Giving thanks in the gap

I have recently been reflecting on Abraham Lincoln’s famous Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1863. It is a beautiful, noble, evocative – even tender – acknowledgement of the blessings that do not stop falling from the heavens and coursing through the land even as crushing tribulations rend bodies and souls. Lincoln wrote…

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Send in the cavalry!

Imagine a phalanx of Sisters striding purposefully down the hallway, each pushing a wheeled conveyance topped high with teetering boxes. Then imagine that each Sister has a floor lamp or curtain rods or some other such contraption in her other hand as if it were a javelin ready for the…

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(In)convenience

New telephones are being installed this week in Ottilia Hall, planted like row crops up and down the corridors. This will give us plenty more phones than we had before the renovation and will enable us to make and receive calls without the inconvenience of a long, long walk to…

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Election Day / Tuesday of the 31st Week in Ordinary Time

On Election Day, various ones of us pull up in front of City Hall off and on throughout the day. We generally go to the polls in twos, threes, and fours, trying to be economical with our trips. In a town this size, we’re likely to see someone we know on any…

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All Saints

The Solemnity of All Saints is perhaps the best of all feasts to have in the midst of the happy but heavy upheaval of moving back into Ottilia Hall. As we rearrange furniture and equipment, toothpaste and soap, we know that the saints, too, would have had the ordinary struggles…

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Game day

In what feels like the World Series of Relocation, the Sisters are now up two games to zip after two official days of moving. Day Three, I mean Game Three, is now underway. I find myself wishing that I could sit in the hallway of 1st Ottilia with a microphone…

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Sabbath

On this beautiful Sunday morning I have been greeted by a harvest-hued palatte during an early morning walk, smiling retreat guests arriving for breakfast, golden ginkgo leaves blanketing the ground, the sharp crispness of the first really cool morning of fall…but the most beautiful experience of all was seeing lamplight…

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Beyond the image (broken into wholeness)

During these days of packing and moving, my life has felt like a cubist painting, full of odd angles and overlapping blocks of color and disjointed joints that somehow manage to form a coherent whole. One minute I am hanging shower curtains with Sr. Ursula and then I am hauling…

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A cleansing touch

During my first two years in the monastery, one of my routine labora assignments was to clean the chapel weekly. For statues and windows it was a stand-up job on ladders and stepstools. It became a kneel-down job when I got to the baseboards, choir stalls, and kneelers. Through this…

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A seven year wave

A giant wave is crashing onto the shores of Ottilia Hall this week as we begin to move back into our newly-renovated main monastery building. This single, giant swell comes after a process so slow that at times one could barely discern that a wave was even forming. But now,…

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