Monday, August 31, 2015


This weekend a 27-year old from the Philadelphia region entered the postulancy (pre-novitiate) of our community. I always feel that we are so very blessed when these events occur.

It's not so much whether they remain in the community for the rest of their lives. If that works out, fine. What's truly awesome is that "seekers"---those who are truly interested and attracted to the faith life, the search for God, the mysteries therein---choose to do that seeking with and among us.

In her classic commentary on the themes of the Rule of Benedict, Wisdom Distilled from the Daily, Joan Chittister writes---not only for the newcomer but for jubilarians, too: "To live the Benedictine Rule, it is not a set of mechanics we need; it is a change of heart and a turn of mind....The spirituality we develop is the filter through which we view our world and the limits within which we operate....Contemplative prayer is prayer that leads us to see our world through the eyes of God....We pray so that when the incense disappears we can still see the world as holy."

See stories at

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Stay-cation 2015

Our "stay-cation" 2015 has taken us to Presque Isle twice already. It is such a special place, I could go there every day!

By this time in the summer the tourists and vacationers are just about gone and only "locals" are around, the real lovers of the state park. We walked the very beginning of the trail that starts at the first parking lot. We got as far as The Feather, the accessible lookout over the marshes at the turn to Leo's Landing. Look what we saw along the way:

Here is a look across the bay at the Erie Yacht Club.

This Blue Heron tried to hide from us but we finally got a good enough view for a shot. 

This is just part of a beautiful scene on the road to Leo's Landing. The nearby sign says it is part of a restoration area being handled by the state of Pennsylvania.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Special Event

Saturday we experienced a special event in our chapel. Yes, we have lots of special events, I know, but hosting another one doesn't make them any less so!

It was the funeral liturgy for one of our longtime supporters, benefactors and friends. It was just one of those moments where the "unity and common purpose" of all in attendance, the "feeling" in the chapel, and the "unseen chemistry" among the participants all came together to make the liturgy and the following luncheon a very, very lovely time for all 175 or so in attendance--many of whom I'm sure were first-time visitors to the Mount.

This kind of "gift" to our friends is, in my opinion, one of the things we do best, but it is also something that we want to do for and with the spiritual life of those with whom we share our life.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Haiku practice at Glinodo

Do our prayers still work
When said before the bathtub
Shielding the virgin?

Try your own 5-7-5 traditional haiku meditation?

Monday, August 17, 2015

Home from Houston and its Heat

We attended the Sunday evening weekly "teen Mass" at a church near San Antonio, in Boerne, Texas. Very nice with lots of teens and early 20s obviously involved and interested. The church itself was beautiful, too.

Their stations were posted along the walls, each lit individually. Very creative.

We went to the Houston aquarium downtown, a six block walk from our hotel. In the 100+ heat that was no small feat. It had much more than marine life. Here is a macaw whose beauty I didn't captured  well with this photo. 

These tiger fish were among my favorites. They were really gorgeous and unique--until we saw the white tiger (see last post)! WOW, again.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Houston- a cardinal that wowed us

We're in Houston for the annual LCWR assembly-- 800+ strong. Second only to the heat-- it's been over 100 every day we've been here, the Catholic leader of the Galveston-Houston diocese welcomed us Tuesday night and what a delightful surprise. He was low key, sincerely welcoming, informative and interesting on his large and quickly growing diocese ( 27 new churches in the last 5 years) and very funny. Additionally he was dressed in regular priest black and could pass for anyone's favorite uncle.

I say to people all the time that we have a great bishop in Erie-- as we do. Now I'm glad to know that some other dioceses do, too. Is it too early to think that the "Francis effect " is kicking in?

See the NCR site for coverage of this assembly. They usually cover it.

Also, if you haven't seen the delightful pictorial reviews of some of our LLL events, enjoy them at

In the Houston Aquarium, a great visit for us before the actual LCWR assembly began, they also have a white tiger which was just fascinating to see.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Summer Days

Here are a couple shots that I got during our summer community days last week.

This is a sunset on Lake Erie about 3 miles east of us on East Lake Rd. I couldn't find my "sunset" setting fast enough, so this is just the regular camera setting.

And this is on our beloved Presque Isle, out at the furthest point from the entrance. That's the Perry Monument through the trees. It is in honor of Oliver Hazard Perry, a young navy commander in the War of 1812 who fought here and along Lake Erie.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Seldom Seen #20

Seldom Seen #20 is a look at the hummingbird feeders around the monastery.

These two hang from the second floor of the south wing facing the Library Courtyard. Very seldom seen unless you're here on retreat or taking a walk around the entire perimeter of the Mount, including this courtyard.

Another one only seen if you're walking around the Mount and looking for them. This one faces the east woods and supposedly has an ant-proof moat around it to keep bugs away!

This one can be seen, it's in the inner courtyard along the hall from the chapel to the dining room. As luck would have it, as I was standing still getting ready to take this photo, doesn't a hummingbird settle on it, right in view of the camera. Viola!

So I decided to stand there a while and see if any more "action" might occur and within minutes one came, and perched on the shepherd's hook guarding his territory, as they tend to do--so says all the books!

And here's a BONUS for all of you who have hung in there for all 20 Seldom Seens in this series: As the last one, look at this: I'm not 100% sure what it is, but my guess is that one of our deer recently spent the night in the quite tall reeds and Black Eyed Susans that happen to be right outside my room, near the sidewalk. The indentation was too round, too intentional, too perfectly deep and "hidden" to be from a storm, passing small animal or any other accident. WOW!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Lemonade 25 cents

This is a pretty good semblance of what it looked like.
Here's the full story:

We had just finished a little time on a nearby golf course this weekend, courtesy of gift certificates recently received. It was about 82 (in the shade) and we had been in the sun for two hours! We were hot and sweaty and thirsty. As we drove down the country road from the course we saw a little boy, maybe seven, on his front lawn, waving his hands as we approached. As we slowed a little and passed by Anne said, "Oh they have a lemonade stand on their porch, shall we stop?" Yes, I agreed and we did a quick turnaround, found their driveway and drove in.

I reached into my purse, got out and approached the large open-air front porch. The lemonade team awaited me: the boy, his younger sister and their mother, who came out of the front door as I went up the stairs....behind her was another boy, maybe 3, who came out and sat in his miniature lawn chair!

The girl says, "Mom, you didn't think anyone would stop, but they did!" "Yes, they did," Mom answered, smiling.

"I'll have two, please," I said. The boy got two very generous plastic cups ready, as his sister turned to Mom saying, "Would you pour, Mom?" As Mom was finishing the pouring, the little girl looked up at me and said, kindly but assertively, "That will be 25 cents, please."

-Pause-All during this scene, flashing through my mind was the chapter in Robert Fulghum's book, It was on fire when I lay down on it. The chapter was on Laws of Life, and one of his laws of life was this: "Buy lemonade from any kid who is selling it." I believe he went on to talk about how children learn about life mostly by watching the adults around them. When we buy lemonade, Girl Scout cookies, Christmas wrap, candy or anything else they are selling, we strengthen their knowledge that adults are supportive of them, even some adult they barely know.

So when she finished giving me the price, as her brothers stood by and her mother smiled and smiled at us, I said, "Oh, honey, we have a lot more than 25 cents for your delicious lemonade." And I gave her the $5 bill I had pulled from my purse.

Her Mom continued to smile gratefully at us and as we got back in the car, again we heard, "Mom, you didn't think anyone would stop but they did!"