Thursday, April 30, 2009

Spring on Seven-Mile Creek

A morning spring walk this week along Seven-Mile Creek as it winds its way through our property. This walk starts at Glinodo's entrance on East Lake Road, cuts in from the road to Kraus Path right alongside the creek, and ends at our shoreline of Lake Erie. Enjoy!

Daffodils grow up right in the woods every year.

The water is low in spots, revealing the shale.

Groups of early May Apples are everywhere on our grounds.

Deeper spots make the best fishing holes.

It's easy to spot cardinals these days.

This pretty ground cover is really an invasive plant.

Every winter some trees become firewood.

Two or three pure white hyacinths come up each year right on the bluff's edge where the creek turns.

Little waterfalls occur as the creek winds its way north.

Ah, at last: the lake!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Monastic Lexicon #10

Sr. Irene's Bread

One of our sisters is a baker and a golden jubilarian to boot. From her kitchen comes a variety of breads: kuchens, quick breads, regular loaves (white and wheat), and numerous specialty items at holidays. They are, of course, delicious and are much sought after by locals who know "Benedictine bread."

A small variety is sold every Sunday after morning liturgy and they are very often given as gifts to staff members at many of our corporate institutions and as special "thank yous" to visitors; some of her breads were part of our gift to our major benefactors just yesterday.

Numerous monastic houses in the US are famous for their specialty foods; often these make up a sizable portion of the community's income. Here's a sampling:

Monks Bread: Abbey of Genesee
Creamed Honey: Redwoods Abbey
Caramels: Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey
Fruitcake, cheese: Abbey of Gethsemani
Jellies: St. Joseph's Abbey

PS. The bird I showed on the last post is a house finch.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Busy Weekend Ahead

This weekend holds lots of activity as our annual Spring Community Weekend is held. On Saturday we have a speaker, Sr. Mary Ann Hinsdale, IHM, a professor of theology at Boston College. The theme for her two presentations is "Hoping for a Church We Can Believe In."

Sunday morning brings a special liturgy and annual Benefactors' Brunch as many of our friends and faithful supporters join us at the Mount. This year they will also get special tours of our renovated bedrooms and health care areas. It'll be hard to find a free vacuum cleaner on Saturday!

A couple more Earth Week shots:

A daylong 40-50 mph wind last Monday cancelled flights from our airport, interfered with computer and other electronic transmissions, and downed wires and trees everywhere. Half of this beautiful old evergreen in our east yard was down when we got home that afternoon.

Here's a new bird to my feeder. Does anyone know what it is? This is the male, with beautiful red coloring on its head and breast. The female is all brown, with just the slightest hint of red on its head. They were even feeding together side by side one day.

On Wednesday we had wonderful additions to our prayer for Earth Day.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Earth Week

Earth Day/Week looks to be especially appropriate this year as our sunny, warm and early spring continues and we're all totally enmeshed in the blooming all around us. I'm sure our Morning and Evening Prayer this Wednesday will be Earth Day based and full of images of our planet and fellow creatures and all living things.

One of our sisters took advantage of a spring afternoon at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center (TREC) this weekend by going to a beach glass jewelry class. Erie's beaches are a veritable treasure of beach glass and the delicate necklace and earrings she made were lovely. Perhaps we're looking at a new product for our Chapter 57 gift shop.

"The Poet Comments on Yet Another Approaching Spring"

Don't flowers put on their
prettiness each spring and
go to it with
everything they've got? Who

would criticize the bed of
yellow tulips or the blue
So put a

bracelet on your
ankle with a
bell on it and make a
little music for

the earth beneath your foot, or
wear a hat with hot-colored
ribbons for the
pleasure of the

leaves and the clouds, or a least
a ring with a gleaming
stone for your finger; yesterday
I watched a mother choose

exquisite ear-ornaments for someone
beloved, in the spring
of her life; they were
for her for sure, but also it seemed

a promise, a love-message, a commitment
to all girls, and boys too, so
beautiful and hopeful in this hard world
and young.

Mary Oliver

New Easter Morning and Evening prayer (sidebar).

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Easter Week

We are still all pleasantly "recovering" from the liturgically rich and busy days of Holy Thursday through Easter Sunday.

So many of our guests told us that the services, especially the two morning tenebraes, the Saturday night vigil of Easter and Easter Sunday itself were some of the best they've experienced here. Our celebrant, a diocesan priest who has been with us for 10 years, but never presided at the Holy Week services, was especially complimentary, saying that the vigil service was the best he's ever experienced in his entire life--high praise and greatly appreciated.

As we continue to try to settle into our ordinary routines, within this "week after," we are equally blessed with early spring days. April is an iffy month in Erie, sometimes cold and wintry, some years warm and spring-like. I think we have one of the latter this year--thank goodness.

Here are more spring favorites from our area:

Daffodils that grow up on one side of this old wire fence and bloom on the other!

A family of nuthatches and a pair of cardinals have become the first visitors to my new window feeder. I'm not very good at "capturing" them yet--more to come as I improve. Here's what one looks like when photographed by a professional.

All of the hummingbird feeder tenders are getting ready--May 1st is a good time to get those up in our area.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Easter Vigil-before and after

"Rejoice, heavenly powers!
Rejoice, O earth!
Rejoice, O Mother Church!
Jesus Christ, our Savior, is risen!"


and After.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Visitors-winged and wingless

We have a number of visitors in the house for the Triduum services, but the most interesting ones are becoming permanent residents.

We have three new conures that have taken up residence in the Sun Room on 2nd floor.

These members of the parrot family are very active, social, highly trainable and colorful beyond belief. Ours are two females and one male. To read more about them, click here.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Palm Sunday

The Poet Thinks About the Donkey

On the outskirts of Jerusalem
the donkey waited.
Not especially brave, or filled with understanding,
he stood and waited.

How horses, turned out into the meadow,
leap with delight!
How doves, released from their cages,
clatter away, splashed with sunlight!

But the donkey, tied to a tree as usual, waited.
Then he let himself be led away.
Then he let the stranger mount.

Never had he seen such crowds!
And I wonder if he at all imagined what was to happen.
Still, he was what he had always been: small, dark, obedient.

I hope, finally, he felt brave.
I hope, finally, he loved the man who rode so lightly upon him,
as he lifted one dusty hoof and stepped, as he had to, forward.

Mary Oliver

Six sisters formed the procession and distributed palms to the congregation during the opening of the Palm/Passion Sunday liturgy.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Monastic Lexicon #9

Tenebrae (from the French: darkness or gloom)

Tenebrae, a part of the long history of the prayers of the church, is the name given to the service of Matins and Lauds on the last three days of Holy Week. The Divine Office of these three days was treated as a sort of funeral service, or dirge, commemorating the death of Jesus Christ.

Our community holds tenebrae in lieu of Morning Praise on both Good Friday and Holy Saturday. It includes a slow and solemn rite of lighting and at the end, extinguishing, tall candles arranged in a standing candelabra.

Sisters chant and present both traditional and contemporary readings and lamentations. All of the prayers, music and environment support the mournful tone of this period.

These annual tenebrae services are a special prayer moment for the community and our guests and are much anticipated each Holy Week.

The Last Supper -- Tanzania.