Sunday, December 29, 2019

Dec. 26-29

The four days Dec. 26-29 are really wonderful times for people that pray, formally, a couple of times a day such as we do! Four feasts make them really very, very nice: special prayers, hymns and blessings. St. Stephen, first martyr; St. John, the Apostle; the Holy Innocents, slain baby boys when Herod went on a rampage to get rid of the "newborn king of the Jews," and the Feast of the Holy Family....which was highlighted by a great homily on the evolving and growing definition of "family" and how the Church is slowly getting its head together about that reality.

Additionally, during these days we had seven sisters from a missionary order in Toronto, here for some retreat days. We saw them at every prayer period and at meals. They were lovely and, I think, had a very nice 3-4 days in our guest quarters.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Christmas 2019

Seven-mile creek, open and flowing strongly
in our 50 degree weather!

Our beach (about 10' of sand) and lakefront.
Water was very, very calm.

At sunset Christmas evening.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Very special days

Saturday the 21st was a special day on its own--made more special within our community.

On its own it was the date of the Winter Solstice for 2019--the shortest day of the year, but also the beginning of the return of light that will grow throughout the next three months until Spring arrives. For those of us who celebrate the O Antiphons, it was the fifth day: "O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: Come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death." Fitting for the solstice.

In our community it became a very special, a very blessed day for all of us as we accompanied two of our sisters into Eternal Life. Sister Mary Bernard, 90, entered new life at 9:30 a.m. and Sister Dorothy Szczypinski, 88, entered her new life at 9:30 p.m. In both cases the sisters had been experiencing failing health and were at peace with the next phase of their journey. The community was present with them throughout the last three days and recited and sang our ritual prayers at the time of death. You can read their beautiful obituaries and prayer cards here.

Our Christmas decorations "erupted" this weekend. As we've converted to LED lighting for our large tree in the inner courtyard this year, I wanted to use the old lights for something as long as they still worked. Here you see them drizzled over our azalea bushes along the windows of the cloister walk between the chapel and dining room. Sister Veronica would be so thrilled to have them on either side of her beloved Mary statue!

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Schizophrenia? Coming along well.

Neighbors celebrating Advent and Christmas simultaneously!

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Pink, patience and pizzelles

If you were visiting us this weekend....which from the size of the crowd at Sunday's liturgy included a lot of would have seen lots of pink (for Gaudete Sunday--the third Sunday of Advent), been challenged to work on your patience during this holiday season (as the second Reading in the Mass was on this virtue..not exactly one that is heard too much about in our society these days) and you would smell the Christmas holiday scents of both vanilla and anise pizzelles (as one of our part-Italian Sisters got out her mother's pizzelle irons and recipes and organized her annual pizzelle extravaganza). Many of our newest members came out to see yet another of our holiday  community "traditions": pizzelle night.

Having been faithful to the celebration of Advent while minimizing Christmas decorations, this week we both continue the Advent days but the decorations will slowly, slowly seep out. I saw a Christmas elf on a door handle this morning and a jingle bell wreathe in an office. This week we are schizophrenic.

photographer-postulant Jen Frazer

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Our Lady of the Snows!?

Today, December 12, we celebrate the beautiful feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Right outside of Mexico City. Never to be confused with Our Lady of the Snows...which is located right outside of Erie, PA.

Our new feeding station this year. The inner courtyard
where everyone can see the winter birds feeding.

Seed is safely inside. No critters, allowed.
Notice that it doubles as a snow measurer.

My so far unsuccessful attempt to offer water in the winter.
It keeps freezing over!

Sunday, December 8, 2019

The prophet Isaiah.

The Isaiah readings that fill our Advent days speak so eloquently of God's loving care for us, God's ever presence with us and a multitude of imageries of God's relationship with the people.

It has brought to mind one of my favorite sayings--which, by the way, is on a plaque placed among the trees in our woods by a guest in our hermitages. Here it is. It is written in English, but I kind of like the Latin: "Vocatus atque non vocatus Deus aderit.

I read that Carl Jung had it carved in Latin over the front door of his house. And he was a psychoanalyst-----nice!

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

No snow--this time!

Day after day last week we watched the evening news start off with reports on the early, yet major, snow storms that were battering the West, Midwest and finally, this past weekend, New England and the east coast. For an area that averages nearly 100" of snow a season, the awareness that we were having no snow at all during this time was shocking. Oh, we'll certainly get ours--there's no doubt about it, but if it's not coming from Canada, sweeping over the three Great Lakes that are west of us---it really isn't that unusual that the storms that travel up the east coast, don't reach us, here on the other side of the Allegheny Mountains.

Here's what we found on a quick trip around Presque Isle State park, while others were shoveling out or waiting endlessly in airports.

I think some of these ducks, and certainly many Canada geese,
winter here and seem to be able to find enough open water.

Duck hunting and deer hunting are going on at this time.

I just couldn't resist a follow up from Monday's blog--the wonders of YouTube. Here's the 1950s cartoon of "Here Comes Susie Snowflake." It really wasn't a Christmas show at all. It was more like a PSA interlude between shows, as it was only 2 minutes long.

Or if you prefer, here's Rosemary Clooney's version. She's the one who really made it a Christmas song. Trivia: Rosemary was married to the actor/director Jose Ferrer and the mother of the late actor Miguel Ferrar who played Owen Granger on NCIS Los Angeles.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Frosty the Snowman turns 50

I should be writing about our chapel, which is beautiful in its Advent environment or about the hymns in our special Advent booklet that we started today: 57 in total, or about the special prayers and poetic, prophetic readings we had both at the vigil Saturday night and all day Sunday. You'll read plenty enough about them during the next 3+ weeks, both here, on other blogs and on our community website.

Instead, here's what really caught my eye in our Sunday paper: "Find when Rudolph, Frosty, Charlie Brown, others airs," a December 1-31 schedule of the traditional holiday shows that run only in December. "A Charlie Brown Christmas" is this Thursday...that would be my #1. How can we ever forget Linus's recitation of the Christmas story. (Even honored on a USPS stamp.)

Others I'd love to catch: "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Happy New Year, Charlie Brown," and "Dick Clark's Primetime New Year's Rockin' Eve." (Really? you're kidding! Is Dick Clark still on?! No, he can't be...but maybe he's channeled through Ryan Seacrest.)

I'm going to post this list for all the sisters to enjoy...if I can tear them away from the month-long Hallmark Channel Christmas movies they all love! But I have just one question, if after 50 years they are still showing "Frosty the Snowman" why not also show "Here Comes Susie Snowflake" all-time favorite---of course!