Monday, October 31, 2011

Love Feast

The last 4-5 days here really have been a kind of "love feast" in many and various ways. Sister Margaret Mary's funeral and burial were lovely and one of the most beautiful parts of them was the attendance by eleven of her close relatives, including her two age 80+ sisters. They were quite moved by our rituals and hospitality. They couldn't say enough about how meaningful an experience it was for them. That is truly the very best part of having families with us during times such as these.

Friday through Sunday we were joined for our community weekend program and oblate commitment ceremony by 50-100 oblates (depending on the day!). They, too, are wonderful to be around and to have with us no matter the time or event, but especially this last weekend of October. The Saturday presentations on personal fitness and good health practices were just great and much-appreciated by all.

One of the small but unique parts of both of these events was the addition of matted photographs from Sister Margaret Mary's life and then of past oblate events and participants. These photos were scattered throughout the dining room and community room and truly "spoke" their own message within the other rituals. Visit our website today and throughout the week for a photo display of these days, as I saw many of our photographers very busy throughout.

And here's a new movie review for your consideration. John Dear, sj, reviews the new movie, The Way, with Martin Sheen, aka Jed Bartlett of West Wing fame. Seems like one we should catch.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Steelers, Browns or Bills?

We thought we were attending and hosting the Memory Service for our Sister Margaret Mary. And we were and we did. But what we didn't know, and never would have expected in a million years, was the appearance of her great-nephew and NFL sports commentator, Scott Hanson, and the football talk intertwined with the spirituality of the wake of his favorite and much-loved great aunt.

My oh my, you just never know what a day will bring! Click here to make (partial) sense of it all!

On a more "normal" day--the two large rose bushes in the inner courtyard two days ago. What are they doing in full flower at the end of October?

And what are we doing going out to work at 7:25 am in the near pitch dark? Here's a snapshot of the chapel on the way to our car.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Rest in Peace

We average about 3-4 sisters a year who pass onto eternal life. I'm not usually in the room when one dies--often because of schedule or other duties or just leaving that special time for those closest to her. But Sunday was an exception and I was one of three of us who were with our Sister Margaret Mary when she died early in the afternoon.

It was such a peace-filled, calm and loving moment. It was a privilege to be with her. Watch our community website this week for postings of her obit and prayer card.

Sunday was also Mission Sunday and our environment for Mass reflected that. Here we used our special candle holders...from Africa, I think.

Acknowledging that there are a zillion web sites and that our friends and family send us links to ones they like all the's hard to suggest one that is really special, but I think I've got one. If you have the time...Enjoy: Google Doodles.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Deer Time

Lots and lots of deer encounters these days. There are still plenty of apples in the back orchard that attract our "herd" all day long, but especially at sunset. The crab apple trees also have quite a bit of fruit on them, so they are still in the food chain. But, the last time I checked the grapes over at Benetwood Apartments they were just about picked clean.

Tuesday night I ducked out the patio door right after supper and took what I thought would be a quick spin around the Mount. I had only reached the old greenhouse when I met four deer and had a pleasant 5-minute staring contest, in which I hope I showed no fear even though one walked toward me before stopping about 50 feet away.

After we parted I continued around the east end of the house and as I came around to the front there was a lone small deer right off the blacktop of the front circle, quietly grazing under a tree. We stared a little, too, and then I continued to the front door while she continued to forage.

Took down the last of the hummingbird feeders this week, too, and noticed that one of our sisters who works on the chapel environment placed some of the huge mum plants from Jubilee outside at our entrances. They are still gorgeous and must be a welcoming sight to our many October visitors.

See our community site for two wonderful Smileboxes of Jubilee weekend. Very appropriately named--"Smile" boxes.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Everyone Seems to Stop By

This is one of those times where it seems as if "the whole world" is passing by our front door---and stopping in. We had an 8th grade class that one of our sisters brought for the day to show them her monastery. We had a group from a parish down in the diocese come to have a little "time away" for the day. The AIM USA Board is coming for their annual meeting--10 monks and nuns from around the country, most of them abbots or prioresses. And over 40 women are participating in Benetvision's annual Readers' Retreat at a nearby conference center with many of them coming a few days early or staying later for a few days with us at the Mount.

And guess what? We love having them. Come one, come all, that's what monasteries are for; that's why we have a whole wing (15 rooms) for visitors; that's why we have 3 hermitages, and I wish we could build 3 more.

Some early autumn scenes from our place:

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Week After

Boy, is it a quiet week in Lake Wobegon these days, as we are (pleasantly) recuperating from the weekend. What a time! For a different take on our Jubilee 3-day "bash" see these blogs: Alyssa's, Carrie's.
Some exciting news, our Sister Joan has a new book out just this week, Happiness, from Wm Eerdmans Publ. Here's the review from

"Everyone wants to be happy. Many, however, wrongly believe that happiness comes from having enough money, fame, personal comfort, worldly success, or even dumb luck. Happiness just seems to be so elusive and arbitrary — something all too often just out of reach.

Joan Chittister sees happiness differently. To her it is not a by-product of wealth or success but, rather, a personal quality to be learned, mastered, and fearlessly wielded. Happiness, she says, "is an organ of the soul that is meant to be nourished." In these pages Chittister develops “an archeology of happiness” as she conducts a happiness “dig” through sociology, biology, neurology, psychology, philosophy, history, and world religions. Sifting through the wisdom of the ages, Chittister offers inspiring insights that will help seekers everywhere learn to cultivate true and lasting happiness within themselves."

Monday, October 10, 2011

What a Weekend!

A very, very special weekend indeed. Three jubilee celebrations with a Community Dinner Friday night, the public (300+) Evening Praise and reception Saturday afternoon, and a special Sunday liturgy to cap it all off!

My favorite part or at least one of my favorite parts? To watch guests who have never been here or haven't been here in awhile or who aren't even Catholic, try to keep from gaping as they experience the best our liturgical efforts and Benedictine hospitality can offer. It's funny and wonderful!

Watch our community website this week for photos, Sister Anne's reflections and any other reports they may give about this weekend's events.

Here are some shots I got both inside and outside, since the weather was P-E-R-F-E-C-T.

Please note Our Lady of the Bathtub that has been on the Glinodo grounds for who-knows-how-long vs. the newly relocated statue of Mary from Glinodo to the Mount---courtesy of one of our very creative and artistic maintenance and grounds experts. Thanks, Gary.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Twenty-five, Fifty, Sixty Years


Everyone should be born into this world happy and loving everything.
But in truth it rarely works that way.
For myself, I have spent my life clamoring toward it.
Halleluiah, anyway I'm not where I started!

And have you too been trudging like that, sometimes almost forgetting how wondrous the world is and how miraculously kind some people can be?
And have you too decided that probably nothing important is ever easy?
Not, say, for the first sixty years.

Halleluiah, I'm sixty now, and even a little more,
and some days I feel like I have wings.

Mary Oliver for our Jubilarians

Our gardens slowly fading into autumn.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Jubilee Week

All week the excitement builds because this weekend we will celebrate our 25-50 and 60 year Jubilarians with a community dinner Friday night and a large public celebration Saturday. The festivities spill over into Sunday as many guests stay the weekend and the liturgy planners make Sunday's liturgy a part of the jubilee time.

Profiles of the seven sisters can be found in this issue of the Mount magazine beginning on page 11: Sisters Judith, Mary Lou, Audrey, Rose Ann, Patricia, Miriam and Marlene. They are all great women---Enjoy!

A hidden rock garden at St. Meinrad Archabbey.