Saturday, October 1, 2022

Oh, Happy Day, Kathy!

If you look around the monastery, you might notice a few differences:

There are some colorful, bold mums lined up outside, next to a door that goes into our chapel.

There are unique, yet familiar cookies in the kitchen...

There are extra tables and chairs lined up in the community room...

Yes, today is a special day because our dear Kathy is making her final profession to this community. It's hard to hold back a smile when you spot these differences making your way around the monastery. And more "indicators," if you will, of this grace-filled day will pop up as the day continues. The Paschal Candle will be set up in chapel. Friends and family will walk through the front door. The joy and excitement will build in anticipation of the late-afternoon profession liturgy.

The traditional Shaker hymn, Simple Gifts, will interlace the Gospel proclamation during the ceremony. I spent some time listening to varied arrangements and performances of the song yesterday to center myself. It is a well-known and oft-used song and tune, so I shouldn't have been surprised to discover all I found, but perhaps the one that surprised and delighted me most was Aaron Copland's arrangement.

Community is a celebration of so many gifts, simple and layered, coming together to be something greater than the singular. The gifts that Kathy brings to community are both simple and multifaceted, too. Decades of working in L'Arche communities has gifted Kathy with a patient and gentle presence. Kathy also has a deep love and respect for the natural world. When she was a novice, she revived our composting efforts at the monastery and has helped to care for new trees, reduce plastic in the house, and transport glass recycling that can't be picked up here. Plus, Kathy's infectious smile and laugh make it hard to resist your own.

Kathy was the next woman to enter community after I did, which makes me her "angel"—the one who tried to help with the little things when she began her monastic journey...things as mundane as where to find everyday items or how to turn on the dishwasher. But, of course, few, if anyone, would argue that I have anywhere near the angelic qualities of Kathy. She is one-of-a-kind, and it feels like such a gift to welcome her fully into our community today.

Blessings on you, Kathy.

Let us walk in the holy presence.


Enjoy some other versions of Simple Gifts.

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