Tuesday, January 8, 2008

January 8th

January 8, 2008

ROME – 2:46 PM

The sun is shining…birds are singing (as if it were spring) and I feel a whole lot better! Still not getting to sleep easily, but I caught up a bit this morning. It’s been a week since we arrived and finally I feel as if I’ve turned the corner on this infection. I was worried that I had strep, but because I feel so much better today, I think it just has to run its course.
Today I felt truly engaged in the classroom. The last few days have been so challenging physically, that my brain has had to struggle just to keep up. Sister Aquinata’s German accent is difficult for me. But what I miss, Sister Veronica seems to hear. It really is wonderful to be here together. There is just one other community that sent two sisters – the cloistered Benedictines from Jamberoo, Australia. This morning Sister Veronica brought me a hot cup of coffee (as I slept through breakfast). Her well prepared medicine cabinet has been a life-saver. More than anything, though, it’s her tender care that makes all the difference – lots of sympathy and thoughtful love.
Feeling a bit better and sensing the warmth of the sun, I went outside to walk the grounds for the first time. The Casa is the Generalate for the Missionary Benedictine Sisters of Tutzing, Germany. It’s home to the Mother General and a small community of sisters – much like Sant’ Anselmo. The grounds are expansive and beautiful. The trees here are unlike any I’ve ever seen. There are skinny Tuscan trees…and trees that are all poofy on top (pines of some kind?) and there are tropical palms. There are fruit trees, too – lemon and orange. For a kid from the suburbs of New Jersey, that’s just plain exciting!
Security is an issue here. In spite of the beauty around us, there are high walls around the compound with an electric gate. The fence that surrounds the property is topped with barbed wire. When it gets dark, you can hear a multitude of steel gates being lowered over the windows in the common spaces and the bedrooms. I can’t bring myself to lower mine. It’s like sealing yourself in a tin can. But, as it is a safety factor for the whole house, (our Monastery Coordinator pointed out to me,J) I better just suck it up and raise the drawbridge like everybody else. We’ve also been cautioned not to go out alone or at night. Apparently there have been break-ins here at the Casa. Robbery seems to be a common occurrence. I was given so many pointers on Saturday about how and where to carry money…and cautioned to hold my bag at all times. One of the sisters in our group had so much under her clothes she looked like Our Lady of Guadalupe!
I’m blessing GOD today…for the sun, for a body that feels a little bit closer to healthy…for my sisters who, though far away, are close to my heart…for a lovely phone call I had with my Dad on Sunday…for the gift of so much love in my life that transcends the miles and miles of ocean. Tomorrow, more about “school”…
Special love to the faculty, staff and students at SGHS…I find myself missing you all and looking forward to “Monastic Monday” on March 3rd. I’ll have some KILLER photos for that class! – Sister Vicki