Sunday, June 16, 2019

Wisdom saying...

"After ecstasy, the laundry."

This week our own version of this wisdom saying becomes, "After retreat, the golf course" as we follow the famous Star Trek definition of its voyages: To seek out new life...and to boldly go where no Erie Benedictine has gone before---to a golf tournament fundraiser for the community!

Following a wonderful annual 5-day retreat this past week, we will be trekking (pun intended) out to our first fundraising venture into golf. Over 125 golfers will enjoy (we hope) time at a local golf club on behalf of funding our ministerial and community needs. Of course, they will be experiencing things that I'm pretty sure they don't have at most tournaments: the community choir singing a blessings, homemade chocolate cookies from one of our sisters, beautiful divot tools handmade from our wood turner and over half the community placed as guides and helpers throughout the course! Not to forget the pre-golf events such as Putt With the Prioress (trying to beat her to earn a free mulligan on their round) and a hot dog lunch on the grill by two sister-grillers (is there such a term as that?!??!)

I like everything about it so far...but this logo is at the top of my list...don't you love the clapper and the bell ringer!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Listening for another voice

We're on retreat this week...listening for another voice.


It doesn't have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch
a few words together and don't try
to make them elaborate, this isn't
a contest but the doorway
into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

Mary Oliver

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Sitting on the back porch

Sitting around on the back porch has new meaning when you see ours.It's about 50' long x 15' wide. It's a patio, spanning the full length of our dining and community rooms. There are three outdoor round tables with umbrellas and 14 matching chairs, two picnic tables, 1 glider, four wood-like chairs (2 regular and 2 rocking) and two large Rubbermaid containers for holding pads for the chairs.

Additionally, there are three fierce-looking owls standing guard, just daring our scores of birds to do a flyover and make a deposit. Yes, they do work, we have no bird poop on our patio! On the west side is a large kerosene grill and along the entire length a railing that is perfect for two large flower boxes that were filled and hung this weekend. Very nice touch.

On the far east end are the remains of a rain gauge..just the backing, no cylinder. I'll have to find a replacement, now that there's no snow to measure, we have to measure something, surely!

And it is from this very patio that this past Wednesday we saw our first fawn of the season. The mother and baby appeared crossing Troupe Rd. and proceeded to race across the entire length of our backyard, sticking right along the tree line. The fawn, and was it ever small, was keeping up with its mother (miraculously I thought) and seemed to fly behind her. What a beautiful sight. We were able to alert the sisters inside quick enough that lots of them witnessed the hoof-race, too. Ah, summer.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

A riot has broken out

in the form of irises! They are everywhere and they are just beautiful. The only "predator" they have is rain and we have had some this week, so it has taken a bit of a toll on the taller ones. The short ones seem to be able to handle it. Feelings of summer are really setting in a little now and it couldn't be welcomed more. Blessings on your summer days, too!

These are one of my favorites of all the ones we have around.
They are short and really stay upright no matter
the summer storms that come through.

This bunch is right downtown, right next to the curb of a street,
but they are beautiful and bring that beauty to the inner-city neighborhood.

These is a photo taken from one floor up, looking down from
 my bedroom window to the small garden below. 

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Expanding hospitality

This weekend we had a group from out of town for a weekend "retreat" of their own direction and organization. They filled most of our guest rooms and a hermitage or two. We only saw them at meals but they were absolutely lovely, easy to interact with, respectful and gracious. And they were all some kind of "Anonymous" member.

I checked on the internet and found over 30 Anonymous groups: alcoholics, over-eaters, gamblers, narcotics, codependents, sexaholics, workaholics, marijuana, nicotine anonymous and many more. Their commonality, it seems, is the 12 steps. It is the mainstay for all of these groups.

We have hundreds of people that come through here as part of our hospitality ministry. Most are friends, family members, oblates, many nuns or people in spirituality/religious ministries. They blend easily into our rhythm and daily life. But this group really gave me new thoughts on the hospitality we can offer: if we can provide a place that offers safety, non-judgment, kindness and respect, especially to relative "strangers" who need such, that has to be a very important piece of our Benedictine hospitality, too. I hope they'll be back.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Walling In or Walling Out

I read a line in an article last week that referenced Robert Frost's poem, "Mending Wall." I had little or no interest in classic literature in tenth grade but I looked it up now and sure enough, a totally different experience. Imagine, a poem written 105 years ago and yet as relevant today--human nature doesn't change all that much--and also in ways Frost may not have even imagined. I hope you like it, too.

Mending Wall by Robert Frost

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.

The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs.

The gaps I mean, no one has seen
them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.

I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.

To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
"Stay where you are until our backs are turned!"

We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:

There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, "Good fences make good neighbors."

Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
"Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.

Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down."

I could say "Elves" to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
he said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.

He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors."

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Looking up

The first of summer's holiday weekends was a welcome one. It brought later mornings, time to do things you just don't have the time to do when working every day, and the chance to visit friends, favorite places around town or just to relax at home. This weekend brought nice weather to Erie and, as we watch the "natural disasters" of rain and storms throughout the country every night on the news, don't think that we are not very grateful for our mild days.

Two media events also highlighted the weekend: the publication of the Spring/Summer Mount magazine and the appearance of our Sister Joan on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday. You can read about them on our community website and other places that google will find for you!

These two shots were found by "looking up" as I walked around our grounds.