Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Virtual Tour-The Saint John's Bible

For all our friends in California, northern England, South Korea, Australia and dozens of other places that are too far from Erie to come for the Saint John's Bible Exhibit, perhaps this short virtual tour will give you just a little taste of this wonderful experience. Although copyrights prevent photographing the actual prints, links at the end will show you some of them on the web. Enjoy! "Wish you were here."

A full page announcement in the Erie Daily Times inviting everyone in the Erie area to come to the exhibit.

Upon entering our front door the exhibit times and introductory poster are displayed at the switchboard area.

Pick up a guidebook at the long administrative hall where the prints begin.

Some of the crowd on the opening day!

Halfway down the hall is a showcase with samples of the vellum (calf skin), quills, and other project pieces.

Turning the corner, the exhibit continues in the Chapter 57 hall.

Chapter 57 hall from the other end.

Two DVDs on the bible's production play throughout the exhibit hours.

Displays in our giftshop, Chapter 57.

A variety of books about the 10-year project, a DVD, beautiful 5x7 cards, as well as the bible books themselves are for sale.

Five of the seven volumes are in print, the sixth is coming out soon and the seventh is just being finished. As awesome as we think these prints are, those who have seen the original pages at St. John's in Collegeville, MN, say they pale in comparison to the real thing. One of the primary reasons is the gold that was used in most of the illuminations. They say it just sparkles and glows in real life and seems to jump right off the pages.

Saint John's Bible site.

Our MOUNT magazine with its cover and feature story on the Saint John's Bible.

Monday, October 26, 2009

What a Weekend!

One of our busiest and most enjoyable weekends of the year just ended as a large number of our oblates "came home." For some it's the only time of the year they make it to Erie.

Joining our already 200+ oblates were 13 new initiates. They come from five states and these cities: Boynton Beach, FL; Worchester, MA; Frewsburg, NY; Rochester, NY; Lake City, PA; Mechanicsburg, PA; North East, PA; Oil City, PA; Mansfield, OH; Westerville, OH; Willoughby, OH.

Some of our new oblates with the prioress (back left) and oblate director (back right). Our oblate director's web page is here.

This oblate weekend coincided, on purpose, with our fall community weekend. Sr. Kathleen Hughes, one of the country's foremost liturgy scholars was our guest and gave two presentations--Saturday morning and afternoon. She was wonderful--informative, funny, spiritual, and the possessor of that rare commodity: a PhD who you'd still like to take to lunch at the local pub! When she jumped right in and began to help pile up the extra chairs at the end supper I knew she was a keeper.

The Saint John's Bible exhibit also officially opened this Sunday. Look for a virtual tour coming as this Thursday's posting.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Our Peak is Here

Despite some rainy, cold days in early October our leaves held on, literally--and now that warmer and sunnier autumn days are here I think our "peak time" is as well. Here's a look around the perimeter of the Mount. I think this awesome beauty must be nature's way of trying to "soothe" us so that we can "endure" the 90" of snow that the winter months will soon bring! (Click on any photo to enlarge it to full screen.)

St. Scholastica from the front.

And from the back.

The west side of the chapel is framed by a semi-circle of fire-red bushes.

The Neighborhood Art House received the first "Imagine" award from Arts Erie, the major grants dispersal and arts support organization in the area. Sr. Anne Wambach and Sr. Margaret Ann Pilewski provided a display of the children's work for the 100-150 guests at the reception this week. Congratulations to the many sisters that minister, volunteer or work behind the scenes to make the NAH the marvelous place that it is.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Saint John's Bible Exhibit

They've arrived! The Benedictine Sisters of Erie will host an exhibit of 25 prints from the Saint John's Bible, the first handwritten and illuminated bible in 500 years. The exhibit opens Sunday, October 25 and closes Wednesday, November 25. Groups are welcome and both a self-guided tour and a tour guide are available.

The monastery gift shop has a sampling of cards, posters and books from the Saint John's Bible project. The full site for this marvelous ten-year project is here. Warning: if you go to this site be sure you have time---you're going to want to browse for awhile.

Mission Sunday, October 18 this year, is always a special liturgy at the Mount. Many of our sisters have visited or ministered in countries of Latin America or Africa and even in rural mission-like parts of the US. For this annual October event many of them get a chance to wear the native clothing they brought back and to bring out the art and other remembrances they have.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The New Seawall

Across East Lake Road, right in front of the Mount, is a continuation of our property---that goes all the way to the Lake Erie shore. During a walk to the lake one summer night, we noticed a pick up truck and some large, large boulders at the end of the driveway, well into our property.

It turned out that our new neighbors had contacted us for permission to use our driveway and west boundary as an access for bringing in four or five dozen very large decorative rectangular concrete blocks to build a seawall to protect their house and property from erosion.

For the last 2-3 months we have watched the small cranes that somehow got down the cliff onto the beach and were lifting those huge blocks to make the seawall. Most of the work we saw was done in the early evening when it stayed light until 9:00 pm. We had a perfect view of it from our pier and the neighbors even invited us over to observe the project "up close and personal," as they say.

It seems to be done now and here's a look at it from the end of our pier. The wall is what's in the center, set back a little. On the left side you can see one side of what turned out to be a wide path they constructed down to the lake. It's not wide enough for a car, but okay for taking a jet ski or canoe down from the property above.

That calm looking water is the culprit, especially after early or late winter storms when the lake isn't covered with a layer of ice to protect the shoreline from the huge eroding waves. (Note the tree in the back right--it might be in for its last winter!)

Click to enlarge

Monday, October 12, 2009

Goldenrod et al.

Goldenrod, Late Fall

This morning the goldenrod are all wearing
their golden shirts
fresh from heaven's soft wash in the
chill night.
So it must be a celebration.
And here comes the wind, so many swinging wings!
Has he been invited, or is he the intruder?
Invited, whisper the golden pebbles of the weeds,
as they begin to fall over the ground.

Well, you would think the little murmurs
of the broken blossoms would have said otherwise,
but no. So I sit down among them to think
about it while all around me the crumbling goes on.
The weeds let down their seedy faces cheerfully,
which is the part I like best, and certainly
it is as good as a book for learning from.

You would think they were just going for a
small sleep. You would think they couldn't wait,
it was going to be that snug and even, as all their
lives were, full of excitation.

You would think it was a voyage just beginning,
and no darkness anywhere, but tinged with all
necessary instruction, and light,
and all were shriven, as all the round world is,
and so it wasn't anything but easy to fall,
to whisper Good Night.

Mary Oliver

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Liturgical Year

The sixth annual Readers' Retreat, sponsored by Benetvision, was held earlier this week in Mayville, NY, just 40 miles east of Erie. Thirty-three men and women participated in the three-day event that focused around Sr. Joan Chittister's latest book, The Liturgical Year.

Only three or four of the participants admitted that the rhythms of the liturgical year: Advent, Christmas, Ordinary Time, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, and feast days were a significant aspect of the rhythms of their present life. But, after six sessions with Sr. Joan, all came away with an energetic and renewed sense of the significance and grace of the church year within their own calendar years.

The book: The Liturgical Year is now available from Benetvision.

Monday, October 5, 2009


Here at the Mount those of us who reside here have a name exchange for birthday celebrations each year. We receive a sister's name, her birth date, and some suggestions for a small ($5) gift. Then, on the birthday, we have a wrapped gift for her and a card on display in the dining room. The celebrant also gets to choose a dessert for dinner!

Most of us make a little display, too--something about a hobby or a known interest of the sister celebrating. ie: a sister who loved to work in the garden had a whole miniature garden arrangement on the sideboard with her gift and card.

Last week's display took the (birthday) cake. It was a matching game in honor of our birthday bird lover. There were pictures of twenty of our local birds with their names on little pushpins. It was great fun to place the name with the correct photo and I think they were all matched by dinner time--though correctly, I'm not sure.

Even in a very large living group (63), each sister is a "Queen for a Day"!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Early Fall Cold Streak

We are shivering here in Erie this week as an early autumn cold streak has been going through the northeast bringing us low 50s overnight and just mid-60s during the day, complete with a bit of rain each day.

But no doubt about it, we will have some warm and sunny October days and, if we're lucky, maybe even one or two in November!

One of my favorite autumn rituals occurred this week and I tried to capture it to share here: The publication of our annual fall foliage map--predicting when the trees throughout the state will be at their peak colors.

Here it is--and, according to the map, our peak time will be the middle two weeks of October.

Click to enlarge.

Here's a photo of our side entrance last year. Pretty nice!

PS. One extra note: If any of you who are in our area receive our daily newspaper, the Erie Times News, and if you are not already cutting out and saving their "money" promotion for their upcoming auction, would you consider doing so and sending them to me. A number of our sisters are collecting this "money" in hopes of making the winning bid on a much-needed item for their non-profit ministry. One that I know of is our House of Healing that is hoping to win the new washer and dryer that are part of the November auction. Many thanks!

PPS Do you remember this famous poster from the peace movement that says, "It will be a great day when our schools get all of the money they need and the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber." Well, not yet, but maybe some day!