Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Waiting for GOD...

Each morning the monastic woman joins her sisters for Morning Prayer. We keep silence from the time we wake until the bell rings for breakfast. Why? Because we believe there is Someone speaking to us in that silence – Someone who waits for us in the dark before the dawn. The practice of this early morning wait for God is called, “Vigils.” It used to be a distinct office in the Liturgy of the Hours. Now, we “vigil” on our own – each sister honoring the coming of the light in her own way.

There is another vigil within our monastic tradition – one that is of paramount importance but happens much less frequently than the daily reverencing of the new light- we vigil with our dying sisters. During each of the twenty-four hours of the day, a sister sits by her side, holds her hand and prays. And, hour by hour, we remind our dear sister that our promises to her do not end until we walk her body up the hill - until she has been embraced by the Light that has no end. We have just begun such a vigil with our Sister Celine.

You may recall a blog a few months ago about Sister Celine’s 97th birthday. As ready as she was to celebrate and embrace life that day, she is as ready to embrace the life to come. Join us in praying for our sister – that the Lord whom she has served so faithfully for the past 75 years, will come soon to bring her home.

Blessings and love to you all…
- Sister Vicki

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Love me, love my duck...

I’m forty-four years old and when I go to the pool, I bring my rubber duck. It isn’t just any rubber duck, but a special gift from a friend in memory of good times had in our monastery pool. When I take it with me for a dip, my friend is present – not exactly a sacramental, but it possesses powers beyond my understanding.

This week I have been enjoying my first week in our pool since the beginning of summer. I’ve gotten up to a few heart-pounding laps – nothing seriously athletic yet – and enjoyed the warmth of the sun on my skin. The last few days have been extra fun. I’ve enjoyed the company of two young women – one, an Affiliate of ours enjoying an extended visit and the other, a brand new friend of our community. Their energy delights me. There have been fearless dives into the deep end for those brightly colored rings that sink. There have been many laps done in near perfect Olympic-form. And, lots of laughter, sputtering and few mouthfuls of chlorine! Swimming is always good for me – body and soul. But this week, it was just downright fun!

In 1968, Sister Ernestine Johann, OSB was our prioress. Through her wisdom the in-ground pool was installed for our summer camps. Praise GOD for Sister Ernestine’s inspired vision. A pool of this type today would certainly be beyond our means. When the pool opens around Memorial Day, there is an audible squeal of excitement among those of us who are “regulars.” And the “die-hards” swim until October! (I usually make it through Labor Day, wimp that I am.) The pool has played a significant part in my monastic vocation. I think I'll leave that story for tomorrow.

Blessings and love,
- Sister Vicki

PS – Don’t forget the sunblock!