Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Things I love about the monastery...(cont.)

I have to leave this morning for a regional meeting of vocation directors in Catonsville, MD. There is always a part of me that wants to stay put - the mysterious force of stability that draws each monastic heart to a particular home. Today, it's a bit worse given that my meeting will be difficult. It will be the first gathering since Sister Mary Paul's death one week ago. Many of my colleagues will be expressing their loss and grief for the first time in a communal setting. I am bringing a photograph of my friend to help focus our thoughts on the beauty of her life as opposed to the violence of her death. Today, I wish I could just stay home.

So, I've decided to focus again on the beauty here - for the good of my own soul. That walk yesterday morning was a bigger blessing than usual. I have new images to take with me of the little things that touch my heart so deeply.

Sister Mary Patricia walks our Dossy in the very early morning. They traverse the plantation together - Sister often bring sacred reading and Dossy just sniffs the world joyfully until she finds several perfect spots. :) The sight of the them makes my heart glad. Many things change; many remain constant. You could set your watch by Sister Mary Patrica. And, if you're lucky enough to meet them on your walk, you're sure to get a loving smile and wagging tail.

I saw something else yesterday that made my heart sing. I spied one our our beautiful postulants practicing the piano in our Living Room. It was still early. Only one soft light to brighten her music, but she was playing as if the notes were written on her heart. It was a lovely sound. I'm still moved when I look at Kathy and Karen - overwhlemed by how much GOD must love us to send two faithful and loving women to share our journey.

There is one other thing I just love about the monastery - my room. That 8'x10' bedroom really feels like home to me. While I can't really put photos of our cloistered areas on the internet, I can share one of my favorite decorations. Most sisters would consider me a minimalist in terms of what's actually in my room and on my walls. Actually, there is a cross from St. John's Abbey in Collegeville, MN (alma mater) and a wall full of my niece's artwork. Molly is our first-born grandchild and, as such, has had the honor of an entire cinderblock wall. Her very first letter to me is there - written verbatim by her mother. It cracks me up everytime I read it. There are other works of art as well. I can remember Molly's journey this way and mark a place where our journeys meet.

I have to hit Rt. 66 and I 95 now. The quiet in the car will undoubtedly do me good. GOD never fails me when I'm wise enough to ask for help. I will ask for the grace to bear sadness and do the work that needs to be done. And, I'll ask Sister Mary Paul to give strength to her sisters and friends who face the hard work of grief in the days and months ahead. I learned last week that Sister Mary Paul had a favorite hymn written by the Brothers of Weston Priory. The refrain soothes my soul and bring her close in my heart.

"Let it be, yes, let it be!
As you will so let it be done.
Though I do not understand,
GOD will be with me
this I do know!"
Blessings and love to you all...
- Sister Vicki