Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Winter party

A good time was had by all...lots of laughs and fun "family" time together celebrating Prioress Anne's 65th! Note the summer, beach, "Down the Shore" theme--great morale booster for all of us in the snowy, wintry northeast!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

January "thaw"

January "thaw" is a kind of misnomer. The temperatures may get into the 50s, as they did this weekend and we can see grass and bushes again, but nothing is really singing "spring" yet! I took a walk around our grounds, including all the way down to the lake and, although I wish otherwise, this is just a temporary break....more winter is surely to come. Now if it was March 28th...that would be a different song to be sung!

Here is St. Scholastica (abbess, as the crozier attests) with her faithful ceramic bunny that someone added to the scene.

These two photos show the breakup of the ice right at the shoreline of Lake Erie on our property. There is such a large, large expanse and it really looks c-o-l-d!

PS. We had a lovely ceremony this weekend at Evening Praise. Our resident postulant became a novice and began her year of novitiate study and full immersion into the community. Her three sisters from out of town came for the short but meaningful event and with another sister who is already a member of the community, it brings to five the pairs of blood sisters we now have. Sr. Jean Lavin, who passed away last week, was one of a sixth pair, as she and her sister died just 11 months apart.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Life well-lived

The rituals that we hold for our sisters when they die are simple, elegant, poignant and beautiful.

This week's for Sister Jean Lavin were as personal and memorable as ever. When you read her obit, here, you can easily see that she had three distinct "ministerial lives": musician, teacher, spiritual guide. What a talent and what a dedicated woman! The memory service for our sisters is perhaps my favorite of all the rites we hold. Because I learn, through stories and anecdotes about the sisters whom I only knew in their last years. A close second to the memory service, however, is the "display" that one of our talented members puts together for family, community members and friends to help them "remember."

Here are two photos of just part of Sister Jean's display. If you click on them they will enlarge and with a sharp eye, and a magnifying glass, yes, you may see Ed Sullivan--TV personality and host from the 1950s-60s. And the nun in the original habit? Herself, having just directed a chorus of Erie OSBs on his show. What a life!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Ice floes

Floe: a large mass of floating ice

For the non-water people among us, those large flat snow-covered things in this photo are not rocks--they're the ice floes!


Milder temps and even sun (!) enabled us to take a long walk outdoors this weekend--along Seven-Mile Creek itself and all around our 120 acres. With the heavy snows and below freezing temperatures, walks outside have been few and far between--ones along the creek path non-existent--for the past 6 weeks.

Of course we saw scores of animal tracks and with our occasional sightings assure us that our deer are out and about 24-7 no matter the season. The big surprise though were the ice floes. I had heard that the creek was no longer ice-covered and was flowing strongly but I didn't connect that to the presence of the huge slabs of ice that I'm used to seeing in late February or early March. But, there they were, all along the sides of the creek--at least 6" thick and large---one of nature's water mysteries. That flowing water can break and then lift these huge masses of ice so that they land along the side of a river is miraculous! Mother Nature's amazements.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

There are blogs and there are blogs

I have a friend who blogs on her office door!

We have a half dozen sisters who maintain their own blogs via the web, of course, but this one is not one of those. This "blog" usually consists of a color photo, graphic or design and a quotation, meditation or idea. The topics range from liturgical feasts and events to contemporary issues of the day.

We smile with her when we needle her about this "blog." She makes no secret of her (in)tolerance of the techie world: web sites, cell phones, emails, power points, etc.....and blogs. She much prefers "other worlds" I'm sure. But either way, her blog goes up two or three times a week and much as we all continue to be engrossed in our web/techie worlds, darned if we don't turn and read her "door blog" every day! Of course it helps that it's creative, beautiful, pertinent and.... worthy of being a real blog, too!

"Hail Mary full of grace, pray for us sinners...
NOW more than ever." 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Blessed days

This morning our Sunday Mass celebrant presented truly wonderful reflections on the readings--his underlying base being the beginning of Ordinary Time within the church year--and the blessing of such in our lives.

I often say to myself on Sundays, when thinking about a Monday blog entry, What would a visitor "see" if they were with us this weekend--in our ordinary community life? Here's today's answers:

* the request of our postulant to continue into the novitiate and the agreement of the community for such;
* a simple, yet deeply moving portrayal, by our three scholastics, of the first reading about the call of Samuel when he was just a boy serving in the temple;
* the end of a winter service week with eight Canisius students from Buffalo--fine young adults all;
* slight football mania as our many Pittsburgh Steelers fans (and followers of the other teams, too) watched the four playoff games in the NFL over the weekend;
* the sense of brief but significant relief on most of our faces as we experienced two days when the temperatures hit the 60s (yes, it was quite bizarre as there is still snow around, but it was a welcome spring tease--although somewhat surreal in the middle of January!)

Blessed Ordinary Days.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


January 11--today my Dad would be 99! And I always thought that he had the greatest digital birth date. You know all those hundreds of forms where you have to put in the month, day and year of your birth? Well, every time he had to, he put in great....and it would have been just as fun to put it in with the full year: 1-1-1-1-9-1-9.

So, here's to you Dad, a very cool guy with a very cool birth date: happy 99th on 1-1-1-1-8. Wish you were here!

We Shake With Joy

We shake with joy, we shake with grief.
What a time they have, these two
housed as they are in the same body.

Mary Oliver

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Always welcome: Ordinary Time

The Christmas season ends today and blessed "ordinary time" returns (for 4-5 weeks until an early Lent will interrupt it).

Today's Epiphany celebration was marvelous, complete with a heartfelt "Shepherds and Kings" that we wait all year to sing on this one day. Then, at the end of Mass we had "Go Tell It On the Mountain" with the congregation becoming part of the accompaniment with their clapping in time with our music. Great fun!

An eye-catching arrangement of icicles on our building.

A friend feeds the birds all winter courtesy of 6 bird feeders on her backyard trees. She has quite a number of cardinals as regular visitors. I was too far away--and shooting through a window--to get a good shot, but they were stunning against the snow.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Give Us This Day

I want to "plug" the marvelous daily prayer book--yes, that's what it would be called, but it's nothing like your childhood version--Give Us This Day. It's produced by the Benedictine publishing house Liturgical Press out in Minnesota and it's been adopted by scores of communities of religious and lay people because it is great!

If this peaks your interest go to and there's a place for a free sample.

What made me think of this plug is that since Christmas we have had a rash of saint's days to celebrate: Stephen, John, Holy Innocents, Basil, Gregory, not to forget the BIG ones: Mother of God, and still to come, the Epiphany and Baptism of Jesus. Give Us This Day does such a fine and contemporary presentation of saints, prayer, daily readings and the art work it includes.

I doubt that you could find something of this genre that's much better/more complete and more suited for "real" life!

P.S. Thanks to everyone for your kind thoughts, prayers and good wishes during our snow-extravaganza Dec. 24+, but to be truthful, we've gotten along pretty well: we're practiced, it was school vacation, and our local municipalities really work hard at clearing roads, helping stuck vehicles, housing street people, etc. Not that there weren't accidents and difficulties, but minimal I'd say. The ones that seem to need our prayers now are the east coast cities. When they get it, they really get hit. Hope they'll just stay home and help their neighbors in need. Good luck and prayerful remembrance to them.

Our chapel alcoves.