Thursday, April 28, 2016

Bergamo, Italy

We're spending a few days this week 325 miles southwest of Erie at the Bergamo Center outside of Dayton, Ohio. It is named after the city, Bergamo, in Italy....home of the innovative educator Maria Montessori and Pope John XXIII. The influence of this pope is apparent everywhere. I would guess that the Marianist community whose home is this campus, is of the Vatican II philosophy, too.

The "campus" here is large and beautiful with much green space in the form of grass, bushes and trees, trails, and woods. One of the priests was a longtime biologist at UD and used his expertise to reclaim large tracks of their land into natural habitats for deer, other animals and local plants. They have lots of evidence of responsible environmental choices.

And they have those grey squirrels! Relatives of our brown ones.

Monday, April 25, 2016

We suggest...

Our yard is awash with dandelions this week. I experimented with taking a photo of them. Here are the two I liked best.

Every year at this time I am reminded of the famous tale about dandelions and the frustration they often bring to serious lawn aficionados! You can read it here.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

4 and 20 (No. 10)

Well, I got through introducing you to 10 things here at the Mount that weren't in place 24 months ago. If you don't get a chance to visit us too often and you wait another 24 months, there are sure to be another 10 additions that aren't here today!

This last one arrived exactly 4 and 20 months ago in April 2014 when we had Brother Mickey McGrath for our April community days speaker. You can search for his name in the upper left corner of this blog and the entry from April 24th of that year should pop up.

After he left we received this painting of his in the mail. It is now a permanent part of the Joan Chittister Archive Room located on the first floor near the front entrance. The whimsical work shows two great Benedictine women, Scholastica and Hildegard, posing with some of the works of Joan Chittister! It is a delightful depiction of Benedictine women who have contributed to the life of the Church.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Slide down my rain barrel

Do you recognize that little line from the children's song? If so, have you ever seen a real rain barrel?

I did this weekend when I stopped at "our" library branch and asked the librarian if perhaps the barrel outside was filled with wildflower seeds, free for the taking? No, she said, it's part of the rain barrel project throughout the region.

Then she gave me a lovely flier with a map of the Community Rain Barrel Project, "Don't Give Up the Drip." (Do you catch the play on words?!)

Go here for a short description of the project and to see some of the decorated barrels and go here for a map of the over 50 rain barrels in and around Erie.

(Some of the places you'll find them: Smuggler's Wharf, Seawolves Stadium, Erie Zoo, Art's Grocery and Bakery, Lawrence Park Library, Avonia Tavern in Fairview, Stan's Garden Center in Harborcreek, The Cork Restaurant in North East, The Seasons Inn in Edinboro)

Thursday, April 14, 2016

4 and 20 (No. 9)

This 4 and 20 stands not for new things in the last 24 months but rather new things in the last 24 days!

The greenhouse that was built onto the far end of the south wing is no more. Its leaks and drafts and overall condition demanded some serious attention and we're going to do just that. It won't be a real greenhouse, more of a central place for plants--of which we have many---along with numerous sisters who care for them. It will be very nice to have a general spot to re-pot, refresh and just to give general care to our greenery.

It might also include a nice sitting area, too, as the view of that corner of the backyard is a favorite place for our visiting deer and other wildlife to pass through.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Sadness from such happiness

The poets say that happiness and sadness are often "sisters" inside of us. That certainly was true this weekend as we bid farewell to our latest "Riepper," Joanne, the 16th woman to join us in our Benedicta Riepp program.

Thank you for everything, Joanne. Especially for your flexibility in living with 60+ other women and being willing to adapt to our methods of doing everything---from dish washing to writing notes, from car pools to "traditions" galore! You were a marvelous addition to our community for the past 7 months and will be greatly missed.

Drifting by Mary Oliver

I was enjoying everything: the rain, the path
wherever it was taking me, the earth roots
beginning to stir.

I didn't intend to start thinking about God,
it just happened.
How God, or the gods, are invisible,
quite understandable.
But holiness is visible, entirely.

It's wonderful to walk along like that,
though not the usual intention to reach an answer
but merely drifting.

Like clouds that only seem weightless
but of course are not.
Are really important.
I mean, terribly important.
Not decoration by any means.

By next week the violets will be blooming.
Anyway, this was my delicious walk in the rain.
What was it actually about?

Think about what it is that music is trying to say.
It was something like that.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

4 and 20 (No. 8)

In our guest wing, across from rooms 10 and 11, we have a little kitchenette and and larger dining area that our visitors can use while they are here. Recently the kitchenette side benefited from a generous gift by one of our sister's sisters. She and her husband were downsizing and their new place didn't have space for a lovely kitchen table and four chairs--complete with arms and generous padding to make the seats very comfy.

"Guests...and monasteries are never without them." Fortunately!

Monday, April 4, 2016

The precarious life of daffodils


Dependent on circumstances beyond one's control; uncertain; unstable; insecure;

Exposed to or involving danger; dangerous; perilous; risky;

Having insufficient, little, or no foundation.

Saturday, April 2nd

Sunday, April 3rd

As a beautiful spring Saturday turned into a near freezing, snow showered Saturday night.