Thursday, January 14, 2010

Monastic Lexicon #12

For about a year (April 2008-May 2009) I had a little feature here called, Monastic Lexicon. Every month a term that is particular to us--not necessarily a term for all monastic life--was featured. Some were serious, others whimsical.

Somehow it faded out, but starting today I'd like to revive it.

4th Floor

At the site of the original motherhouse on East 9th Street in Erie, one large four-story (and a basement) section remains. The top floor is referred to as "4th Floor."

In the first years of St. Benedict Academy (1869+) the high school borders lived there. For many years it was composed of dormitory rooms for community members, although one big room was the sewing classroom for the high school. Then in the 1970s and 80s, when the Pax Center occupied the lower floors, it became individual bedrooms, storage and workrooms for the Center's projects.

Since 1990, when the whole complex got a makeover (new windows, kitchens, utilities, plumbing, etc.) it has held the offices of some of the ministries our sisters run. Today the staffs of Benetvision Publications, Emmaus Ministries, the AIM USA Secretariat, and Sr. Joan Chittister's ministry all work there. All total about eight or nine sisters and the same number of lay women (no men presently!) report there every morning.

The floor now holds an eclectic combination of modern appliances and technology right alongside some bookshelves with 19th c. books still in them, a 100 year old huge (4'x3') needlepoint of the Blessed Mother created by some anonymous sister, and lovely, large black and white Brownie-camera photos of Erie's four seasons from the 1940s or 50s by Sr. Marcella.

So when we say: "on 4th floor," that's what we mean!

Previous Monastic Lexicons:
#1 Clerestory 4-21-08
#2 Cenobite 6-2-08
#3 Glinodo 7-31-08
#4 Opus Dei 8-28-08
#5 Suscipe 9-29-08
#6 Bells 11-17-08
#7 Chapter 57 1-15-09
#8 Anselm's Attic 2-5-09
#9 Tenebrae 4-2-09
#10 Sr. Irene's Bread 4-27-09
#11 Out at Trinity 5-28-09