Saturday, November 13, 2010

Share our joy...

It’s Saturday morning. The warm sun is shining through my “office” window on the second floor of the convent in Richmond. I am answering e-mails and working with my calendar. Karen is enjoying a free day which means extra sleep, lots of good coffee and connecting with her family. Sister Mary is working at the monastery this weekend – grant research for development. And, last but not least, Sister Charlotte Lange is resting and praying in the first floor “recovery room.”

Yes, our sister was discharged on Tuesday and has settled in to the new but very familiar rhythm of the mission house. Physically, she is improving daily beyond my initial expectations. Sister is walking independently with the help of a cane. Home Health nursing, PT and OT are coming here now. The rigorous therapies are paying off in increased independence and moments of sheer joy. She is all smiles and full of gratitude for every small help or kindness. Being back in community, I think, is making a huge difference. Sister Charlotte is even joining us for the Liturgy of the Hours! (She’s not ready for her prayer book yet, but she’s singing the hymn and the canticle with all her might.)

Although the physical achievements are huge, it is Sister Charlotte’s attitude that feels miraculous to me. From the moment she woke up – two weeks after the accident. Sister Charlotte has maintained the certainty that God has everything in hand. She has not searched for the “why.” She simply accepts the events of this summer in faith and trusts that God has a plan – a vision beyond our own that sees every joy and suffering in some sacred context of meaning. When asked if the accident has changed her, Sister Charlotte responds, “How could it not?” Some regular joys have returned – like watching “Law & Order” in the Community Room. But Sister Charlotte spent the first eight weeks of her recovery in contemplation – no TV, no ordinary distractions. Illness, I think, can be a hermitage – a sacred place in which we encounter God in a way that transforms us. We are changed by what has been and experience of being vulnerable and dependent. I believe every moment of the last 15 weeks (tomorrow) has been the ultimate gift of her life to God. Sister Charlotte’s acceptance of the accident – the loss of Sister Denise and the critical injuries sustained by her and Sister Connie Ruth – is evidence of the power of God’s grace to sustain and transform the heart of faith. I know the lessons are not over. Each day as I assist her, I am the one who is gifted. It is a mystery – an experience of being in the present moment with someone through whom Christ is shining. I am not the same, either.

Blessings and love to you all…
- Sister Vicki

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Birthday blessings in Ohio...

1) a gift of time from the cosmos – an extra hour of sleep!
2) Facebook greeting from friends that span four decades!
3) a voice mail from my community singing and sending love
4) being serenaded by 400 vocation directors
5) thanking my Dad for falling in love with my Mom
6) a body healthy enough to walk 10 blocks to the red line train (saving us $33 in cab fare!)
7) listening to my nieces and nephews sing “happy birthday” Aunt Vicki
8) a bubble bath and fluffy hotel bathrobe
9) chatting with my sibs
10) wanting nothing more than to be a 47-year-old Benedictine Sister of Virginia