Monday, July 30, 2012

July comes to an end

Guests continue to be a major part of our summer. Not that they aren't every year, but it just seems like there have been more this year--which is not a problem at all. One interesting one stopped by Friday night about 8:30 pm. He was a 20-something young guy who came in, introduced himself as a biker from New Hampshire who was going across country to Washington state and asked if he could pitch his tent overnight on our property. His name was Muhammed and he said that he tries to stop at churches or religious places overnight. We did give him hospitality but not in the backyard. One of our guest rooms was free, so we put him up there, complete with shower accommodations! He was gone by 7:30 am, the time I came through the foyer where his bike had been parked. Good luck Muhammed!

After a historic (our youngest participants) and delightful year, our own two 20-something Benedicta Riepp participants left us this weekend to begin their next phase of life, as they refer to it. They are staying in Erie, which is very nice and I believe that they are going to continue their blogs. So check their links on the sidebar for "a look into the lives of two young, Catholic gals as they walk, run, jump, skip, trip, dance, laugh, yell, sigh, cry and otherwise go through life in this part of the world"!

Our hummingbirds must be starting their migration back to Mexico already because we've seen them everywhere the last week or so. They are also draining our feeders faster than ever!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Only in summer

I'm taking a one day break from our mailbox series because of a couple "summer only" events of Wednesday that I want to share. The first one happened at 7:15 in the morning. As I returned to my room after morning prayer to gather up things for work, I just casually looked out my window and lo and behold, here's what I saw:

I grabbed my camera, tore out the side door, and there they were--one of our fawn and her/his mother. Cute as can be. We're seeing them more regularly now, in the backyard in the apple orchard. Enough said!

Then, at noon I attended a lunch-hour event downtown: a woodwind quintet from our Erie Philharmonic Orchestra, putting on a summer concert on the patio of the Art Museum. It was sunny and quite warm, but what a delightful time: flute, oboe, bassoon and clarinet with a French horn rounding out the five some. I always feel like I'm in some big, metropolitan city when these kind of things happen in Erie. It was wonderful. I went with two musicians, also, which made it even better. Can you find us?

Ta da! Here they are--under a tent, thank goodness. Our local PBS radio station, WQLN, broadcasts the music live, also. At the end of August they have a brass group scheduled.

"O Creator God, we give thanks for sun and warmth and the days of summer, that showcase your creations at their finest."

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sun fun

A very busy week came to an end Saturday with our annual employee picnic. About 35 men and women work at the Mount in food service, housekeeping, health services and maintenance. Once a year we open our Glinodo grounds to them and their families--and pray for good weather. This year we didn't have good weather--we had fantastic weather. Sun and warmth and perfect conditions for time in the pool and for just "hanging around" with family and friends and delicious picnic fare. Many sisters were able to come down to join with our employees.

See our community site for a Smilebox of the event.

I walked down to the event and played "nature girl" by walking along the tree line. Here are some signs of mid-summer that I found: berry bushes just beginning to produce ripe ones and Queen Anne's Lace along Rte 5 and the creek, right at our entrance. Finally a butterfly sunning on the bushes. I'm not sure which one it is, but it was shining brightly.

And the mailbox parade continues!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Enrichment series #2

Three hundred and fifty people came to Mount St. Benedict last night for the second in our Enrichment Series: Sister Joan Chittister speaking on Islam. For an hour and a half she spoke--magnificently--on the facts, the practices, the history, the beauty, the misunderstandings and the reality of Muslims and the religion they practice, Islam.

Watch our website in the upcoming days for a news story on the event and, hopefully, a link to an audio file of this educational, inspiration and enthralling presentation by a masterful teacher.

If you haven't read Carrie and Alyssa's blogs lately you should catch up. Although they don't like me to remind them, they will be leaving us (in the residence sense) very soon after a year in our Benedicta Riepp program. We will miss them greatly. It is tempered a bit by the fact that they will be staying, at least for awhile, in Erie and working in one of our ministries--no longer volunteers but paid staff (read: student loan payments!)

Friday night a photographer from our diocesan magazine is coming out to photograph our night-blooming evening primrose so as to include them in a feature on gardens in the diocese. It's scheduled for 2013, but they are getting the photos now.

If you're a Google Doodle follower, enjoy this.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Special visitors

Two groups of special visitors coming this week; both are Monastery of the Heart communities. The first is from California, know each other and have a special outreach to prisoners there. The second is an online group from various states--they will be meeting as a group, in person, for the first time--here. So glad to have them, especially when Erie is at its weather best: July. Nothing but warmth, sun, flowers and summer beauty. Glad they're not making their first visit in February!

Proof of the above: yesterday outside of our chapel.

Mailboxes cont'd:

Thursday, July 12, 2012

New additions!

Introducing our 2012 twins:

Photo: Margaret Ann Pilewski, OSB

Don't miss our community site's new opening "video." It's a very, very nice overview of our sisters' daily ministry life.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Summer Days

Update: our A/C was restored just in time for record hot days Friday and Saturday, but nothing like the warmth reported in the Midwest. We think 88-90 is pretty repressive here, but those 100+s reported in Indiana must really be something.

Friday night a group of us took in an Erie Seawolves game (Double AA farm team for the Detroit Tigers). Not only did they win but there was lots of "action"---hits, stolen bases, errors---things that make a baseball game exciting.

Today I looked back over what I was writing about in the summers of 2007-2011. I realized that I'm pretty much writing about the same things in 2012! This is a not-surprising fact of monasticism: there is a strong repetition in the life, more than just in the psalmody of daily prayer. It extends to our activities and interests and other parts of the daily and yearly calendars. I guess some would call them "traditions" but since they're really part of the everyday, I think I'd label them just the pieces of the life.

And if you like it, which I do very much, it is far from humdrum or boringly predictable. It is instead cyclic and welcoming. It brings a rhythm that makes the life what it is.

And on that note, here's a weekend report of one of our most favorite events of the summer months: two of our sisters saw the new twin fawn nursing right on the edge of the woods at our Benetwood Apartments just behind us through the woods. Can their nightly appearance in our own apple orchard be far behind?!

And another summer perennial,
the Night-Blooming Evening Primrose.
The first photo was taken at 8:15 pm last night,
the second at 9:15, an hour later.

More mailboxes along Route 5 (aka East Lake Road)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A different sort of fireworks

We had a different sort of fireworks for our Fourth of July this year. They began on Tuesday evening when a summer lightning and thunderstorm swept in along its usual path: from Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland to us. Summer rain here is often light and refreshing but this was a kind of flash flood with heavy rain, thunder and loud lightning for about an hour. As the storm arrived directly over us, one particularly loud bolt hit our bell tower's cross--and luckily traveled down its lightning rod.

Wednesday morning we woke up to a)no telephones, b)half of the computers down, c)half of the A/C working and half out, and d)no sound system in chapel. The computers got fixed first by Brian our local guru; the telephones were back by mid-afternoon; the A/C is not back yet and there's no prediction on the state of the sound system--we're all practicing our voice projection.

As if all that wasn't enough, about 10:00 am on Wednesday itself another smaller and shorter lengthed storm came across the lake from Canada and drenched us again, but without more damage.

Our plants and grasses got a short but intense watering, I saw some downed tree limbs around, and our gutters and creeks were running wildly for awhile. All in all most of the effects were mere inconveniences, but it was enough to make me think about and pray specially for the victims of real disasters around our country on this the anniversary of our independence.

These google doodle artists are so creative!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Summer days---not always sunny

We live in an area not known for droughts, hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, dust storms, fires or severe rainfall. My Dad use to say that about the only natural disaster we regularly had was snow---and that would melt and go away without much damage if you just waited a few days. In that vein, I ask you to remember the people in other parts of our country coping with much more than a heavy snowstorm these days, especially our oblates and Benedictine Sisters in Colorado Springs.

In 2009 the sisters sold their monastery and built a new, more fitting one for their size and these times on land they owned in the Black Forest outside of Colorado Springs. They are a lovely community: the Benedictine Sisters of Benet Hill Monastery.

This non-descript mailbox caught my eye because, as I stopped to read the name posted on top of it, it turned out to be Mazza Vineyards, one of the best-known wineries in our area. This is how they (humbly) get their mail, I guess!