Saturday, July 5, 2008

Three birthdays to celebrate...

There is so much to celebrate on the 4th of July. Certainly, the founding of our great nation takes precedence. There is no better day to remember who we are or who we can become again by grace. It is also our prioress’ birthday – quite the celebration in its own right. There is yet another layer of festivity beneath it all. July 4th is the day three Benedictine sisters arrived in New York harbor from Bavaria in 1852. Women have lived the monastic life here for 156 years – not quite as old as American, but certainly within the frontier days of the earliest German settlers.

I am still in awe of these brave women who left their monastery in Germany believing that they would never see home again. Their willingness to go where they were needed regardless of their love for their community astonishes me.

I pray on this day for our Grandmother – house in Eichstätt, Germany that their generosity of spirit will be rewarded by many new vocations. And, I pray for all Benedictines who continue our mission tradition. The wisdom of Benedict is for all God’s people – near and far.

Blessings and love to you all…

- Sister Vicki

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Thoughts from the NJ Turnpike...

It’s funny. My family hasn’t lived in New Jersey for several years now, but when I cross the bridge and into the “Garden State”, I am home. I’m visiting my friend, Patty, who lives in Cranford, (aka “Mayberry”) NJ. Although I was raised further north in a small development called, Smoke Rise, I’ve lived and worked all over this tiny state - Princeton, Hackensack, Summit, Madison, South Orange, and Roselle Park – to name a few. It’s an itty-bitty state that gets a raw deal in the national arena. You know the Jersey jokes most of which center around the Turnpike. Honestly, it was a lovely place to grow up.

Our house was on over 2 acres of wooded land. We had a pond and a stream to play in. I’m certain the new residents of 322 Brookvale Road have found Barbie body parts and GI Joe equipment along that stream. I road my tricycle into that pond when I was 4. (When you take your feet off the pedals, it’s really hard to get them back on when you’re flying down the hill.) My Dad fished me out and I got to have a hot bath in the middle of the day!

I haven’t driven past the family house since my Grandmother died in 1998. Someday, I’d like to go and knock on the door and see the bedroom I shared with my big sister up on the third floor. I’d like to walk in the yard and remember the endless hours of play that fed the gift of my imagination. I’d like to see the old willow tree in the front yard that became ‘home base’ in our games of “Tag.” and the cherry blossom tree under my parents window that turned the lawn pink as they fell from their branches.

Maybe, someday, I’ll visit. But part of me feels as if nothing could be more wonderful than these memories. I think you can “go home again” in your heart. And maybe, that’s the best way to go. I am left with gratitude for all of it and for the GOD who made me a Jersey girl.

Blessings and love to you all…

- Sister Vicki