Wednesday, April 26, 2017


For the past couple months we've been borrowing the original DVDs of the show "Northern Exposure" from our library. That wonderful quirky series about Cecily, Alaska and its quirky cast of characters and delightful and quirky stories. What creativity! How did those writers think of those plots?! We are enjoying them immensely. I do love quirky things and I've just found a new one to add to the list.

Out of the blue, an unanticipated gift from a friend, comes an equally quirky book, The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by first time novelist, Katarina Bivald. Here we meet Sara, a bookstore employee from Sweden, who is arriving in a small (pop. 637), fading town in Iowa to meet her pen pal, Amy---only to find that Amy has just died. Sara stays on and, drawing on her love of books (and Amy's personal library), opens a bookstore in Broken Wheel. And everything changes! The characters are great, the writing is good and the story, in my opinion, is creative, fun and delightful....with just enough quirkiness to keep me hooked.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Cokie and Joan

If you can't be with us this Tuesday for "In Conversation" with Cokie Roberts and Joan Chittister, don't despair. Mercyhurst University will have it online very quickly. Watch their site or our site, and I'm sure it will be up within a couple days.

Meanwhile, here's an excerpt from an interview that the Jesuit-published America magazine had with Cokie three years ago. It's title was: "Catholic woman in the public square." You can find it in its entirety online here.

In the world of media, have you seen coverage of the church by mainstream media change? Have media been harder on the church? Not hard enough?

Well, I think Pope Francis is being treated like a rock star. And that was true of John Paul II when his papacy began. And the media, for the most part, take the church seriously. There are always complaints about coverage of scandal versus all the good things that go on, but that is true in every field. It is not news that thousands of planes take off and land safely; the one crash is news. But for the American Catholic Church, unfortunately, the question of media coverage cannot be separated from the sex abuse scandal. I have personally been involved in several media-outreach efforts by the hierarchy on this and the tin-ear and fundamental ignorance about molestation in the early years of the unfolding scandal was truly shocking. There was only one Christian response: This is a crime. We are horrified. What can we do as caring people to help? How can we make amends and prove to you it will never, never happen again? That’s not what anyone heard. Finally, we are hearing those responses after hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements. That’s money that could have gone to educate poor children, feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, help pregnant young women see the way clear to give birth to their babies. You get my furious drift. And equally maddening: it caused the bishops to lose their moral authority at a time when it could really be used on those issues.

As a woman in media, have you found prejudice against you? As a Catholic woman? As a woman of a certain age?

Of course. I don’t think I’ve been discriminated against officially as a Catholic woman. But certainly sex and age. Let me count the ways. And when I say officially, I mean no one has denied me a job or a raise. But are there people in this society still who think that to be a believer is to be a little bit simpleminded? Sure. And to be a Catholic, still a little simpler still? Yes.

One of the blue heron that lives at the East Pier.

Our bleeding hearts make me so nostalgic for my grandmother's garden.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Easter colors

Showing off their Easter "colors" are Gary Good, (green) one of our great maintenance guys, who had surgery; Sister Carol Ann (pink) who took a tumble carrying a computer printer and broke a couple small bones in her hand; and Sister Cecilia (blue) who bumped into a guest at the intersection of two of our hallways and landed on her wrist, also breaking a couple small bones! Neither sister needed surgery, thankfully. Anyone for a purple one to complete the colorful Easter basket?!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Inside and Outside

The four-day celebration of the Triduum and Easter finished with a flourish. All of the prayers and liturgies came off very well--our presider was first rate, the music, creativity of liturgical ideas, and old and new guests were all a special part of the days.

One admission I feel obliged to make however: On the last day, Sunday, a guest was really gushing over with compliments in conversation with me: "Oh, everything was so beautiful and looked so smooth and easy. It must be just a delight to be part of it all." My outside self responded, "Thank you so very much, it takes a little work but, yes, it is our pleasure to share our prayer with so many friends--thanks so much for coming!" Meanwhile a little, but very strong inside voice was saying, "Smooth and easy? We practice and practice for hours to get everything coordinated and looking effortless. We've been singing those songs in choir for 3 months, ditto for handbell pieces!!! Nothing's's hard work!!"

Within minutes doesn't another guest stop me and say, "You must be beat you look so tired, so many events, so much to do--hope you can get a little rest!" My outside self responded, "Well, thank you but I feel pretty good; many of us have tomorrow (Monday) off, so we can relax a little; thanks so much for coming and joining us." That little, but strong voice inside piped up: "Tired? We're exhausted! This afternoon it will be as quiet as a morgue around here as everyone either goes to their room and closes the door to the world or takes a drive to the peninsula to get away from people and be surrounded only by the sounds of nature!! So glad you came to join us, now enjoy your trip home and we'll see you next year...or next month...or at the earliest, next weekend!"

But both voices sincerely say "thanks" to all our oblates, family members, friends and guests (especially first-timers) who were with us for Holy Thursday, Good Friday, the Tenebrae services, Holy Saturday and/or Easter Sunday. They really were great, great community and prayer experiences!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

And the conclusion is...

1. This year we had below our average snowfall;
2. Our last measurable snow was in mid-March;
3. This year, because winter was shorter, spring got an early start;
4. 6-7 very warm days over the past two weeks have accelerated blossoms and buds;
5. The heavy winds and rainstorms we've been seeing all around the country did not hit us;
6. Sunshine has accompanied our higher temps;
7. Easter is mid-April;

Ta-da: We are in for (crossing our fingers) one of those rare--but remembered from childhood photographs of pastel dresses, navy blue coats and white hats or miniature three piece suits for boys-- warm and beautiful Easters--where your winter coat does not have to be worn, covering your Easter outfit;

And, ta-da, ta-da....our daffodils and hyacinths are strong and upright, full and glowing!
WOW! and Alleluia for spring and Easter!

Even the tree in the center of the library courtyard is beginning to bloom. Here's the view from indoors. It will be gorgeous in a couple days.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Holy Week

"The Poet Thinks about the Donkey"

On the outskirts of Jerusalem
the donkey waited.
Not especially brave, or filled with understanding,
he stood and waited.

How horses, turned out into the meadow,
leap with delight!
How doves, released from their cages,
clatter away, splashed with sunlight!

But the donkey, tied to a tree as usual, waited.
Then he let himself be led away.
Then he let the stranger mount.

Never had he seen such crowds!
And I wonder if he at all imagined
what was to happen.
Still, he was what he had always been:
small, dark, obedient.

I hope, finally, he felt brave.
I hope, finally, he loved the man
who rode so lightly upon him,
as he lifted one dusty hoof and stepped,
as he had to, forward.

Mary Oliver

Wednesday, April 5, 2017


I was "hanging around" one of my old haunts this week, St. Mary's Home East, as a couple of our sisters are there right now for rehab following falls and broken bones. My mother was a resident there for 7 years, most of it on the 100-room assisted living side, but the last year or so on the 100-room full care side following a stroke.

Between her time there and living in a community with a number of 80 and 90-somethings, I've learned a lot about "parenting." The number one thing I've learned is this: although all parenting is basically the same, every parenting situation is unique and special. The trick is to find the parenting options that "fit" you and your family. St. Mary's East was a great fit for my Mom and me.

One of the things we both enjoyed was the seemingly endless celebration of holidays. Every window sill, desk corner and table top went through an annual progression from July 4th to Back to School to Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas (which was hands down the biggest and best) to New Year's, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, and with nary a breath, ta da, what I found this week: Easter (Never mind that we're headed into Holy Week....don't be a Scrooge bunny!) Can Memorial Day be far behind?!

St. Mary's was founded in 1884 by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Erie, who had already begun a hospital in nearby Meadville, PA and St. Vincent's hospital here in Erie. In 1991 they added a separate building for Alzheimer's patients and in 2001 a twin complex, St. Mary's Asbury Ridge, in west Erie.

There are a number of fine senior care facilities in the Erie area---we are indeed blessed. St. Mary's is surely one of them.

Thinking of you, Mom.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

An Altar in the World

This weekend we finished the last session the community held discussing the marvelous book by Barbara Brown Taylor, An Altar in the World: a geography of faith. Our formation committee organized the discussion gatherings during Advent and Lent--each around one or two chapters that all Sisters read. The sessions were creative times of discussion, artistic expressions, DVDs, writing and many other group activities that were all opportunities to share with each other. Barbara Brown Taylor is a marvelous writer and her topics resonated strongly with our experiences of church, spirituality and community living. Her last chapter on "Blessings" just blew us away! We'd love to get her here but right now she is teaching in a college/seminary, so her time for travel commitments is very limited.

The recent rains cleared on Sunday and the sun called us outdoors. We drove to Twenty Mile Creek, just across the PA/NY state line, and spent some time roaming on the beaches and the park that is there. A cool wind blew off of the lake, but the sun made the early spring day lovely as we found numerous groups of those hardiest of hardy spring blooms, daffodils, popping up everywhere.

The mouth of Twenty Mile Creek, where it empties in Lake Erie, appears to be about 30 feet wide right now. By mid summer we'll be able to walk across to the houses on the other side, as the creek flow lessens considerably and a rocky path will appear across it.

"Bat habitat" in a field. We have a couple bat experts in a local college and bat houses are common in our area!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

East Coast Road Trip

This week we have stolen a couple weeks into spring by traveling 150-175 miles south into northern Maryland which is a bit ahead of us in the coming of spring time span. The gathering of LCWR Region 4 members brought us a very fine day with the incoming president of LCWR and her presentation on "isms"--primarily racism and nationalism. She is Mexican by birth, with degrees from places such as Yale! Mix those with a great sense of humor and you have an educational, reflective and enjoyable time exploring some of the changing realities of the United States and our place and call as women religious within the country and with the people of God.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Springtime is time for...

A few months ago I read a short "tip" in a magazine about a new way to organize T-shirts. Since I have quite a number of such I read this supposed tip and tried it. Much to my surprise and delight, I humbly admit, it was great and has not only helped my where-is-that-t-shirt dilemma, but I transferred its ideas to turtlenecks and sweaters! I was equally surprised to learn that this tip was from an entire book of such, titled The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing.

I discovered the book when one of our sisters reviewed it for our What Sisters/Oblates Read section of our website.

If you live with a little more clutter than you really want or if you are a slightly obsessive organizer already or if you're just curious about such a title, read Sister Linda's review here and see if your curiosity sends you to your local library or to BTW the book rank's #10 on their book list of over 300,000 titles!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Finally.....after 78" of s_ _ _. It's coming.

In a private little corner, tucked into the back of the Mount--look what appeared this week, even on a 30 degree day! 

Here's another perspective on this hidden-away secret garden that isn't even very apparent for those walking on the sidewalk near the Sun Room. The reason for its success? It's sheltered and it gets 6-7 hours of sun a day.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Every Lent

You've probably either heard us live or heard us on one of the audios on our webpage. So to answer your unspoken question, Are the handbells fun to play? Yes, they are not only great fun, but being part of the handbell choir improves everything about music for the players: reading music, counting and, especially, playing as a group and all the coordination and awareness that is needed for the performances.

We have about 45-50 handbells, I'd say, and once a year they get a much-needed shining. The accumulated oxidation and finger smudges come off and they really just glisten!

This year I cajoled one of our photographers to use a little creativity and try to capture a newly shined group of them into some sort of photo. I didn't help much I fear and we didn't have time to set up a proper venue, but I think the basic idea is here AND if we ever have the chance to really set them up somewhere, somehow, and experiment a little I think we could get a couple unique and special photos. Maybe some day!

Photo: Jo Clarke

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

March 15th

March 15 may be the Ides of March for many, but for Benedictine women it is special for another reason: as the death anniversary of Mother Benedicta Riepp, of Eichstatt, Germany, credited as being the first Benedictine woman to come to the USA. She arrived in 1852 in St. Marys, PA, a small German-based town even today, located about 100 miles southeast of Erie. In the next few years she settled a group of sisters in Erie and then continued west.

She only lived 10 years in America before her young death, but in that time she laid the groundwork for the majority of women's communities of monastic Benedictine women in the states today. Here is a very fine 3-minute video produced by the Sisters in Minnesota, the community in which she finally settled and the site of her grave today.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

pi day

I taught high school mathematics for twenty-five years. Crazy to lots of you for sure, but I loved it. At that time I did a lot with π, as it appears throughout geometry and trig and calculus in abundance. But there wasn't a "π day" as there is now! Every March 14 nowadays is celebrated in American schools as "Pi Day" and the mathematics teachers pull out all their creative strings in celebration of this most interesting and yet mysterious number. will tell you everything about March 14th, as 3.14 are the first three digits of the unending irrational number π. Wikipedia will tell you even more, including the current memorization Guinness World Record of 70,000 decimal places, which took an Indian man 9+ hours to recite!

This year one of our sisters, who is celebrating the day in her school, offered me a pi long sleeve T-shirt. I can't wait to wear it this week! WOW, I do love pi and pie, too.

Do give one of these websites at least a minute of your time. You might find out that you're not really "dumb in math" (the common self-analysis I hear all the time) after all!

P.S. Besides math, I also love word play and here's one that is at the top of any list: Cough, rough, though, through--why don't these words rhyme, but for some god-forsaken reason, pony and bologna do?!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Historic maple tree becomes a giving tree.

A large, old beautiful maple tree that lived in the backyard on East 9th St. had to come down last week. It is at the site of our original motherhouse which now has one remaining 4-story building which houses a small living group of sisters, offices for some of our ministries and St. Benedict Child Development Center. It provided shade and four-seasons beauty for those children and for everyone who knows the playground, backyard grounds of SBEC and "345," as we call the building.

Sister Audrey, our wood turner, caught the tree service company in time to ask them to save her a number of "chunks" of the major trunks, which she says will make gorgeous maple wood pieces that she can fashion for gifts and for sale in our gift shop, Chapter 57.

Thank you to our E. 9th Street maple tree for decades of beauty and shade. It will continue to give of itself in Audrey's workshop.

The playground was fashioned around the tree!

A crane to get to the very top.

The largest "branches" were huge in diameter.

Hauling logs, chipping and saving pieces were the three options.

Marking this holy ground.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Paraprosdokians-part 2

10. In filling out an application, where it says, "In case of emergency, notify...." I wrote: "A doctor."

11. Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they're sexy.

12. You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.

13. I used to be indecisive, but now I'm not so sure.

14. To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.

15. Going to church doesn't make you a Christian, any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

16. You're never too old to learn something stupid.

17. I'm supposed to respect my elders, but it's getting harder and harder for me to find one now.

For updates on our BWSC volunteer, check out her February and March blog entries here.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Paraprosdokians-part 1

Paraprosdokians are figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected and is frequently humorous. (Winston Churchill loved them.)

1. Where there's a will, I want to be in it.

2. I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.

3. Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

4. If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.

5. We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.

6. War does not determine who is right, only who is left.

7. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

8. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism, to steal from many is research.

9. The last thing I want to do is hurt you, but it's still on my list.

February 28, 2017

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Wild & wonderful February

February 24th in our town: the average high is 37 degrees. The record high was in 1906, 67 degrees....until 2017, when the record was not only broken, it was smashed----77 degrees. Everyone who lives in a cold wintry climate knows what this does to a people: we go crazy! Teenagers and college students are seen wearing shorts; kids are riding on dusty bicycles; and Moms and Dads are pushing babies in strollers down the streets---in other words, we act like spring has arrived.

But, the truth is that it is just a gigantic tease. Spring is a month away on the calendar and more like 5-8 weeks away in reality.

Sure enough, February 25th the afternoon temperature dropped 40 degrees; clothing returned to sweats and corduroys; sleds and boots came back out; Moms and Dads were driving their cars and everyone was just shaking their heads (but with a slight smile and dreamy look about them: "Was it real?")

Hang in there: the "febs" are almost over; Lent and Easter are just about here; Can daffodils and crocuses be far behind?

February 24, 2017

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Mexico to the USA and home again

Tuesday Jessica returned to Mexico and we all miss her terribly already! Jessica is a 25 year-old oblate from the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico who came to live with us last August and stayed six months, improving her English, joining into every facet of our life through the Benedicta Riepp program, and endearing herself to all.

Jessica was the latest in a list that began January 2, 2001 which now includes 17 women who have been a part of this program named for the first Benedictine sister to come to the USA--Benedicta Riepp from the Bavaria region of southern Germany.

Since the first women began the program we have shared our ministries, prayer and community life with: Pat, Kathy R, Kathy H, Barbara, Jean, Christine, Judith, Claire, Maryann, Janice, Alyssa, Carrie, Glory, Susan, Kylie, Joanne and Jessica. All of them were just lovely and entered fully into their "monastic experience." However, when we were planning all of this out, we forgot one thing: they would have to go home! And, that would happen after we had formed bonds of friendship that couldn't be suddenly laid aside on moving-home day!

Yet, we would surely all agree that the "missing" is far outweighed by the joys and sharing that we had with them when they were here. Thank you, Jessica, and thank you to all of the other Benedicta Riepp participants (Rieppers, as we call them) for giving so much of yourselves and for making our monastic life fuller and richer because of your presence.

Here's a link to an "Ode to Jessica" by one of our other 20-somethings---which they even call themselves now, but they roll their eyes, too!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Coming of "fog"

To paraphrase Carl Sandburg's famous poem "Fog," this weekend the whisperings "on little cat feet" began to be heard throughout the Mount that Lent is coming soon. But I, for one, was not interested in this "gossip." Not that I dislike Lent, in fact I like it very much--with its special music, rich psalmody and once-a-year tenor.

My interests this weekend were on the record high for the date, 70 degrees on Saturday and near record 55 Sunday. Both of these took place with the slow return of the s-u-n. So much so that I was able to drive to work Friday for the very first time in a long time without turning on the headlights! Alleluia! (whoops, Lent is coming, did you know!)

The appearance of strong sunlight bring this sight back every morning:

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Thirty days

Every school, club, sport team, family and even work places have rituals and traditions. Hopefully, if they are sincere and faithful to them, these times become an important part of the life of the group.

Being Benedictines, forerunners in liturgical movements since the Middle Ages, our rituals and traditions are a rich and significant part of our community life. Here's a very small but much-treasured one that we have. It only lasts a month at a time, so if you're not here or you're here but don't notice it, it could go right past you. But, for us, it marks a very special time.

For the first month after one of our sisters passes away we place a small, round table right at the entrance to our chapel space. On the table is a candle that is lit during every prayer time. An acrylic frame holds a sheet on which we read the words:

This candle burns
for thirty days
in memory
of our sister
who shared her life
with us
in community
until her death
May peace eternal be hers!

This one has about 5-6 days to go and has been a beautiful reminder for me and many others, I'm sure, of the life of Sr. Maureen who died in January. One sister has kept a vase of fresh flowers on the table, too. (Where she finds these in the middle of an Erie winter is a mystery to me!)

I think after the 30 days I will steal away the little table, along with the candle, frame and vase for fresh flowers and place them in my room for the next 30 days---no, I think 300 days.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Building a better world

Having loved enough and lost enough,
I'm no longer searching,
just opening.

No longer trying to make sense of the pain
but trying to be a soft and sturdy home
to which real things land.

These are the irritations
that rub into a pearl.

So we can talk for a while
but then we must listen,
the way rocks listen to the sea.

And we can churn at all that goes wrong
but then we must lay all distractions
down and water every living seed.

And yes, on nights like tonight
I too feel alone. But seldom do I
face it squarely enough
to see that it's a door
into the endless breath
that has no breather,
into the surf that human
shells call God.

"Yes, we can talk" by Mark Nepo

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Sci-fi lives on

I enjoy the sci-fi genre of books and movies. Not the fighting, war types, more the ones with advanced ideas or experiences that are beyond our current life. Just like in today's world the most common theme is "good vs evil," with good taking a beating, but coming through in the end.
My latest sci-fi fix is from the Netflix series Travelers. People from
the future return and take up in the bodies of people who are dying and continue with their life while working together "to save the world." (Another common theme). The team that we meet are: left to right, a young mother and abused wife of a police officer, an FBI agent, a teenage football star, an autistic library aide and a heroin addict. At least those are the bodies they must live in.
There's only been one season so far, twelve episodes..but I'm hooked!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Immigrants-refugees welcome

From Sunday's reading: "Share your bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and the homeless; clothe the naked..and do not turn your back on your own....If you remove from your midst oppression, false accusation and malicious speech; if you bestow your bread on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted; then light shall rise for you in the darkness..." The book of the Prophet Isaiah, chapter 58.

My great-grandparents were from France, Ireland and Germany. How about yours?

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Two important events

Two important events, though often low keyed and in the background, will occur in the next two days for our community.

After 17 years of Take Back the Site prayer vigils at the site of every homicide in Erie, we will have #100 for the Dec 31st death of yet another young man through gun violence. It will be held Thursday at 5:15 pm on Rte 20/Buffalo Rd. one block west of the  intersection with Franklin Avenue.

Friday, we will hold our monthly First Friday prayer for equal rights and acceptance for immigrants. They were held at 2nd and State for a long time but are now at 6th and State in front of the Federal Building---12:15-12:45 pm.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Three years ago

In December 2013 I posted a photo of a red-tailed hawk that had landed on the fire escape outside the 4th floor hall window where I minister in the a.m. --which happens to be the last remaining piece of the original motherhouse on E. 9th Street in Erie. It was quite a sight.

Last Friday, near the end of the morning, as I was packing up to come home to get ready for the funeral of a sister who had ministered on 4th floor for over 25 years, lo and behold, what should appear on that same fire escape, at that same window--a red-tailed hawk. The same one? Why today? Native Americans have wonderful legends of the natural world's interactions at times of death. Hmmmmmm...Beautiful thoughts.

Here's the hawk--January 27, 2017

And here's another unusual "natural" event--a row boat has been pushed by the waves right up onto our shore. Notice that it is completely filled with sand!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

I knelt in the dark

Eleven years this month. That's how long I worked every morning, Monday through Friday, with our Sister Maureen. And in that time I came to know her and truly appreciate and care for her. If I HAD to name just one characteristic that rose to the top for me, I guess it would be constancy--faithfulness--presence. She was a lovely woman, who died too quickly. Now we are headed into a three-day celebration of that wonderful life and what it brought to ours. If you haven't read about her yet, you can do so here. She will be greatly missed.

Mary Oliver's dog, Percy, helped her get through the death of a dear friend.

Percy (Four)

I went to church.
I walked on the beach
I played with Percy.

I answered the phone
I paid the bills.
I did the laundry.

I spoke her name
a hundred times.

I knelt in the dark
and said some holy words.

I went downstairs,
I watered the flowers,
I fed Percy.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Erie Womens' March

Even in Erie, 2,500-3,000 came out Saturday afternoon on a quirky, sunny, 68 degree January afternoon to join the millions around the country and world showing their concern for the philosophy and remarks by the new USA president, this administration and his supporters. It was the largest rally for a cause that any of us could remember in Erie. There were many men in the crowd and many people who brought their young children. The signs, similar to news reports from Washington, were varied and very creative!

From the marvelous homily of our Sunday preacher this week (my paraphrasing, except for the last two words): If you don't know what to do in the face of the present political realities in the country and the world, all we have to do is remember the words of Jesus: Follow me.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Becoming Wise

Krista Tippett's new book, Becoming Wise: an inquiry into the mystery and art of living is a huge best-seller. (In the top 1% of books sold on I've read so much about it and read so many excerpts and snippets from it I feel like I've read it, but I haven't. The recent edition of "The Occasional Papers," a seasonal publication of the LCWR for its member leaders of Catholic sisters' communities, carries an interview of Krista.

At the end of the Q & A, which is primarily about the ideas that come through in her book, she is asked about her thoughts on the changes going on for Catholic sisters and their communities in the US. Here is part of her answer:"I see what is happening among the Benedictines (monks) in Collegeville (Minnesota) where I spent time. This is a community that is much smaller than when I first met them, but at the same time they provide a place of quiet that a growing number of people are looking for. One of the most fundamental parts of your life is becoming irresistible and necessary for the sustenance of ordinary people who may not have any religious or spiritual life. Who knows where this is going to go or how to foster it, but it's one of the most interesting things happening. There is an important calling that was once more hidden within your larger calling of service that once seemed more relevant."

"Becoming irresistible," I never thought of it that way, but if getting to know, choose and manifest the following of the life of Jesus in the Gospels comes through in all that we do, especially as a community, maybe we someday could be "irresistible"!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Under the snow

Our winters are a continual snow cover followed by complete melting, followed by snow cover and then complete melting. Over and over and over.

So, although the first half of January brought us 20 inches of the white stuff, it is now all gone, thanks to 3-4 days with temps in the 40s and 50s. The ice on the bay has melted considerably, ditto the ice dunes along the lake shore. We were also able to walk through the paths in the woods for the first time in quite a while. Look what I found on some snowless tree stumps by hermitage #1.

Here's a look at our own lake front. The ice/sand dunes are still there, but totally over the beach. The water is clear.