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!