Light through Stained Glass Windows by Susan Doubet

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A lovely surprise

Sun, 2022-10-09 17:31

 


We've had a tree in chapel for the month preceding the Feast of St. Francis, October 4th. It wasn't the first time we've had a live oak tree in chapel, but it did bring another first for me. Over the last week or so the trees in our area have begun changing colors...even though it's earlier than average. And then, the last days of September I noticed that, sure enough, the leaves on the tree in chapel were changing color, too! 

I can't remember ever seeing such a thing, a tree changing color indoors. Perhaps it's not uncommon, but it is to me. So here's a picture of it on October 4th itself, right before its transfer and planting outside. Thanks to the Care of the Earth committee for such a creative idea. 

Here's some more "daily news," especially for those of you who know us well: this week the handbell choir and the monastery choir both started up their rehearsals after a 6-month of so hiatus--longer for the singing group. It's really nice to get these going again as they are both a very special part of our offerings for prayer and liturgies.

Secondly, although the Covid virus is still with us, it seems to have "morphed" into another phase, not just for us I'm sure, but for others, too, I suspect. Here and there one sister at a time will test positive, some have no symptoms at all, others tell us theirs are cold or flu-like. They isolate in their rooms for 5+ days and when they test negative they continue to be masked and eat alone for awhile. Those who had close contact with them also go into masks for a bit and get tested regularly, etc. Fortunately no one has had to be hospitalized and we even go through weeks with no cases at all. 

Boosters are again on the horizon this month for everyone! 

Good Reads

Sun, 2022-10-02 20:24

I am in the middle of a streak. A streak of coming upon good, good books. Back on April 17 I did a blog post on the book, A Psalm for the Wild-Built--a monk and robot book, by Becky Chambers. Good fantasy literature with underlying or obvious spirituality themes (see the Dune  series or even Tolkien's works) is one of my favorite genres. Over the last couple of weeks I finally read the sequel to the April book, Prayer for the Crown-Shy and, what is not always true for sequels, it was as good if not better than the first book. What a find!

                                     



Then, a friend gives me Elizabeth Trout's latest Lucy by the Sea. Here's another genre, stories of everyday people in everyday situations.  Anne Tyler and her wonderful writing of stories set usually in Baltimore, Maryland, stand out as favorites here. But this Elizabeth Trout, her two books on Olive Kitteridge, the first won the Pulitzer Prize, and now this one on Lucy are making me wonder if Tyler is really my favorite. What magnificent writers these two!



Nine years passes quickly

Sun, 2022-09-25 20:25

 In August at our summer community days we got together to take a Community Photo. We gathered in the chapel, arranged by height, and tried to show off our best smiles for the camera. This week the large print of this endeavor was hung in the administrative hall, at the south end near the community room (for those of you who know our layout). It replaces one that has hung there since 2013. You can imagine that there are lots of changes in 9 years! Stop by and see it when next you come.

click to enlarge

End of summer treat

Sun, 2022-09-18 21:11

 

Smiley's ice cream truck came by at noon Saturday for a delightful end-of-the-summer 

surprise for the community, courtesy of friends of one of our sisters.


Here's the board with all the selections and, after you've studied it for 10 minutes, 

you put in your order. Much to my surprise the owner, seen here, was a Villa student 

of mine years ago. They always seem to know me, but for me it's harder! 

Guess I'm closer to looking like my 40-year-old self than they are their 16-year-old self!



The queue for the Queen had nothing on us! It took one hour to serve the 40-50 sisters 

with a sundae or cone. Well worth the wait! 

The lost and found

Sun, 2022-09-11 21:16

This Sunday our presider presented a reflection on the Gospel that is worth my attempt to share. The reading brought three short parables of Jesus to us about the lost and the found. He started by musing on Lost and Found departments in many large institutions, public places and the awareness that the items "lost" end up taking up a greater and greater space, as not many of them are claimed/"found" by their owners.

These parables, however, bring us stories where the lost are also found.

The first would be seen as totally ludicrous, he said, if it was really understood as we understand it today. No shepherd in his right mind would leave a flock of 99 sheep to try and find just 1 lost one. Secondly we have a woman sweeping her house to find 1 coin, lost out of her 10. Much more realistic in a way because 1 out of 10 is more to lose than 1 out of 100, and that for women of the first century owning much money at all would have been unusual and therefore a real loss. In both cases, whether they make sense in their importance or not, the lost sheep and lost coin are found...amid great rejoicing.

Finally, the lost son, in the prodigal story that we know so well, is not really the son that left his father's house and returned repentant--the lost son is the elder son who cannot understand or accept his brother's "finding" nor his father's compassion and forgiveness. He is the one who is really lost at the end of the tale.

All of these, in the way so many of the Christian parables appear, are stories of paradox and mystery and head-shaking. Not much logic here, not much of the expected behavior or outcome. Welcome to the Gospels of Jesus.

A welcome home

Mon, 2022-09-05 08:30

 
After nine hours of travel a walk around our place helped the transition back by discovering these sights: here's a patch of cosmos that is replacinga tree planted in memory of two of our sisters' sibling.

The new bridge across the marshy area on the way to the hermitagesis coming along. This is sort of like replacing the 19th centuryvillage bridge with the George Washington across the Hudson(which I was on this week, by the way).
And one of the new trees, that spent its first 3 years in a garden,is now on its own in the yard. Seems to be doing ok. Hopefully next year it will survive the winter and flourish in the summer. 

And, finally, here are some old friends which I hadn't seenon the grounds all summer. Back to graze in the lawn and poop on the sidewalks all day!

Seek...in every little shore town

Sun, 2022-08-28 21:37

 

Along the county trail that we walk nearly every day, there is a smaller tributary with a sign that announces it as "Butterfly Lane." It's chock full of tall colorful flowers and.....butterflies. Here is a photo of what we found there early one morning this week. 

The Jersey shore seems to be a summer extension of Philadelphia and New York City. And, as in those two large cities, there are Catholic churches everywhere. I swear every little shore town up and down the coast has at least one and sometimes two of them. We haven't felt that the one nearest to us really fit us too well, so this weekend we traveled 5 miles north to the next town and "tried" their church: Saturday afternoon 4:00 pm Mass. The people were friendly, the music good, the reflections on the gospel were fine and the presiding priest did his part well and let everyone else do theirs. All in all they seemed happily engaged in their parish, at least from the little we observed and read about in their bulletin. It fit much better. 

When on vacation

Sun, 2022-08-21 18:40

My mother had a theory on eating out: "If you're going to order what you could have at home, what's the point of eating at a restaurant?" she'd say. I think of this often, especially when I'm eyeing the chicken entrees at some eatery! 

I'm going to expand her philosophy by saying" "If you're going to do on vacation what you do at home all the time, what's the point of going on vacation?" 

In that vein, here's one of the I-don't-get-to-do-this-at-home activities that Anne and I are enjoying this week on vacation: slowly and purposely reading newspapers, in this case the Sunday New York Times.

It has opinions, columns, arts and leisure, and news articles from everywhere/about everything. But here I am sharing with you my favorite feature, "Metropolitan Diary." Every week on this 1/2 page they run four or five little vignettes from New Yorkers, about their everyday life in this huge gathering of people, pace and possibilities.

Here's one from last Sunday's issue, shown above. You can google it and get a free session to read a few of them without the standard fee.

Dear Diary, I was waiting for a cab to take me from an urgent care clinic near Lincoln Square to a nearby emergency room. I had fallen the night before while leaving the theater, smashing my knee and face on the sidewalk. After an interminable wait, I spotted a lone cab stopped at a red light. The driver indicated that he would pick me up as soon as the light changed.

Then in a clear breach of taxi etiquette, a man who was maybe 20 years younger than I, jumped into the street ahead of me. He saw me and must have realized I was waiting for the cab. He obviously didn't care because when the light turned green, he hopped in brazenly. I was angry. Then the unthinkable happened.

The cab approached me, the taxi thief opened the door, asked where I was going, invited me in, waited as I hobbled aboard and told the driver to take me where I was going, which was a few avenues out of this man's way.

He told me he was late for a doctor's appt. and asked how I had gotten hurt. I said I had fallen after leaving the theater. He asked if I worked in theater and said that his wife did. When we got to the emergency room, he wouldn't accept any money for the ride and asked just one thing in return: He wanted me to tell his wife what I had told him: that he was the nicest person to ever steal a cab from me.

"She needs proof sometimes that I'm nice," he said.

I didn't get his name or his wife's, but hopefully she will read this. Gwen M.


Fourth and final

Sun, 2022-08-14 21:30

Ok, here's the fourth and final update on the first home that was built on the lots we sold along Carters Beach Rd. (north of East Lake Rd on the Glinodo side of our property). The first three "reports" were May 15, June 12 and July 10. Here we are August 14.

Front
Back

I don't think our new neighbors have moved in yet, but it is very close. It took me a while to like the window selection. All I could think of was washing them--all those individual panes. But I think the look of them, framed in the white all around, is beautiful. Worth the washing! The back, of course, is stunning. What a deck! and quite hidden and private and right up against the woods that surround it on three sides. They should see our local wildlife up close and personal.

The next three weeks I'll be sharing with you our exploits from the Jersey shore. I'll try to pick things that make you green with envy.....that's if you're a water/beach person!

Shore Life

Sun, 2022-08-07 21:59

This week was our annual LLL or Summer Community Days and, in between the yearly corporation meeting and Monastic Chapter business, we can get in a little unusual relaxing time.

Here's what I ran into while sitting and reading at Shade's Beach (1 mile east of here): a blue heron, walking around the area where 8-mile creek empties into Lake Erie and on the wing when a couple hikers got too close. (He/she did return however!)  So calm and peaceful.. Lake Erie shore life.  




Click to enlarge


Eleven goats a-chewing

Sun, 2022-07-31 20:07

 I think I'm the only local media that hasn't included our visiting goat herd in a story--so here it is.

We stopped down yesterday to look in on them and found all eleven lying down, near the bus, chewing. Jennifer, the goatherd, told us that yes, indeed, this was their chewing time. Can you find all eleven in this photo?!

They are fascinating to watch. I'd like to say they are cute, but they really aren't. They're kinda' goat-like, not those cute little faces on lambs or even grown sheep. But, they are industrious, even obsessive in their duty and for that we are very grateful. The surprise of the visit is meeting Jennifer, Mike and Joe who are great, friendly, founts of information and seem thrilled to be here. They have fallen in love with our Glinodo property--but really, who wouldn't!

Meanwhile, back on the south side of East Lake Road our gorgeous summer continues. And for that we are very thankful, also.


                                               From the outside of chapel and from the inside.


Bridge over troubled watery grounds

Sun, 2022-07-24 19:24

If you have ever been to our place and traveled out to the hermitages in the nearby woods, you'll appreciate our latest grant-funded project.  Thanks to the work of our development office grant writers, we are finally replacing one of the two bridges that our guests need to cross to take a walk in the woods or get to the hermitages for a weekend of rest, relaxation or retreat time. You see, they are only accessible by foot, while pulling a wagon or sled loaded down with food and personal supplies. The old wooden ones were fine--for awhile--but as we all know Mother Nature will always win out---and she did---for the bridge right outside the sunroom at the beginning of the hermitage trail.

Here's the new cement one in its first days--it should be done soon.

---


If you haven't had a chance to read up on Let's Goat Buffalo and the eleven goats from the program that are with us, helping rid our woods of invasive species, go to our website for almost daily updates and don't miss their own website and the names, histories and personalities of each goat...darling!

Blooming summer

Sun, 2022-07-17 19:10

One of our sisters took photos of the gardens that are tended by community membersand made a terrific bulletin board display.Some of are at the Mount, some are at small group living places.Some are flowers only, some vegetables only, and some both.They are all in full bloom right now! 



 



Carters Beach--almost ready

Sun, 2022-07-10 19:28

Here's the monthly update on the first new house on Carters Beach Rd.--our former property. Here's what it looked like in a May blog entry And here's one in June. And here is its look this week: front and back. The owners said they would be in August 1st and it surely looks like that might happen.





The first of three writers-in-residence for the summer seems to be doing very well. She works during the day--just like the rest of us--and we see her again at dinner and for the evening. Some of the under 40 Sisters and friends are beginning to take her to Erie-sights, which is extremely nice of them. I heard that Lavery's Tavern and the Peninsula itself were on this weekend's agenda. I asked her one evening at dinner if she thought there would be much interest in offering this type of summer opportunity to other women--a month as a writer-in-residence. She answered quickly and strongly, "Yes, absolutely." She even noted that she could think of a number at her own school, Duke Divinity, who might jump at the chance for such.  


Down by the lake shore

Sun, 2022-07-03 20:53

 A couple hours on the shores of Lake Erie, brought us a live version of one of Mary Oliver's poems when a large gaggle of geese floated by right on the shoreline where we were sitting. Here's one group. 


Wild Geese


You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things
.

Mary Oliver

A beautiful holiday weekend in "our neck of the woods." Guests are in abundance, too. In our back parking lot five cars in one row had these license plates: Massachusetts, Ohio, North Carolina, Minnesota and Pennsylvania. 

Title IX at 50

Sun, 2022-06-26 19:20


Erie County women sports pioneers: women who have made a difference in area sports.

"As the 50-year anniversary of the landmark civil rights law Title IX arrives this summer, the Erie Times-News and GoErie.com are celebrating female athletes, coaches, administrators and contributors who have made a profound impact on Erie County sports.

"Our area has so many women sports pioneers who have helped shape the landscape for future generations of athletes. It’s almost impossible to name all of them. However, the Times-News staff has created a list that includes many of the premier names in a variety of sports and roles. The list features those who were born here or spent most of their lives in the Erie area.

"During our search, we looked, first and foremost, for females who were leaders or among the first to introduce a sport to the area or start an athletic program or team.

"We also sought women who were contributors, supporters and advocates for women’s athletics, such as administrators, board members, game officials or even journalists.

"Finally we looked to identify female athletes who not only starred in area sports but also established themselves as Erie County greats and, in doing so, inspired many girls to pursue an athletic career."    Full article is here.   

Those were heady years, as I think back on them. Through the 60s there was only basketball at any serious sports level in high schools. Once the PIAA (Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Assoc.) began including girls' sports for high school competition, the list increased quickly: soccer, volleyball, swimming, golf, tennis, track & field, etc. All of these debunked the totally bizarre myths that young women couldn't run fast, train hard, and show greatly coordinated bodies in becoming top athletes.

My sister, Patty, played college basketball for Dayton in the late 60s-early 70s, participating in the pre-NCAA tournaments that were held until 1982 when the NCAA expanded its programs to include women's sports. She continued into a type of mini-tour for the LPGA, again the preliminary organization of what today is the Epson Tour that leads qualifying golfers to the LPGA tour itself. I often wonder how far she might have gone had high school golf been then what it is now.

Thank you to all parents, coaches, friends and recreational organizers that encourage girls to participate in sports and to be proud of it. This is far from the tomboy label, these are true athletes.

Atchison, Kansas

Sun, 2022-06-19 22:47

I'm in Atchison, Kansas, a small midwestern town about 30 minutes north of Kansas City. In this world of fields and farms and the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe, is a 150 year old Benedictine monastery where the 17 monasteries of our congregation held its General Chapter. We arrived a day early and visited some local sites. Here are two that were really great.    


Here's the most famous citizen of Atchison, Amelia Earhart, born here in 1897. Her image is everywhere and her home/museum was a great thing to visit.


Here is the internationally known Moon Marble Company, home to hundreds of marbles and marble-related games (think Chinese checkers) and memorabilia. Another museum, yet active business in the world of a rare sport nowadays. 



 And, on the other side of town from Mount St. Scholastica Monastery is St. Benedict's Abbey and Benedictine College. This is the piece behind the altar. Quite impressive and lovely.

Everything about Atchison and the Benedictine world within it was wonderful....except the temperatures....highs were 95-ish every day....whew, that's hot...even for the locals!

Two important updates

Sun, 2022-06-12 21:31

On the May 15th entry here, four weeks ago, I showed you a photo of the first home that is being built on the lots we recently sold along the road that is the west border of our property. Well, here it is today, and it seems to be on its way to meeting the owner's hope-to-move-in date: August 1. 



177 Carters Beach Road

The second update concerns an ongoing mystery to me, namely that anyone outside of Erie County reads this blog and follows the mundane, day-to-day goings on of our life here in this very small part of the big, wide world. I know from google analytics that there are lots of readers throughout the US and even beyond...but the reality of that never really sinks in. It's just so hard to imagine! 

So, with a mixture of apology and amazement about the last Willy, Nilly, Dilly blog, here is a real Dilly Bar: a delicious dark chocolate covered vanilla ice cream disk, held together on a wide stick (wider than a popsicle's). Two hundred and twenty scrumptious calories! I believe it comes with other coverings: cherry, butterscotch, mint, heath bar, and they even produce a non-dairy version---but this is our favorite: dark chocolate.


Happy summer, which officially arrives in a week here in the northern hemisphere.

Willy, nilly, dilly!

Sun, 2022-06-05 20:37

 

We felt like celebrating something; it could be spring itself, or the Feast of Pentecost which we celebrated gloriously today, or it could have be that it's the eve of our annual retreat which opens tomorrow night...but anyway, we held a small celebration.

You see, we are located equidistant between local Dairy Queens. The one is about 4 miles west of us in the little township of Lawrence Park. It is the real 1950s-60s deal (see above): walk up only, the dairy queen vanilla soft serve cone on the roof, and open just during the spring-summer months each year. The other one is 4 miles east of us on the outskirts of the borough of North East. It's another small one, though modernized, but not too much. Right now it's only open via its drive through, which often has a line 8-9 cars long. 

They both serve dilly bars, but we prefer the ones in North East, they are a little smaller, just the right size for our after-dinner dessert and a delicious one at that. Have you ever noticed the various ways there are to eat a dilly bar? It's kinda like the varieties of Oreo cookie eating! Anyway, it was a first-time-this-season treat and it was great.

A number of years ago I did a little series in this blog on "Benedictine haunts"---where around the area you're most likely to run into community members. On that list? these Dairy Queens. Ten years later those cars with the numbers on the back right bumper are still turning up there. Watch for them!   

Tinker, tailor, soldier, spy

Sun, 2022-05-29 20:52

I was enamored, as were all readers of spy, espionage thrillers, with the masterful trilogy Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy followed by The Honorable Schoolboy  and finishing up with Smiley's People that British author John LeCarre wrote in the 70s and 80s. His hero and master spy for M15, was George Smiley. Did you see Alec Guiness play him in the film version of one of LeCarre's books? 

Well, David Cornwell, the real name of the author of the series, died in 2020, but his writer son was able to finish up/polish his last novel, Silverview, and I found it and read it this weekend. What a delight. It is classic LeCarre, twist within twist within twist--who are the "good" guys and who are the "bad" guys, who's telling the truth and who isn't, and how is everyone and everything interrelated? The  hallmarks of another fascinating story in the best of the spy genre. 

It always leaves me thinking, Do these things really take happen in "that world" or is it all a figment of his imagination? If the former, WOW, what a world within the world; and if the latter, where did he get such ideas, the intricacies and story lines?

The New York Times just came out with their "88 books for summer" list. Better get going, there's only about 100 days till labor Day! 

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