Monday, May 31, 2010

May 31-The Visitation

Rejoice with us! Anne Wambach, OSB, 57, executive director of the Neighborhood Art House, has been elected prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie. Installation will be Sunday, July 11, 2010.

More photos here.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Signs of Hope

Every spring we see pairs of Canada geese down on our lakefront Glinodo property. This year I saw 2-3 pair but seldom, if ever, do we see goslings. And then came this weekend. Right on our beach, right next to our pier...this little family! And, then, more surprise, as two days later a pair and their 7 goslings were up near the "big house"--perhaps making their way to the creek or lake. What a delight! Enjoy.

Do keep us in your thoughts and prayers this weekend as we elect a new prioress.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Rainy Day Fun!

This weekend two ministries held annual spring events. The Neighborhood Art House, a community-sponsored work, held its 3rd annual Art & Sole 5K run-walk. The other, Earth Force, an independent environmental education organization administered by two of our sisters, held their annual Bike Around the Bay, a 10, 30 or 50 mile bike trip around Presque Isle State Park and along the bay into the city. Both took place in a fine warm rain that by noon turned into quite a downpour.

We learned that both runners and bikers do their sport in all weather. Most were totally nonplussed by the spring rain--at least until it really let loose.

Here are some of us who were volunteering at the Art House posing in our Carolina blue 2010 Art & Sole T-shirts.

Sunday, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Erie began celebrating their 150th anniversary in the diocese of Erie. The Sunday Erie Times ran a front page article and a separate insert on their behalf. Included were two short pieces on a Sister of Mercy and one of us. Here's the link, minus most of the photos.

And finally, every May we all pass this gorgeous bush or rather a whole hill that is along our East Lake Road route. There is another one equal in size just to the left, too. They are really striking.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Monastic Lexicon #15

The Federation

When you hear the term, The Federation, it is in reference to the Federation of St. Scholastica, of which our monastery is a member. The present independent monasteries of our Federation are located in the cities listed below.

There are about 850 sisters in these 21 communities. Every four years delegates from the communities meet together to consider Federation business and concerns. This year the delegates will meet in Kansas in mid-June and, among other things, elect a new Federation president who will serve for four years. One of her primary ministries is to be present for the election/re-election of a prioress in every house.

There are two other Federations of Benedictine women in the US, one congregation, and numerous independent or dependent monasteries generally founded from a European abbey in the last 50 years or so.

Atchison, Kansas (near Kansas City)
Boerne, Texas (near San Antonio)
Bristow, Virginia (near Washington)
Chicago, Illinois
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Covington, Kentucky (near Cincinnati)
Cullman, Alabama (near Birmingham)
Elizabeth, New Jersey
Erie, Pennsylvania
Glendora, California (near Los Angeles)
Liberty, Missouri (near Kansas City)
Lisle, Illinois (near Chicago)
Lutherville, Maryland (near Baltimore)
Mexico City, Mexico
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Ridgely, Maryland (east of Baltimore)
St. Leo, Florida (near Tampa)
St. Marys, Pennsylvania (SE of Erie)
Torreon, Mexico
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Warren, Ohio (near Akron)

PS. An extra--just for fun: If you're a nature lover you'll love this story from our local newspaper on a family of baby owls that had to be moved during some tree removal a few weeks ago. The first woman the tree removers called for help used to work with our sisters in an environmental education program. She knew just what to do!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Free Weekend

We're coming off a "free" weekend, a rather rare commodity this spring. What do we do on "free" weekends you ask. Here's a potpourri of some of the weekend choices. One sister left Friday to travel 300-350 miles to have a long weekend visit with her 3 sisters and brother; another traveled south to spend time with her widowed sister; another went to visit family she hadn't seen since last summer. Quite a few more, I'm sure, spent a day or two with family members right here in the Erie area.

One sister hosted a longtime priest-friend who traveled the 400 miles to Erie for the first time in a couple years. He came to all our prayer and his male voice was a welcome addition to our chanting.

Four began a week's vacation at a condo in Florida that a generous benefactor gave us years ago for two weeks a year. We save up for the airfare and groceries for the week and it's a welcome time in sun and warmth, especially after our (in)famous 90" of snow and cold winters!

Our R&R cottages down at Glinodo were filled all weekend and lots of DVD's were being shown each evening and even some afternoons. Yours truly? I got in 9 holes of golf--but with no practice times and not even once-a-week-rounds there were only "flashes of brilliance" with lots of mediocrity in between!

A walk down to the our lakeshore brought this view of Lake Erie, taken at the end of our pier, looking straight down into the water. Pretty clear I'd say!

My column "Light Through Stained-Glass Windows" in the new May-June issue of Faith magazine. Go to page 26.

Morning and Evening Prayer for Pentecost here.

Joan's commentary on the Rule of Benedict, May 17-31, here.

Blessings of the coming of the Spirit on you all--wish you could be with us this week and next Sunday, particularly. We started our week-long Pentecost celebration with a great Eucharist Sunday and will really "do it up" all week for this great feast!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

From The New York Times

It's always interesting to read about our life from someone who looks at it from the "outside." This one's very good.

From the April 17 edition of the NYTimes blogs this excerpt from Nicholas Kristof:

"My Sunday column is about the other Catholic Church, the one I have learned to admire for its work among the poorest people around the globe. It has tended to be the bishops and cardinals who have gotten the church in trouble, while it’s the amazing priests, nuns and lay-workers who do extraordinary work at home and around the world.

And as I note in the column, I’ve learned from meeting nuns in Africa, Asia and Latin America that the coolest and toughest people in the world are nuns. Their orphanages, hospitals and schools keep the world going...."

Here's the rest of his blog and here's his column that ran the next day, Sunday, April 18, in the Times "A Church Mary Can Love."

Three of our common, yet beautiful birds: cardinal, finch and, as my English friend says, "You have such fat robins in America, ours are so skinny!" All photographed down at our Glinodo Center last weekend by Bernadette Sullivan, OSB.

Monday, May 10, 2010

New Residents

Meet three "new members of our family": this one is located in the back of the monastery, near the south entrance. It was given in honor of one of our recent Golden Jubilarians in mid-April. We were surprised that it had a beautiful full spring bloom within weeks of its planting.

Here's a new Japanese Red Maple given in memory of one of our sister's young nephews who died earlier this year. It is on the west side of the monastery, in a grassy area that also has a picnic table used by our employees especially at lunchtime. It was planted on the exact site of a Red Maple that had to be uprooted last year.

And finally, this Japanese Tree Lilac is set up temporarily in our chapel as part of our liturgical environment. It will be planted outside soon.

Welcome to these special new Mount residents.

It's been awhile since I shared one of Mary Oliver's poems. This one is perhaps her most famous or at least the last line is:

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean--
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down--
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.

I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Cinco de Mayo with Edwina

On May 5th, our Wellness Services presented a contemplative day with Edwina Gateley titled "In God's Womb: Your Soul Journey With God."

If you have never heard her you're in for a thrill someday. She is the Energizer bunny when she speaks of the things of God and shares her life story and ministry with her audience. Lots of fun and lots of sincerity and passion for the "soul's journey."

Forty-eight sisters, oblates and guests celebrated Cinco de Mayo with her and our own dynamic Wellness Coordinator--who would take a backseat to no one when it comes to creativity, energy and uniqueness!

A Cinco de Mayo self-made lunch was woven right into the presentations. All reports are that it was a creative delight--an unforgettable experience for all.

Edwina, an author, dynamic retreat director, national speaker and spirituality leader (I wonder if she's ever been billed as a motivational speaker?!), and a Mom moved to Erie about 12 years ago. We see her now and then at our Sunday liturgies particularly around holidays when she is home from her busy schedule "on the road."

Did I forget to mention that she's British? So in addition to all the enthusiasm for her message, it's delivered in that accent we Americans seem to love!

Monday, May 3, 2010

New Postcards

Our gift shop, Chapter 57, is now carrying two new postcards for the convenience of guests to Mount St. Benedict, especially "first timers" who want to bring home some photo remembrances of their visit.

The first postcard is of the stained-glass windows that you see at the top of the right hand column of this page. The second is this--a beautiful springtime shot of our chapel, clerestory, bell tower and Benedict himself.

A lot of us can be found walking outdoors after supper this week since our weather has really warmed up. Everything everywhere you look is in bloom. Here's a shot of one of our flowering crab apple trees that line the driveway of our main entrance from East Lake Road.

For a number of years a couple of our sisters did the painstaking job of pitting a huge number of crab apples from these trees and making jelly for us. It was delicious and greatly appreciated, especially knowing all the work that went into removing the pits. One year an announcement went up to tell us that the jelly was ready and would be served for breakfast. It was posted right next to the toasters--"Help yourself, our own fresh crap apple jelly." Very tentative takers that day you can be sure.