In most ways, things are back to normal at the monastery following the April 27th tornado. The electricity works. The phones ring. The internet connects. We’ve had retreat groups and school tours. We’ve hosted family and friends. The morning sun casts its usual gilded edge on the chapel roof. Afternoon sunlight still pours through western windows. Our monastic rhythm, never interrupted, has a more “typical” feel to it with organ accompaniment for liturgies, lights, our usual meal times, etc.
Other ordinary activities have resumed, too. Sister Lynn Marie and Sister Therese took part in the spring concert of Cantanti Della Donna, a local women’s chorus in which they both sing. The Liturgy Committee began its series of presentations to orient the Sisters to the new Missal translation. The Scholastics (myself and Sister Sara Aiden) had our scheduled Scholastic Day last Saturday. The entire Community has been in full swing preparation mode for tomorrow’s blessing of our renovation project. Routines have been resumed. Other typical activities have been engaged. Everything is back to normal.
Well, make that “sort of normal.” It is hard to feel normal when things look so different. There is sky where trees used to be. The ground is slashed from heavy tree-removal equipment. Stray shingles and boards still litter a few spots on the outskirts of our grounds. The final piles of debris are awaiting pick-up along the front curb.
But it is the trips into town that make one realize things are simply not normal even though the phones ring, the electricity works, and the internet connects. FEMA signs, piles of rubble, heavy equipment, shattered tree lines, a streetscape that looks like someone rubbed a giant eraser through the city… It is all a continual reminder that many are still coping with devastating loss.
Even as we have mostly recovered here at the monastery and are able to forge ahead with our usual business, it is not business as usual. We remain deeply connected to the suffering of our neighbors and the jarring impact of the tornado upon our dear city.
Postscript: Despite all the recent disruptions from the tornado, we are very excited about the upcoming blessing of our renovation project. If you’ve been to the monastery within the past year, you may have seen the project renderings we have had available for viewing. We now have them posted, along with a lot more information about the project, in the Capital Campaign section of our website.