Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Humdrum and ho hum

One of my favorite authors had the July 30th reflection in "Give Us This Day" the daily booklet we all have. Here's an excerpt of what Barbara Brown Taylor wrote: "Heaven is the Humdrum and the Ho-Hum"

"If the kingdom of heaven is hidden in this world, it is hidden really well, and only the most dedicated detectives among us stand a chance of finding it at all. Unless, of course, God has resorted to the oldest trick in the book and hidden it in plain view. There is always that possibility, you know--that God decided to hide the kingdom of heaven not in any of the extraordinary places that treasure hunters would be sure to check, but in the last place that any of us would think to look, namely, in the ordinary circumstances of our everyday lives: like a silver spoon in the drawer with the stainless, like a diamond necklace on the bureau with the rhinestones; the extraordinary hidden in the ordinary, the kingdom of heaven all mixed in with the humdrum and ho-hum of our days."

If she is new to you, do give her a try. I'm sure her dozen or so books are in your local library or on sale somewhere!

Sunday, July 28, 2019


Our Sunday presider put a spin on the Genesis reading for this weekend's Mass that I had never heard or thought of before. We had just had a reading about the city of Sodom and a dialogue between God and Abram on what it would take for God to spare the city from destruction. Would God save the city for the presence of righteous people? Our presider pointed out that the "sin" of the city of Sodom had nothing to do with the standard view that it had something to do with sex. The sin of the people of Sodom was a lack of communal hospitality.

A shiver went through me as I thought, are we (the United States) guilty of that right now, in our time? I believe we are.

In another, more successful, vein of hospitality, however, was the celebratory weekend we had for this year's 50 and 25 year jubilarians. The weather cooperated, family and friends arrived and it was a wonderful time together....prayer, food, camaraderie and just great overall. This is certainly one of the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle of building community--experiencing events together that bring out special memories and moments of the life that, in turn, add to the "glue" that helps and keeps the community what it is and what it hopes to be....and what it hopes to bring to the world.

We are blessed.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Surprises all around us

We have a bird/nature-whisperer in town. Of course with an official bird sanctuary and migration route in Erie we have quite a few of them, I'm sure. But our friend told us that when we drive around the outskirts of Erie, especially on Presque Isle State Park, we should turn off the radio, open the windows and just listen. We'll discover a whole natural world of wonders.

Following her encouragement to just listen and look at the world around us, here are two "sights" we caught this week, one going into Erie and the other coming home.

The way into work right after a quick morning rain shower brought this
pretty rainbow over the city, right in front of everyone
driving east to west at 7:30 a.m.

This very lovely natural arrangement is in an inconspicuous place
on the edge of one of our parking lots. No one would give it a second look,
but it caught my eye as I was driving in. Thanks nature-whisperer!

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Walking for Peace

This week I finally was free for a Silent Peace Walk. I'd been unable to attend the last two or three because of other commitments. This was a nice one to be at because many of the Institute attendees were able to come and it was held right on the ridge overlooking the bay. Beautiful scenery.

Unfortunately we'll be gathering again soon for similar initiatives--nonviolence. We have had three young (20-ish) men killed in Erie over the last two weeks--killed by other young men. Six lives "lost" and six families suffering.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The world

comes through our front door. It really does!

This week the second Joan Chittister Institute for Contemporary Spirituality is being held at the Mount and it has brought 27 of the greatest gals together to learn, share and experience some time with Joan's works and to live and pray with our community.

They come from 13 different states: California, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont and Washington, DC. WOW! We are so blessed to have "the world come past our front door."

And it's the week the yellow day lilies bloomed all around the chapel.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Summer nights (and days)

We're continuing to work our way through the summer music scene here in Erie
and in the little towns surrounding the city. Once again we were in the vineyards
 (think the nearby Welch's grape factory) and caught our #1 favorite local band:
 Tennessee Back Porch. What an event...and such a huge crowd.
The music? Out of this world great. 

Since the nightly concerts go till 9:00 we get a glorious
setting sun in the sky just as the concert is ending.
This sunset was in between the trees.

But the hands down shot of the week is this one taken by one of our oblates
who caught one of our twin fawn in mid gallop/jump.
I have seen 100s of photographs of our deer but this is #1 by far.
We are getting treated to a daily exhibit of their running and jumping skills.
Darling, just darling.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Easter flowers

Here's a very sweet picture from our inner courtyard this week.
The blooming yellow flowers provide a pretty addition to our hummingbird 
and oriole feeders, which get emptied every few days, by the way.

The story of Easter flowers. Every Easter our liturgist is very generous in
giving away the flowers and greenery that we have in the chapel during the Easter season.
I have never had good luck planting them and getting them to "re-bloom" or come back 
the next summer. exception to that rule are these white Easter lilies. 
They are great at reappearing,  note that their natural appearance comes in July!
 They aren't as tall as they were when we first got them, but they are just as pretty.

We have four climbing plants and they bloom in order,
which was an accident, but a really nice one.
This is #2, pink star-like flowers. Number 1 is really early in June and
 #3 (purple) and #4 (white stars) are in August and September.

A little aside to anyone attending church this Sunday. The first reading from Deuteronomy is just beautiful. If you catch it, it's short and will pass quickly, I think you'll agree.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Summer music

Our first outdoor concert of the season: Sam Hyman at Arundel (Air'-un-dell) Winery just outside of North East, PA. Erie's own James Taylor...wonderful music!

And a Norman Rockwell-ish Americana....freight trains going through the grape vineyards! Eight in the 2 hours we were there. Tom Luckey would have been thrilled.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Our Morning Praise

One verse of our morning hymn "How Beautiful, Our Spacious Skies":
(adapted from "America the Beautiful" by Katherine Lee Bates, 1893)

"Indigenous and immigrant, our daughters and our sons;
O may we never rest content till all are truly one.
America! America! God grant that we may be,
a nation blessed with none oppressed, true land of liberty."