Thursday, October 31, 2013

Nooks and Crannies #5

Facing the Mount from East Lake Road it's easy to miss a small entrance at the far east end that leads to a recessed "nook." The only people who ever use it are the sisters who live at that end of the north hall and some employees who work at that end on the second floor.

Right inside there is a little foyer with these relics from our St. Benedict Academy--both the original building on East 9th Street and the newer one (1954) on East 10th. When additions were added to the east end of both wings of the Mount in the late 80s these pieces of SBA history were built right in. Very nice memories, though only a few lucky ones see it regularly.

The original "signage" from 1870.

Print of St. Benedict's Convent and St. Mary's Church

Symbols from six disciplines, still visible at the front entrance of SBEC.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Almost a monastic haunt

The #1 Halloween occurrence in our city is Zoo Boo, a month-long evening pre-Halloween event held at the Erie Zoo. Every child I know goes to Zoo Boo as a yearly October ritual. But close behind is the Mason Farms Pumpkin world or whatever its official name is! It's a huge farmers market that is transformed for the month of October into a Halloween/harvest world, enjoyed by adults as well as children. And, in that vein you might very well find Erie Benedictines there, with or without a gaggle of children enjoying the outing.

We made a quick stop there this weekend just to enjoy the decorations and see some of the sights. Fun! Trick or treating will be enjoyed this Thursday between 6:00-8:000 pm in the city and most surrounding townships. Hope the weather holds.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Nooks and Crannies #4

My friend, Judy, who is a loyal and supportive Nook and Cranny follower already, told me this week that the real nooks and crannies were in the 19th century built original motherhouse on Ninth Street--of which only one piece remains and that renovated in 1990. Within 30 seconds she named a half dozen nooks and crannies, each with a proper name i.e. the cat's parlor, that would have made a whole brochure of fascinating broom closets, eaves, tiny hidden drawers, stairwell underneaths and on and on.

Alas, we are left with the monastery that is only 44 years old, but I still think it holds some "hidden" or "not often visited" places of interest! Here's a relatively new one, passed hundreds of time each day, yet totally invisible.

With the renovation of the dining room and community room came the request to somehow enable access to the 6 foot tables that we use for events. We've been hauling them up and down from the basement storage--along with the extra chairs--for years. They're heavy, cumbersome and, yet, needed often. Voila! A hide-away disguised as part of the divider/display/artistic piece separating the rooms. Can you see it? See the hinges on the left side? Even if you do, it's nigh to impossible to find the right side's opening.

Looks like one of our housekeepers found it, too!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Halloween and autumn fun

I read recently that Halloween has moved up to #2 (after Christmas) in this country for sales of decorations, candy and celebrating of all kinds. Being someone who was nearly a Halloween baby and whose birthday parties were always of the masquerade variety, I have always loved the holiday, too. My friend who taught K-2 for years attests that for that age group it almost surpasses Christmas: the dressing up, the Trick or Treating, the pumpkins, falling leaves and everything else October brings just thrills 5-8 year olds.

As you can see from these photos that I took just walking the halls at the Mount, it is a fun time for 50-80 year olds, too!

Finally, here's an article that was in our local paper over the weekend. I knew you wouldn't want to miss it, especially if you're a dog lover!

PS. And, thank you for the positive responses to the Nooks and Crannies series; the sisters here are, of course, even suggesting ones to include. #4 is coming this Thursday.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Sunday's Show

If you live in the Erie area or within cable TV distance I think you'd enjoy the show that WICU NBC channel 12 is going to air this Sunday, October 20 at 12:30 pm (right before the Sunday football games!) It's "Women and Spirit" the story of Catholic sisters in the USA. It's very, very good and so informative. We all admit that we, ourselves, learned much from this history that we did not know, especially from Orders other than our own. If you do catch it, let WICU know you watched and thank them for the airing. (

Here's our beautiful Seven-Mile Creek on one of these early autumn afternoons. When the sun's out the scenery is stunning, when it's dull and rainy it can be a bit miserable. We're having a combination most weeks.

For the sports buffs: since the baseball playoffs linger all the way through October nowadays it's difficult to keep up interest, but our Erie Seawolves are a AA farm team of the Detroit Tigers who are one of the two American League teams vying for a place in the World Series. Quite a number of the current players played right here in Erie during their minor league days.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Nooks and Crannies #3

Every Sunday morning I set up my orchestra bells and play along with the other musicians for Sunday Mass. When it is over I pack and fold them up again and return them to their storage spot: a cranny in the chapel wall.

The first photo shows that the light from the cranny windows can be seen from the main body of the chapel quite easily. The second photo shows the actual lower 1/3 of the crack in the wall, but you have to get right up next to it to see it this way. The whole thing is as tall as the west chapel wall and is divided into three window partitions--each maybe 6 feet high.

Its only other claim to fame, besides giving natural light there and providing an interesting perspective outside, happened a number of years ago at some event--maybe it was Sunday liturgy, but I doubt it---more likely it was a creative prayer time during a community weekend or summer community days. Anyway, the reading was the gospel story of Lazarus and at the point when the reader said, "Lazarus, come forth" out of this cranny, completely covered from top to bottom in white strips of cloth, comes one of our sisters playing Lazarus! The first gasp was the visual of this "person" emerging; the second gasp was wondering who in the world it was; and the third gasp, delayed a few seconds, was when everyone realized that she'd probably been in there 15-20 minutes, before the sisters even came into chapel and through the whole first part of the prayer! (She was walking a little wobbly--probably due to heat and also not wearing her glasses!) It was an unforgettable event that put the chapel cranny into our memory evermore!

As you undoubtedly can tell I'm enjoying this new little series, Nooks and Crannies, quite a lot. I have found a sort of "patron saint" for it, Alfred Lord Tennyson, writer of the famous poem, "Flower in the Crannied Wall." Ta da:

Flower in the crannied wall, 
I pluck you out of the crannies, 
I hold you here, root and all, in my hand, 
Little flower—but if I could understand 
What you are, root and all, and all in all, 
I should know what God and man is.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Nooks and Crannies #2

I'm reading Dan Brown's latest, Inferno, and like his blockbuster The DaVinci Code and the followup, Angels and Demons, this is set in a great European city, Venice, with Robert Langston and a female companion on an adventure to right a wrong and save the world using his knowledge of symbols and history.

Same formula in many ways, but a new look for me of a city I'd just love to visit now. In all of the churches, museums and building that form the locales in these books there are hidden passages, little-known stairways and thousands of hiding places, both for people and valuable things. So, in the Dan Brown tradition, I think this is an apropos Nooks and Crannies #2, a semi-hidden stairway in our place.

I lived here almost a year before I even knew it existed! It isn't really in a direct line of sight, nor is it a primary route, or even a secondary route, between the first floor and the ground level--just a private and very quick non-peopled thoroughfare from the library downstairs.

Monday, October 7, 2013

In October mums the word

Congratulations to our Sister Carolyn G-K who after 7 months of pancreatitis, "triumphantly" returned to her ministry this weekend with a glorious fall weekend themed Seasons of the Spirit Retreat. Thirty retreatants joined us for the much-anticipated event and a happy and blessed time was had by all.

Ditto goes for the entire community as we welcomed a new postulant on Sunday afternoon. Welcome, Ann. (I call her "Ann Septième," which is French for our 7th Ann(e). And four of them are Ann M's to boot!)

Mums are the flower of the month in October. These spend their weekdays right outside the chapel--back in nature. When the weekends come around they are brought inside for our environment. Smart idea!

And here is our first cactus to bloom for the season. It is a really early one as most show their first blooms in late November or early December; thus their names, Christmas cactus or holiday cactus. But isn't this white one gorgeous?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Little Free Libraries

The Little Free Libraries were started by Gannon University last year. You may have read about one that was recently put up on E. 22nd Street near the Poetry Park. (Our website, second page: September 12) For quite awhile there has been one in front of 345 East 9th Street where I go to work every morning. I see books in it, but never anyone there (granted it's 7:45 am!). Until yesterday. This fellow was standing up over a small bike he was riding, cigarette dangling from one hand, as he sifted through the books with the other. I passed by and then turned quickly and took this photo as I entered the front door.

I'd say that this is exactly the reason these little "libraries in a box" are being put in neighborhoods all around the city. Thanks Gannon.

Here's an article just put up on the Huff Post site by our Joan C: "The Seven Blessings that come with Aging."