A not entirely new, yet always surprising experience this weekend, once again. One of our 250+ oblates passed away last week and we were asked if we could have her funeral liturgy here at the Mount. Of course. Always. She was not from Erie, except for the last 20 years. On Saturday morning about a dozen of her friends, including some nephews and nieces from out of town, arrived for the liturgy. Everything went along "normally"---or so I thought. After Communion, right before the closing prayers, the priest asked if any friends or family members would like to remember Marie by saying a few words. It was the words of the first person, her nephew that really bowled us over. Here's how he started: "WOW! WOW! You sisters really know how to celebrate a funeral Mass! I've never experienced anything like it!"
Later that afternoon, one of our sisters who had sat with the family for lunch told us that indeed her family and friends--some Catholic, some not--never expected what they met here and couldn't stop talking about the celebration, the music, the hospitality that they experienced with us.
What a gift we can give to our families and friends with the gifts we have been given and have fostered within our monastic life. We all know that the memories of deaths and accompanying rituals are long-standing and strong. I surely hope we contribute to the best of them.
And, this all took place during a snowy, winter- wonderland type weekend. Here's what our place looks like right now!
I couldn't resist "measuring" right in front of Mary in our inner courtyard. Good thing I chose a yardstick instead of just a ruler----12" exactly!