Thursday, October 29, 2015

Two busy months

After a very, very busy September and October--event after event, guests upon guests (all quite wonderful), I admit that I am looking forward to what APPEARS to be a quieter November--starting this weekend with two "at home" gatherings, primarily just for "the natives"!

The first is a Halloween party Saturday night. Halloween party here means fun things for dinner, some attendees dressing up in costumes, candy and a movie on the big screen in the community room. I think I'm going as a Pittsburgh Steeler fan. I have a great long sleeved Steeler T-shirt and a brand new cap that one of our sports loving nonagenarians lent me. I'm on the front desk switchboard in late afternoon and I think I'll dress for that and then just continue the theme for the "party." There are prizes, but I doubt that I'll win--we have some crazy costume lovers and they are sure to upstage most of us.

Secondly, on Sunday our two postulants are received into the novitiate as canonical novices for a year. It is a very moving ceremony and marks quite a point in their journey as seekers. The upcoming year will enable them to really get a handle on whether to continue on this path or to realize that God is leading them to another one. We, as supporters and sisters, pray especially for them this year and do what we can to offer them a very special year of discernment, study and a deepening of their life here in this monastic community.

Monday, October 26, 2015

A year for reflection

A couple of years ago two graduates from Canisius College in Buffalo joined our Benedicta Riepp program and came to live, work and pray with us for a year. They were delightful gals and, as part of their experience, they started blogs, sharing with their families and friends this unique year in their life. If you have been reading this blog for that long you may remember the link to their blogs and the encouragement I gave you to experience a different angle/view/experience of the daily here, than you were getting from me.

Well, here is a chance again! Our postulant, Valerie, has been blogging for a month or so and last week her blog, "Walking in the Holy Presence," went public! You will find a permanent link to it on the right side of this page, but a first encouragement to read it right here today. She is doing a fine job, very good writing, filled with honesty, openness and interest. I learn quite a bit from reading it myself! Enjoy!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

"October gave a party"

Autumn is moving along very nicely, as this week without harsh rain and winds has brought our golds and reds and yellows out in full bloom. When the sun shines on the woods and roadsides it is really breathtaking. That can all disappear in a whisper if a heavy rain and/or strong winds blow through...crossing our fingers that we get a lot more beautiful days.

To see the results of my apple "test" you can compare this photo with the one on Monday. Twenty apples set out, eleven there today. Between the deer, squirrels and numerous other "critters" I'm not sure which got to them but 7-8 are totally gone, a couple chewed on site and the rest seem poised to disappear this weekend.

Finally, a tribute to one of my most faithful "fans" and supporters. Our eldest (and wisest?!?!) sister turned 98 this week. That makes our range 98 to 27! Congratulations Sister Placida and thank you for all your encouragements, the fine book reviews for that page on our website and for sharing these daily trivialities with your friends and families. I hope they enjoy this little lens into our daily life here at MSB in Erie.

"October gave a party.."

Monday, October 19, 2015

October = Apples

We have been the beneficiaries of baskets and baskets of apples this month, as local farmers and neighbors are very generous with their harvest. Yesterday one of the sisters told me that there were 3-4 boxes of "apples for the deer" in the kitchen! I wasn't exactly sure what she meant, but I found them and gladly set them out in my usual place for our herd. Here's my deer "deli," usually only open in deep winter when the snow covers every bush and shrub on our grounds causing the soft, overly ripe apples from our kitchen to find their way to this "table."

The behemoth that is our air conditioning system.

Hidden nicely by a perimeter of arbor vitae which not only hide it a bit, but cut the noise, too.

The cement base for the system stays much more snow-free than the ground around it. A perfect place setting for hungry deer.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

PSU blue & white

Over a dozen community members are at Penn State Wednesday and Thursday for the opening of Sister Joan's literary archives. Quite an event, in the October orange and golden fall scenes of rural Pennsylvania. The first afternoon of panels and speakers went very well. Thursday morning's were just as good for the wrap up. Most presentations are available online through this site.

We were on the road by 2:00 pm, getting "out of Dodge" right before a huge concert came into town: Paul McCartney.

Here are some views of this glorious event:

The exhibit is large and beautiful. On display through December 15. Try to get there!

Joan and Sister Simone Campbell outside of the Paterno Library.

Joan presenting her keynote at the end of the 2-day event.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Heaven all around us

"Heaven" seems to be all around us this first half of October. Where you ask? Places like these:

* the people of Erie are being so generous to our Emmaus Soup Kitchen after the fire that brought considerable damage to the kitchen 2 weeks ago;

* here is the environment for liturgy this weekend--such artists in our midst:

* the temps Sunday reached 70--a slight miracle for this October date. Here's a seemingly ordinary scene, but the berries on a single stock, growing in and out of the wire fence, right on the shore of the lake, made a special shot, I thought: nature shining amidst the utilitarian needs of humans;

I guess it's all a matter of seeing what's right around us.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Gallery beauty

I made a quick 48 hour trip to Boston this week to attend "A Conversation" between Joan C. and the author of her biography, Tom Roberts. It was held at the Pucker Gallery on Newbury St. in Boston, the place that has been the longtime gallery of the ceramics of Brother Thomas. Bernie and Sue Pucker are extraordinary hosts and both the gallery event and the dinner at their home afterwards were as special as they come. Here are a few photos from these lovely moments.

Joan and Tom signed many, many books by the attendees. Publisher Robert Ellsberg from Orbis Books was also there.

The primary exhibit of Thomas' works for this show.

The "back room" of Thomas' works!

We have over 100 of Thomas' pieces, Pucker Gallery has over 800. We have some that I've never seen there and they have some, the likes of which I've never seen at our place. Here are two of those.

Monday, October 5, 2015

All mixed up

We're in the middle of a four-week span that is a tough time of year in our part of the country--regarding weather. Half the time it's cold and damp and half the time it's sunny and warm. And this can all happen in one day. It gives new meaning to "layering" as we put on and take off outer layers all day long! Oh, late September and early October!

Take a look at these--from our inner courtyard this week!! They are obviously terribly mixed up, too.

On the other hand, and there seems to always be one, the cool, damp weekend brought no problems to the 30-35 retreatants we had--as they spent their time in activities as well as private, quiet time indoors and had a beautiful retreat experience as part of our Seasons of the Spirit weekends.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

A Star is Born

Lady is one of the "stars" of Sister Joan's new book, Two Dogs and a Parrot: What animals can teach us about the meaning of life.

However she seems unfazed by her newfound celebrity.

Despite a cage full of toys, note that she is on her back trying to grab her "favorite" toy: the toilet paper roll.

This gives new meaning to "adapting to your environment"! As she spends quite a bit of time in an office during the work day, Lady loves the "juggle gym" of climbing files. This particular trick is detailed in one of the chapters in the new book.