Sunday, September 29, 2019

The Time of Harvest

A lovely early fall-like day made Sunday absolutely perfect for the annual Emmaus Harvest. These fertile grounds once again produced a large amount of produce for the faithful gardeners who planted and tended them all summer. Friends, supporters and guests mingled outside of the food pantry and roamed the remnants of this summer's gardens hoping to catch a peek at any leftovers. Here's what I found:

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Autumn comes

Thanks for the beautiful Morning Praise Monday courtesy of our prayer leader.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Retro blogs

On our community website we have a section of "Sister blogs." And according to the statistics we receive, they get a fair number of hits each week. But when it comes to the members of our community themselves, the number one blogs they read are posted on doors. Yes, doors, I said--two office doors in our administrative hallway.

One is a once or twice a week posting of an inspirational thought about the Sunday scriptures or something about a special feast day or even occasionally about a civic holiday. The quote and the accompanying full-color illustration/picture are beautiful and they attract a steady line of viewers on their way to a meal, the elevator or just down the hall for business. I have written about this "door blog" before.

A few months ago, on the other side of the hall, a second "door blog" appeared. This one was an instant hit and has rivaled its neighbor in attention and readers. This one is humorous. Witty in word play, humorous photos and just plain fun. She "posts" 5-6 of these at a time and everyone quickly has their favorite of the week. As in, "Did you see the one with the cat? It's so funny."

Here are a couple of the most recent from our latest blogger. Hope you enjoy them.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Photos tell the tale

We're hanging onto summer for dear life. Most flowers are gone,
replaced by ever-ripening grapes vineyards throughout the county.
You have to get up close and peek underneath the leaves, but it's worth the view.

These cosmos are just about the last flowers we have.
Well worth the wait, I'd say.
Wispy and very showy--when there's no competition..

Sunday, September 15, 2019

A sad milestone

This week we held our 125th Take Back the Site prayer vigil, reclaiming for nonviolence a place in our city that was the site of a recent homicide.

Since November 1999 we have been sponsoring these and if you have attended a number of them, as most of us have, there are repetitions in the stories and circumstances that are all too familiar. That's why this latest one stands out--it was very unique from all the others.

Quoting from the Words of Comfort, written and read by one of our sisters, "Michael (who was 23) was from Michigan, visiting Erie briefly. No one seems to have a clear idea of why he was here or for how long. Someone somewhere is mourning his loss but for most of us, he was a stranger to our city--no obituary to read or guest book to sign in our local newspaper, no calling hours in a local funeral parlor, no family or neighbors to come forward to acknowledge his loss and be comforted by our care."

Once again a group gathered along a busy street and mourned the loss of a human life in our city. Over the years we have had multiple homicides in the same families and have lost many, many young men. Commonly the venues are disputes on the streets outside business establishments, often fueled by anger and alcohol or another drug. But Michael's case was special and although there were no family or friends present, the sadness was the same, the prayers as sincere, and the mourning deeply touching each soul. Rest in peace, Michael.

The day after a heavy rainstorm with fierce winds passing through our region,
our neighbors congregated under two oak trees and feasted on the acorns
that were all along the smaller tree limbs that fell during the windstorm. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2019


Afghanistan has been back in the news lately and that has made me listen to the song, "Far Afghanistan," sung by James Taylor. It has a haunting melody and lyrics so I wanted to share it with you, as I did this week with a friend. The line that most affected her was, "If he makes it home alive, they teach him how to fight" and for me it was, "But nothing could prepare me for the beauty of the place." It should give you pause for thought, I'm sure. Beautiful, sad, haunting all wrapped up as one.

Many years ago the Erie Times News reported that there had been a sighting of an albino deer on our peninsula, aka Presque Isle State Park. My friend Nancy and I often took rides around the peninsula and sure enough one weekend afternoon we saw it in a field with other deer. It wasn't totally white, more of a very, very light tan, but certainly albino-ish! Flash forward decades and our kitchen/food service manager shared this photo of an albino deer that is living near them, south of the city. Amazing!

Sunday, September 8, 2019


This week's guest list showed some unusual names--three priests--from the Pittsburgh area, I think.

It's not that we don't have priests come as guests--often we have Benedictine men for meetings or hospitality if they are passing through on the way to the east coast or from the east coast on the way home. And we occasionally have one of our own diocesan priests or local ministers for a day of quiet or R&R. But we hardly ever have priests, just for no specific reason show up on the list. The story I've heard from the sisters who have chatted with them is that they were on their way to the Outer Banks off the coast of North Carolina and had to cancel (Dorian!). One of them had been here in the past for some retreat time and remembered our place, Presque Isle State Park, etc.

They seem to be having a good time. I saw a couple riding bikes and I heard they already made it to Presque Isle. Today all three were at our not-like-a-parish Sunday liturgy and were singing and seemed to get into the spirit of it just like everyone else!

Glad they remembered us and hope they've enjoyed our hospitality and our warm late summer weather and local attractions!

The last of our four trellised climbers,

Wednesday, September 4, 2019


We Erieites do not define ourselves by our winters!

Our self-definition is through all four glorious seasons....and here is my first (and only) sail boat trip of the summer season...on beautiful Presque Isle Bay. Fourteen of us enjoyed the generosity of a community friend for an hour and a half sail last evening---WOW!

Lots of sailboats out for their weekly races on the bay.

The sunset shining over and through the trees on the peninsula.

The Brig Niagara in its home berth behind the library.

We had a ball !!

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Aptly named

Vacation days are over and we arrived home after an eight+ hour drive across Pennsylvania. If one ever had a doubt that Penn's Woods was an appropriate name for our state, all you'd have to do is drive right across the middle of the state from near the New Jersey border to near the Ohio border, along Rte 80 (as we did) and you'd know why it is the perfect name.

Every hill, valley, small town and countryside is a Currier & Ives/Grandma Moses vista of beauty. Every time Rte 80 makes a considerable turn, you come out of the turn into a breathtaking view. Here at the end of August the fields and grasses are lush, the trees line the highway for miles and are as thick as can be and late summer flowers, crops, farms and farmlands are everywhere and stunning to behold. One gorgeous scene follows another, mile after mile after mile. (Our neighbors New York State and Ohio have much the same, too!)

And, since the Labor Day Weekend traffic must be at its least on Sunday, we practically had the road to ourselves. The absence of trucks was very noticeable and the only time we encountered anything that could even be considered to be "mildly heavy traffic" was when we turned onto I-90, 15 miles from home!

Home sweet home--and look what was awaiting me when I got there: