Monday, November 28, 2011

Advent begins

The Thanksgiving week 60 degree temperatures are making things a little surreal here, including the beginning of Advent which is usually accompanied by our first lake effect snowstorm.

Despite the unusual weather Advent has begun beautifully. Prayer and liturgy this weekend were just wonderful. We even "survived" the first Sunday with the new missal wording! By the way, the new Mass we're using is by Dan Schutte, aka one of the four St. Louis Jesuits of the 1970s and 80s. His new one, "Mass of Christ the Savior," is just as melodic and upbeat, yet reverent, as his others.

Here are some photos of chapel with the Advent environment. Our Advent speakers are here.

If you like online prayer, there will be a section of daily prayer on our new website set to debut December 8th. Meanwhile here's one.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

How the World Eats Each Week

My friend Pat shared this with me this week and it blew me away. I thought it would be an appropriate reflection for all of us here in the USA on Thanksgiving Day. We have had some excellent presentations and "encouragements" this year in our own community on healthier eating---and I think a lot of us are doing better. This is an encouragement of a different sort.
Click on photos to enlarge.

Germany: The Melander family of Bargteheide. Food expenditure for one week: 375.39 Euros or $500.07

United States: The Revis family of North Carolina (Sure hope most American families eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and less junk food than this family.) Food expenditure for one week $341.98

Italy : The Manzo family of Sicily. Food expenditure for one week: 214.36 Euros or $260.11

Mexico: The Casales family of Cuernavaca. Food expenditure for one week: 1,862.78 Mexican Pesos or $189.09

Poland: The Sobczynscy family of Konstancin-Jeziorna. Food expenditure for one week: 582.48 Zlotys or $151.27

Egypt: The Ahmed family of Cairo. Food expenditure for one week: 387.85 Egyptian Pounds or $68.53

Ecuador: The Ayme family of Tingo. Food expenditure for one week: $31.55

Bhutan: The Namgay family of Shingkhey Village. Food expenditure for one week: 22493 ngultrum or $5.03

Chad: The Aboubakar family of Breidjing Camp. Food expenditure for one week: 685 CFA Francs or $1.23

Our Community's Thanksgiving Greeting here.

Monday, November 21, 2011

South of the Border-one more day

Our community website has a little smilebox scrapbook of our trip to the Mission of Friendship in Merida, Mexico. Enjoy!

Here are some more, too.

The Cathedral in Merida is one of the oldest in North America, begun in the 16th century. The stonework is awesome and this crucifix is beyond huge.

Many statues and altars fill the cathedral, each expressing some devotion of the people/area. Here is Our Lady of Guadalupe. Another one is covered with long colorful ribbons that people drape all over it with prayer intentions written on the ribbons.

Iron grates cover most first floor windows, especially in town. They have beautiful decorative designs. Someone should take photos of the best/most unique ones and develop a poster or website. Some are quite intricate and artistic, not merely functional.

This is the water source for a poor family that we visited. It is outside at the front entrance. Do you see the toothbrush and toothpaste in the cup in the stone wall?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

More on Mexico

Visiting the Mission of Friendship and the surroundings of Merida, Mexico was great. We were there so that Anne, our prioress, could receive, in person, the annual commitments of a group of our oblates. It took place in the context of a true Mexican liturgy Saturday evening.

The music at Mass was great, a bit louder than we're used to, but well played and sung. The oblate ceremony after the homily was serious, touching and very meaningful.

In between the "oblate business" we visited some of the Mission's ministries, homes of the people they serve, and did the "tourist thing" at the Gulf of Mexico and the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza--amazing.

While we were gone Erie received its first snow of the season, 1/2" on the 11th. That's one of the craziest things about traveling, isn't it? That you can go from 85 degrees on the Yucatan peninsula to 40 degrees back in the northeast!

Here I am with a little 3-year old in his home--which was for all purposes like a cinder block garage with two inside rooms, some plastic chairs, a TV, a refrig with no food inside, some sort of hotplate for cooking, and a covered small area attached...what we might describe as really rough "camping out."

An oblate who is now a school administrator grew up on a farm outside of Merida and he has planted in their backyard grapefruit, orange, coconut, and many other types of fruit trees.

The party following the oblate renewal ceremony.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Visiting Mexico

The Mission of Friendship in Merida, Mexico.

Oblate Renewal during Sunday liturgy.

The 15th year celebration cake.

Oblates, directors and guests.

Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza.

Mission's Day Care facility.

Visiting a home.

The Yucatan peninsula is on rock and they are used for everything, especially walls.

More Thursday.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sister Maria retires

I was just short of 21 when I walked into my first teaching assignment one September quite awhile ago. We were still well within the first years of The Sound of Music, singing along with Julie Andrews "My Favorite Things" and the whole rest of the soundtrack. The story captivated movie-goers everywhere with the portrayal of the wholesome, cute, nun-turned-wife-and-mother of the Von Trapp family. Imagine my delightful surprise to discover that my principal was the real Sound of Music nun: she was young, beautiful, full of fun, a live Sister Maria! The kids, the faculty, the staff, and all the other sisters just loved her. My first principal and I will never forget her.

The years passed, of course, she went onto other things as did I, but whenever I saw her she was the same, aging gracefully and beautifully--just as you'd expect.

For the past 27 years she has been the Vicar for Religious of our diocese and last night we invited her to dinner at the Mount to celebrate with her and to thank her as she retires. The sisters lined up to express their appreciation for her years of ministry. She represented and served us well--to the bishop and within the diocesan structure. She was as gracious, as beautiful, as special as she was all those years ago to that wide-eyed novice beginning her teaching career.

I saw Julie Andrews interviewed on TV recently and, yes, you guessed it, still as lovely as ever, exactly like our own "Sister Maria" in real life.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Himalayan Bowls

This weekend as part of the Seasons of the Spirit retreat held here at the Mount Kathleen Calby brought her Singing Bowls (Himalayan Bowls) and gave presentations to the retreatants and to all of us on Sunday. I found a You tube video of Kathleen which will give you a flavor of these unique instruments.

Beautiful experience!

Her own website is here if you want to explore even more.

I've always thought, "The most interesting people come down East Lake Rd and into our place!"

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Conference on the Life

At one point in November planning I was going to be on my way to Columbus, Ohio tomorrow to attend the Ohio Wesleyan conference on monasticism: "Radical Gospel Living." But that was before 1,000 other things came into life---not the least of which was the last 10 days: a funeral, 100+ visitors to our own weekend conference of sorts, a Monastic Council meeting, and on and on and on.

Anyway, a significant contingent of representatives from our community is heading out for the event at which our Sister Joan is the Friday night keynoter. On Saturday, representing a new type of monastic life (based in downtown Philadelphia), is Shawn Claiborne about whom you can read a little here.

Meanwhile back in our monastic life, we are looking forward to a weekend of blessed ordinary time--something there is not much more of since Advent is only three weeks from this Sunday---yikes!

Finally, amidst all this ruckus, don't I get a surprise opportunity to try again for two impossible photographs. Our deer are being seen everywhere these days--this one right up near the St. Scholastica statue, nibbling on what's left of the rose bushes.

And our long, narrow stained-glass windows on the west wall of the chapel were glorious in the bright early setting sunlight yesterday....but it is impossible to catch on camera. Darn!