Monday, August 29, 2016

Virtual vacation #2

Halifax is big (400,000), but the visitors are pretty much at the waterfront, give or take 5-6 blocks. We had lunch here at the Foggy Goggle. Good food and fun surroundings. We attended Mass at St. Mary's Basilica Saturday night. Very nice and the pastor told us afterward that it is a very lively and involved parish.  

We also visited the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History. Historically everything here revolves around water, fishing, the native people, Mi'kmaq and the Europeans who came and both befriended and took advantage of them during the early decades (1700s). Today the people seem well aware of the first natives to this land and honor them. There are also  monuments everywhere for bravery and sacrifice of life, both at sea and during the wars in which Canadians fought.

A huge boardwalk spans the waterfront in Halifax filled with shops, eating places, a large Seaport Market and activities for all. Here is one of those water fountains that surprises you when it shoots up and then disappears. Children were thrilled.

Both Lunenburg and now Halifax are filled with houses and other buildings painted in various colors. There has to be an organized plan because 1) they individually look very attractive and 2) a whole block's places all go together..artistically.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Virtual vacation #1

Only had time for a stay-cation this year? Need to "get away"? Here, take a virtual vacation with me!

Welcome to Canada, the Eastern Maritimes to be precise! The car trip here took us through southern Maine--what a beauty..evergreens everywhere. The clerk at a small grocery store told us that the vacationers are almost gone (Labor Day) and they will be followed by the bear hunters (!) who will be followed in October by the leaf peepers. (Took me a minute to figure out what those were!) No farms or fields in much sight, but miles and miles of trees.

Here is one of many fresh water lakes in New Brunswick which was also in Rockwood Park, a gorgeous nature preserve in Saint John.

The largest lake where many of the activities take place is surrounded by a walking path that has solar lighting all along the way. Very cool: solar panels on old fashioned lamps!

Here is a look at Saint John, NB from the ferry taking us to Nova Scotia. Saint John is a huge and busy port, the only one in New Brunswick and a major access to Nova Scotia, which is connected to it, but only at the far east end. The water it crosses is the Bay of Fundy, with claim to the highest tides in the world. (Twice a day its 25-50 foot tides rise and fall...amazing).

Here is the Nova Scotian town of Lunenburg. The water is the Atlantic and everything about it (except the dual language of French that is everywhere), reminds us of towns all along the Jersey shore: visitors, shops, shore food, etc.

Monday, August 22, 2016

2-4-6 South

Going south is first a mile on Troupe Rd, the monastery's western border, which is followed by Depot Rd. aka State Rte 531. Two miles south of us gets rural very quickly and small, modest homes dot the road all along the way. Here's a typical one at that point.

At four miles we take a short break in the homes for the huge Harborcreek exit #35 of I-90. Unfortunately this exit is located right past the highest point on I-90 in Pennsylvania and that means that this area is the scene of numerous serious accidents and road tie ups each winter, as the altitude brings ice, snow, winds and horrible driving conditions to trucks and cars traveling across this short (45+ miles) stretch of this interstate which spans the country. However, in mid-August it is a calm, green and peaceful place.

Six miles south brings us to true rural scenes. The houses are much farther apart, farms start to appear, and fields and trees are everywhere. Here is what we used to call a Christmas Tree farm. I'm guessing that it might be part of Johnston's Nursery, a large growing facility located another mile down the road. And on the other side of the six-mile marker, above one of the occasional homes, I caught sight of some of the beautiful cloud formations that we have at this time of year. They are greatly appreciated by Erie residents, for you see, we live under a very grey dome in the deep winter months and such blue, blue summer skies are a welcome and most blessed sight!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

2-4-6 West

Two miles west of us on Rte 5 lies the now closed Gannondale, a place for girls placed through the PA court system. The convent building of the Sisters of Charity and the main entrance (above) are still a lovely decades-old site. One of our oblates started her adult career here and gave about 30 years of her working life to the staff and girls that made Gannondale the fine institution that it was. Today we have "scarfed" her up and she now works with another great staff and clients at our SBEC.

Four miles west of the Mount we land on a boulevard that runs for a couple of miles right down the middle of Rte 5/East Lake Rd. On the north side of the four-mile marker is this locally famous Erie landmark, Ricardo's--a place of great filets and dining facilities that accommodate sports teams, large parties and any other family or friends' gathering you'd need. On the south side, right across the boulevard is the large neighborhood of the John Horan Garden Apartments, home to hundreds of families, now many who are immigrants, who need basic, clean and safe public housing.

Six miles west we found yet another Erie building and area....the old armory and the old "center of town" the north end of Parade Street. Today the armory has been refurbished by Erie Insurance and looks great. The bay end of Parade St. has loyal supporters, too, who continue their dedication to keeping this historic part of Erie alive and well and appreciated.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

FLASH! Pokemon Update!

Thanks to faithful readers and to two nurse aides in our infirmary who play Pokemon with their children, grandchildren or friends, I have learned that we are indeed a site for not one but two Pokemons and one Gym (storage for caught Pokemon characters). The two places to catch characters are at our sign at the Troupe Rd entrance and at the Glinodo sign on East Lake Rd.

Where's the Gym? Here--Benedict's statue, right in front of the Mount!

Monday, August 15, 2016


At the gathering of Benedictine prioresses and subprioresses last week we shared some "latest news" from our monasteries. The items mentioned were positive and light and lively. But, I was very surprised to hear one prioress stand up and began, "Well, first of all, we are a PokemonGO site!" We all laughed and then 4-5 others chimed in that their monasteries were also PokemonGO sites.  One even declaring that they are a Gym.

To the best of my knowledge we are not one, as we haven't seen a trail of smart phone users out front, pointing their phones our way to throw Poke Balls at us to catch a Pokemon character!

In that "go out and explore your world" vein, I decided to go out and share what I find around our world that I might otherwise ignore. So, in the PokemonGO spirit here is my version: "2-4-6," what can be found two, four and six miles east, west and south from our front entrance? I can't include north of course....there's just Lake Erie...north for 22 miles!

Here's today's entry: What I found two, four and six miles directly east of Mount St. Benedict on Rte. 5:

Two miles east of us is just an ordinary street with this sign at its beginning. But streets and signs such as this are all along Rte 5. The realities behind them usually include, yes, a street that dead ends and therefore wishes to be open only to the residents there. But, its secret usually includes that at the end of such streets, going north from Rte. 5, is a lakefront access. There are public accesses, of course, such as parks, marinas and even small beaches, but these "private" ones are real gems!

Four miles east of us on Rte 5 is this beautiful welcoming sign which indicates that we live 4 miles from North East in Harborcreek Township, which itself can't be more than 7 miles east to west!Ponds like the one just seen here are common throughout this area. 

And six miles east of us on Rte 5 is one of hundreds and hundreds of acres of grape vineyards. Welch's and numerous wineries benefit from the perfect land and climate (imagine!) for rich grape growing. I believe this year is on schedule to yield a "bumper" crop.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Margaret Wheatley-WOW

At the LCWR assembly Margaret Wheatley, longtime and greatly admired organizational expert spoke as the keynote. I first read a Wheatley book maybe 25+ years ago and just loved all the new ideas and concepts. She's been writing and speaking everywhere ever since, but I never imagined seeing and hearing her in person!

Here she was and WOW, just as special as I could have imagined!

Go to if you'd like to see her, too.

Here are a couple pieces of her wisdom shared with us:
"Thinking has disappeared from leadership. Reactivity is what gets most leaders by (Just doing stuff!)"

"Being contemplative and reflective=getting wiser. We become infinitely better at seeing what is to be done, become more courageous, surrendering."

Two Atlanta sculptures!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The World of Coke

A number of years ago I attended a LCWR assembly in Atlanta. Ever since I have regretted that I didn't take the opportunity to visit the "home" of Diet Coke, which I love. But now I have a second chance, as the annual LCWR meeting has come around to Atlanta again.....Tickets purchased online will gain us entry before our late afternoon meeting tomorrow! I can't wait---I'll probably spend a 1/2 month's budget on memorabilia. A once in a lifetime event that I got a second chance at.

Thursday, August 4, 2016


CBS Religion and Culture was here this week to interview Joan for an upcoming documentary. As always, it was a delightful time, educational and professional, to have such journalists here. We'll announce on our website when the show is scheduled to be aired as soon as we know.

BTW: As they passed through the community room after supper they looked over at the nightly news and saw ABC on. The producer laughed and said, "You watch ABC?" We laughed, too. (What could I say, the sisters like David Muir!)

Monday, August 1, 2016

Outdoor events

Our summer continues to be one where outdoor events are the norm. This week I attended two, of opposite intent. The many wineries that dot Routes 5 and 20 east of Erie have taken to branching out in combining their winery businesses with entertainment and other events that bring neighbors and potential customers to their places--right in among the vineyards! One of the best was this one at Arundel Wine Cellars on Rte. 20 just east of North East, PA. One of their evening events featured popular Erie singer-songwriter, Sam Hyman. Sam is so much like James Taylor that it's eerie. Add to that that he sings quite a number of Taylor's hits and the audience is always in for a tremendous music experience. Here he is with just a drummer and bass player to accompany him. It was wonderful.

Just as memorable but with a totally different experience was the latest Take Back the Site vigil this week. The venue was rather unique, the intersection of a regular quiet residential street with the Bayfront Highway (an extension of I-79 coming north from Pittsburgh). As the crowd gathered, and it was a large one for the 18-year-old victim, traffic whizzed by at those high rate speeds. The place might have been quite different than our usual but the sadness and soberness of the crowd was the same.