Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Happy Feast!

This is a first, friends. I am writing a blog at 30,000 feet! I can't believe there is Wi-Fi in the sky! (And, it's less expensive than the Wi-Fi in the airport. Amazing...) I am en route to Charleston, SC. Although I am from NJ, my entire immediate family has relocated to Charleston. (Long story, but the short of it is a one-stop family visit for the nun in the family. Sweet...) I don't know what it is about airplanes, but I seem to say my best prayers on the runway. So much to be grateful for...so much love in my life. GOD is so good...

I decided at 5 AM this morning, that I couldn't leave town without blogging about yesterday - the Feast of Saint Gertrude. Gertrude the Great, of Helfta, was a Benedictine mystic who lived in the 13th century. She was brilliant, highly educated for a woman of her time and given great community responsibilities early in her life as a sister. At the age of 26 she experienced a period of profound inner darkness. (Today, we'd probably diagnosis it as a depression.) It was into that darkness that Christ came to her. Her visions were numerous and vivid. Gertrude is one of the first saints to tell us of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She saw it...and the wounds on his hands and brow. Saint Gertrude recorded these intense experiences of the glorified Savior. hey belong to the Church now - a sign of Christ's abiding love and compassion for us, a glimmer of what we shall be when we enter His glory.

Ok...I love Gertrude, can you tell? I also love her because she is the patroness of the finest Catholic girls' school in the Commonwealth - Saint Gertrude High School. Benedictines - female and male - generally name their institutions after a great monastic saint. For young women of faith pursuing knowledge, Saint Gertrude is the perfect model. To celebrate her feast day - the day Gertrude entered eternal life - the entire school community gathers for a special liturgy. Many sisters come down from the monastery for this great celebration. Each year a sister gives a reflection on the feast. This year Sister Charlotte Lange, OSB, talked to our students. She told a wonderful story about the mysterious abduction of a statue from SGHS - not so much a mystery when the boys school is just two blocks away. Sister Charlotte talked about the importance of giving of ourselves in community. Sister talked about the service projects undertaken by the students at SGHS and emphasized why the girls do them. "It's not about getting into college. It's about living the Gospel." Woven into her reflection were the suprising details of the statue's return - on November 16th - the Feast of Saint Gertrude! Whoa!
After our prayer we clear the chairs, and have a party. Ok... it's really more than a party. It's a total FEAST. Our girls consumed nearly a dozen HUGE homemade cakes - baked by the sisters with love. Pinatas were appropriately bludgeoned until they rendered the goodies. And, we dance. Yup. The students and teachers and sisters dance for joy. All this in 90 minutes!