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!