting is what we have found while taking out the buckets!

An accidental, but most welcome melon! ‘Tis the gift of stray seeds and sunshine, indeed!

In other vine-related news, the grapes, living in their natural habitats, are looking lovely on the vines during these perfect summer Sunday bike rides! I can taste them already! So sweet and juicy!

Let us walk in the holy presence.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Culinary Luxuries

“Luxury is best appreciated in small portions. When it becomes routine it loses its allure."

I recently finished reading Ruth Reichl's new memoir, Save Me the Plums. It details the food writer's time as editor-in-chief of the magazine, Gourmet. I love her writing, and this was an easy and enjoyable summer read—as all summer reads should be!

The above quote about luxury stopped me in my tracks. Isn't it the truth? I had my own luxurious experience last week when I got to spend four uninterrupted hours in the kitchen, trying out something new: homemade ravioli.

I had decided I want to try and make sweet potato ravioli a while ago and had left this recipe open in a tab in Chrome for months. With the visit of a dear friend following the next evening, it was the right time. Even though it's an autumnal recipe, it worked quite well, swapping out the walnuts and basil for caramelized onions.

I don't often have the opportunity to spend such time in the kitchen, playing around with something like this. I am usually doing something a bit more practical like throwing together some veggies and some grain for a week's worth of lunch. The process of figuring out the best way to make the circles for the pasta, getting the filling right, taking the time to roll out piece after piece as prayerfully as possibly, and best of all, sharing it with others as the delicate pieces finished cooking, was such delight, a true luxury, for me.

Just before I had entered the kitchen for the afternoon, we had been talking at table about how to keep a novitiate-like quality in our busy lives. My time spent making sweet potato ravioli was just that!

Let us walk in the holy presence.

Rolling out the pasta dough 

Making the sweet potato filling

The first attempt needing some re-working—looks like a pierogi!

Getting the circles right after playing around a bit

Aerial view

More and more ravioli—a delicious treat!

Closer and Closer

We attended another formation weekend in Villa Maria, PA. These are formation weekends where we hear a speaker while interacting with others...