Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween from Google and me

Go to today and see the Google Doodle for the day.

Click on all the doors and some of the pumpkins and other decorations to enjoy a google Halloween treat. Can you see the word "Google" in it?

It will be archived at Google Doodles after October 31.

Monday, October 29, 2012

What a great weekend

What a great weekend we had! Over 100 of our 280 oblates came "home" for the weekend to renew their annual commitment and to be present when 21 men and women began their commitment as oblates of Mount St. Benedict Monastery.

Many of the 21 have been with us at Sunday liturgies or are members of a sister's family or connected in some other capacity. It's always such a surprise that they are just becoming an seems as if they've been one for years!

We all enjoyed our Saturday speaker, Sr. Toni Nash, CSJ, a student of Brian Swimme's and a religious cosmologist, as she describes herself. With presentations over the last six months by Toni, Gail Worcelo and Ilea Delio we've received a terrific introduction to the new cosmology with particular spirituality "twists" and applications. All three women have distinct styles and different emphases, but they are all fine presenters. We are so fortunate to have such opportunities.

Regarding Hurricane Sandy: we, hopefully, will not receive a direct hit since it seems at this point to be continuing up the east coast, but we have already had two days of rain, with two or three more predicted. Oh, high winds, too. I always feel so bad when such weather hits at Halloween. Kids look forward to it all month...and then it rains. Maybe the worst will pass by Wednesday night. Sure hope so.

Here are some scenes from our chapel where Toni gave her presentations and we had some very special prayer times from our endlessly creative planners. Wish you had been here!

Mums and other autumn flowers filled the chapel, halls and entrance way.

The rainy weather seen from a window in the cloister hall walkway.

Our guests came prepared!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Nine in seven

This is media day or I should say this is a subject that is getting more and more media coverage in our little 100,000 resident town. This week we gathered for the 9th time in 7 months to offer a prayer service to reclaim the site of a homicide for nonviolence. About 100 people gathered on a corner of a poor residential neighborhood where a 25-year-old young man was shot to death three weeks ago.

A growing number of clergymen are joining us I've noticed, which is a very good thing. This time, too, there were many neighbors and local teenagers that stayed around for it. Many were known by our sisters who work in some of the downtown ministries.

Our local media is giving lots of coverage to the whole story, including these at-the-site public prayer services. The entire city is dismayed at the increasing gun deaths of the past couple of years.

Media coverage by our local newspaper includes a short (40 second) video clip.

A local TV station's coverage from their nightly news is online here. The antenna in the photo below actually brought a live feed of the prayer to their 5:00 o'clock news program.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Outdoor and indoor scenes

Seven Mile Creek, otherwise known as the creek that runs along side
and through our property.

The best of the best. Right outside the dining room.
One of the last to green in spring and last to turn in autumn.

This blue jay competed with the sparrows and chickadees for food in my window feeder.
He didn't really chase them out, just took his turn---big as he was.

I work on the 4th floor of the building that was part of our original motherhouse.
The first floors house our Child Development Center.
Walking by one of the rooms Friday, I saw this "domestic" scene and couldn't resist.
Aren't they cute?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

To be awake

A little play on words here as I want to tell you of an interesting-sounding conference that our Sister Joan C. is attending in Florence and Rome, Italy this week: Awakened World 2012. She is there as a member of the newly re-organized Peace Council, an international interfaith group of spiritual leaders. I'm sure she'll be writing about it when she returns, probably in the National Catholic Reporter. That's one extremely nice thing she consistently does when she has a unique, international experience--she shares it. She has written about all of her trips and gathering of the GPIW, Global Peace Initiative of Women and they make fascinating, first-hand sharings of people and places that most of us won't personally experience in that way.

And my second "To be awake" continues to be autumn. This past weekend some of our sisters traveled about 20 miles south of Erie to a large annual Fall Festival in a small ski resort town. The festival was good but the leaves of the surrounding hills were well past their prime. Ours seemed to have peeked overnight this weekend placing us in a kind of red and gold valley. Here are a couple attempts to share it with you--just from our own grounds.

Two trees in our side yard that are every one's favorites.

Our backyard yesterday in the late afternoon sun.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Silver dollars and golden memories

Our artists find these Silver Dollars every year around this time and design beautiful arrangements with them. This Sunday they were placed in two parts of the chapel and really add such a loveliness to the settings. They are fragile looking and so unique.

More beauty is being added around the Mount these days as our Sister Anne, we have six so good luck guessing, has been diligently working on some of our archival materials for display. This large, lighted display case has just been added to our front foyer. It makes a very, very nice presentation of some of our historical mementos--including the little organ right beside it. Other pieces can be found in various rooms and in the library where our visitors can see little bits of our 156 years in Erie.

Don't miss our community home page. There's a new Smilebox at least once a week--sometimes more often!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Gotta get outdoors

I'm sure over 1/2 our community would choose autumn as their favorite season. There's something about the colors, the textures, the cool nights and warmer days. There's something about fall that four-season people love! We've been trying to spend time outdoors in it, but with now going to work in the morning and coming home at night in the dark both's hard to get outside in the light. Weekends bring time to catch up.

We're still getting loads of guests who are enjoying all of the above, the wildlife that's around, drives around Presque Isle and everything that is Erie.

Here's a sunrise at 7:30 recently with the light shining directly on the trees in the western sky.

Another beautiful tree limb, this time right over 7-mile creek down at Glinodo.

I love these reeds or grasses or whatever they are. They are just beautiful and we have a number of them in the gardens. This one was so perfect right beside a weathered bench.

Don't miss Hildegard "Herstory" on our website.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Autumn abundance

A weekend drive on Rte 20, just 6 miles east of the Mount, brought us to this "roadside stand." More like a full roadside autumn display! It shows the recent harvest from the Klenz Farm and is a beauty to behold. The September full moon, the annual Harvest Moon, was September 22nd and we've been seeing the local bounty everywhere--the Welch's grapes, of course, but also the crops from local gardens, both small and large. I hope you can enjoy local produce in your area, too. WOW!

On Sunday, October 7th a ceremony was held in Rome naming the 12th century Benedictine abbess, St. Hildegard of Bingen, the fourth female Doctor of the Catholic Church. We had a wonderful celebration Sunday evening and have been spreading the good news of Hildegard for the past 3-4 months.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

New destinations

We have a new bishop, Bishop Lawrence Persico. Here are some photos from his ordination last Monday. We had great seats, just a couple rows behind a huge monitor that gave us perfect views. The screens actually showed us what was being broadcast live on one of our local TV stations.

And on another, yet quite unrelated, note: on our community website there's a new and delightful Smilebox from a recent trip to the Erie Zoo by some of our senior sisters.

Monday, October 1, 2012

October gave a party

Early on in my years in community, Sister Mary would recite a poem from her childhood, "October gave a party, all the leaves by hundreds came" every year when October came around. I thought it was a little corny at the time but now I remember it with affection and pray to her for yet another beautiful fall in Erie. Here are some scenes from this weekend that seem to be leading it in that direction.

One limb of a maple tree on our Glinodo property that is beautiful, all by itself.

Our rafter of turkey and herd of deer are everywhere these mornings and evenings.
Here is one in the yard right beside our entrance.

Many bushes are loaded down with berries.
The animal and bird kind, not for human consumption.

Here's a concert at North East's annual Grape and Wine Festival this weekend.
Tennessee Back Porch---our favorite local group.

A more sophisticated camera would be needed to capture the beauty of the moon
shining on Lake Chautauqua. It was stunning.