Thursday, July 30, 2009

An Old-Fashioned Slide Show

I've been wanting to try this for awhile--share the opening of our Night-Blooming Evening Primrose. I know, I know--it should be video--but I just haven't found the time to conquer the uploading yet. So, meanwhile, here's an old-fashioned slide show! You remember those: one still picture after another and if you do them real fast they kinda' move--like those little stick cartoons you can make in the corner of a pack of papers and then flip them quickly--voila, action!

The real action here takes place every day around 8:30 pm in our inner courtyard garden. The night I caught these the final count was 50 flowers. When we got our first plant a couple years ago we'd all gather around, night after night, to see 3 or 4 flowers open. We were fascinated. Now, I fear, when that first plant has multiplied to seven or eight, most of us just walk right by--catching the final flowers after they've opened or in the early morning, right as they are dying after their one-night life.

The time lapse here is from 8:28-8:48 PM. The last one is 7:00 AM the next morning.

Monday, July 27, 2009

And now to South Hall

Thanks to a wonderfully successful Capital Campaign, the generosity of supporters of our ministries, and other favorable circumstances we decided it is the best time to consider some renovations to the remaining residence halls, first and second floor of South Hall.

Over two dozen sisters packed up and moved out for 6-7 months and the demolition phase has already begun. One big difference from the North and West Hall renovations: the dumpsters are in the back of the Mount building, hardly visible even from the back parking lot.

The windows, of course, have already been installed and the HVAC system is in, too, so the renovations will mainly be just bedrooms and plumbing.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Our Prayer Board

We have a bulletin board right outside our community room/dining room. It's rather unobtrusive, yet you'll see sisters standing in front of it all the time, reading its messages.

Although it has a number of announcements about prayer and liturgy schedules, its greatest area is given to requests for prayers. These requests, that come by phone, email, in letters or just verbally to a community member are always sobering, heartfelt and very moving. We refer to them in our community prayer intentions quite often.

Here's a sampling from this week's notices:

Please pray for a friend of my sister-in-law. Her friend has a debilitating neurological brain disorder and needs our prayers.

Fred had a heart attack---in hospital for tests to discover the damage.

Please keep in prayer my nephew's wife who is experiencing a difficult pregnancy.

Remember my neighbor, Fran, who is in surgery today and my late brother Vaughn's wife, Irene, who is experiencing a recurrence of breast cancer. Both are grateful for your prayers as am I.

With the help of God and your prayers my brother, Bernard, was discharged after the long hours of total gastrectomy. He was hospitalized for 16 days...please continue to pray for him and his good recovery. Please extend my thanks to the sisters for their prayers.

My cousin Catherine has ovarian cancer...she will have extensive chemotherapy. She is a very spiritual person and her faith is sustaining her right now. My friend Grace's surgeon has suggested a mastectomy after finding cancer throughout her breast. She is going for a second opinion. She meets life "head on" and is in good spirits. Catherine, Grace and I are grateful for your prayers.

Join us in praying for these and all the intentions of our friends, families, oblates, and everyone who asks us to pray with them.

A summer front yard garden.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Winter/Summer-same city?

Some of the nicest perks of a jubilee anniversary are invitations from friends to celebrate with them. One of the sisters in the offices where I work is a jubilarian and our whole staff celebrated this week with a picnic lunch at our waterfront.

Here is our city's bicentennial tower and the paddleboat the Victorian Princess that offers lunch and dinner cruises all summer. It was a glorious summer afternoon and the view was marvelous--as you can see. How can this be the same city that had 144" of snow last winter?

The Place I Want to Get Back To

is where in the pinewoods
in the moments between
the darkness

and first light
two deer
came walking down the hill
and when they saw me

they said to each other, okay,
this one is okay,
let's see who she is
and why she is sitting

on the ground, like that,
so quiet, as if
asleep, or in a dream,
but, anyway, harmless;

and so they came
on their slender legs
and gazed upon me
not unlike the way

I go out to the dunes and look
and look and look
into the faces of the flowers;
and then one of them leaned forward

and nuzzled my hand, and what can my life
bring to me that could exceed
that brief moment?
For twenty years

I have gone every day to the same woods,
not waiting, exactly, just lingering.
Such gifts, bestowed,
can't be repeated.

If you want to talk about this
come to visit. I live in the house
near the corner, which I have named

Mary Oliver

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Ceremonial RB

As part of our Jubilee celebration this past weekend, our prioress blessed a ceremonial copy of the Rule of Benedict that we received from the Benedictine Sisters in Duluth, MN. The calligraphy was done by one of their sisters and the illuminations are by their Sister Mary Charles McGough--the premier contemporary Benedictine iconographer in this country--who just died in 2007.

This beautiful book has a whimsical quality to it as the little blue-robed monks you see above appear throughout in various everyday situations. To make inquiries about this unique RB, contact the Gift Shop of the Duluth community: 1001 Kenwood Ave, Duluth, MN 55811

Her modern icon of Benedict and Scholastica is immensely popular and is sold by The Printery House of Conception Abbey.

Photos of ceremonial RB with permission of the Benedictine Sisters of Duluth, MN.
(click to enlarge)

Monday, July 13, 2009


A celebratory weekend it was indeed as seven of our sisters commemorated anniversary jubilees--Three: 60 years from first profession and Four: 50 years. Very nice photos and biographies of them are included in our recent MOUNT magazine. It is online here. Takes a bit to download, but is worth it.

Here are two views of orange day lilies that are all over our area these days. This is beside our greenhouse in the back of the Mount--in a garden, cultivated and cared for.

This photo was taken one mile from us alongside the GE locomotive test track. This 3-4 mile run, unnoticed by all except those who travel along its shortcut-from-the-main-highway road, has long, expansive swatches of beautiful wild flowers--these day lilies included.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Ta-da! Appearing Nightly...

Finally the apples in our orchard are large enough to be an attraction; the babies are probably 6-8 weeks old and the evenings are long and, ta da! our fawn are out...all the time...and we are loving it!

Here is a first attempt at catching the twins who were in the orchard Monday night with their mother for 20 minutes or so. As she grazed on first apples these two tore around as if they were training for the 100 meter dash. Back and forth across the lawn---in and out of the woods---at full speed. It was quite the show! Lots of fun and witnessed by many.

Their spots are easily seen even without zooming in.

Monday, July 6, 2009

July 4th

After a week of some pretty rainy, dreary and unseasonably cool days Saturday, July 4th turned out to be a beauty in our part of the world--warm, sunny, and gorgeous.

Lunch and supper were served picnic style down at our Camp Glinodo site. Many sisters stayed there for the entire afternoon, playing games, sitting in the sun, or just resting. It was a beautiful setting for a holiday.

This week the July celebrations will continue as we will hold our 2009 jubilee weekend. Three sisters mark 60 years of monastic profession (measured from first vows) and four sisters mark 50 years. Congratulations to them all!

P.S. Recognize the MoMA art?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Corporate Commitment in Action

The Corporate Commitment of our community reads: As Benedictine Sisters of Erie we commit ourselves to be a healing presence and prophetic witness for peace by working for sustainability and justice, especially for women and children.

This year we have three sub-committees working in the areas of Women and Children, Peace and Justice, and Sustainability. Over 35 sisters are involved on these committees.

Last weekend the Women and Children's committee sponsored a picnic at our peninsula (Presque Isle State Park) for the women and children of House of Healing. House of Healing is an alternative program for women convicted of non-violent crimes, that enables them to live with their children. It is housed in a large former convent. Most residents are serving short sentences and often stay only a few months. The administrator is one of our sisters and many others volunteer in their ongoing projects.

Photos by Laura Beichner, OSB

Morning and Evening Prayer.