Who needs the witches or black cats or ghouls of Halloween to scare us when COVID19 is still around doing a great job of frightening the entire world? It gave our community two scares. One involved a Sister who had symptoms that warranted checking out. How happy we were when her tests proved negative. Months later Covid 19 returned to give us another scare, this time involving the entire community! We were exposed to someone who proved positive, but asymptomatic. So into quarantine we went! How were we to get tested??? What would we do? To the rescue: a priest friend who brought a doctor and equipment that was necessary to check us out here in the monastery! All ended happily: we were all negative, alleluia!
While summer was still with us, we were blessed by two women who expressed interest in joining us! They came and visited and still are interested! Pray with us as we continue discerning with them. The new norms from Rome make it a very long process of 9-12 years!
Having to cancel two of our public events because of the pandemic and not wanting to ‘turn up our toes’ as a response, we tried two new things: a podcast of 3 days for Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, and a video Mass for St. Therese. The podcasts did well but we heard many were not able to get the video of the Mass. The problem? Our website was not compatible with iPads or iPhones which many use now to connect to the internet. So we have accepted the challenge and are working on updating our website. Perhaps Blessed Carlo Acutis will help us. He was just beatified by Pope Francis this year and is being called the Patron Saint of the Internet. He was a computer whiz. At 11 years of age he created a website to catalog miracles! He died of leukemia in 2006 at 15!
We are still suffering from a drought, but Mother Nature was very generous to us nevertheless. We picked buckets of cherries from our cherry tree in the spring and buckets of grapes from our grape vines in the fall. Beside seating cherries we also made cherry juice and the grapes provided us with many gallons of grape juice. We indeed had reason to raise a hymn of thanks and praise to God for these bountiful gifts.
TWO NEW BANNERS
You may remember that one of our ways of evangelizing is putting something out front that relates to the seasons for passersby to see . This year, since we had to cancel our public celebrations for Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and St. Therese, we had rather large banners made for those events. The one of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel was a picture of the statue we have of her in the monastery and usually put in our sanctuary for her feast. The one of St. Therese was a photo of her taken by her blood sister Celine.
TWO UNWANTED CRITTERS
It is true, God made all creatures, great and small, but some critters give some of us the jitters!Three bats invaded our space inside to scare many. One was released to the outdoors safely. Two have disappeared–maybe playing hide and seek to surprise us at some unknown time! The other critter, a mouse made its way to our second floor where our cells are and made others of us very uncomfortable. Let us share with you something we discovered. Mice do not like peppermint. The peppermint in our garden to the rescue! It was laid at the doors of the nuns cells. The mouse got the message he/she was not welcome and obeyed this “no trespassing sign”!
TWO SUMMER FLASHBACKS
This was a great year for our hydrangeas! They bloomed and bloomed beyond counting, and believe it or not, we had red white and blue hydrangeas to put before the altar for July 4th! The second flashback is not so jolly. Public fireworks are a delight and a good way to celebrate happy, momentous occasions. However, they are also dangerous and illegal in the hands of private citizens. We felt the wisdom of this law when for months there was a firework frenzy that caused so much suffering for so many people in many areas of Boston, including ours. Many calls were made to the police as the noise went on and on into the wee hours of the morning affecting ears and sleep. It was indeed a plague of another sort!God bless our Mayor who realized the problem and did his best to deal with it!
A NEW PRESIDENT
God help America! Whoever one voted for, whether one is happy or sad about the results, one thing is certain: our country needs God’s help. Let us all pray that President-elect-Biden will do all in his power to help us be more and more”one nation under God”.
BACK TO NATURE
The color of the trees in our garden were just so spectacular this year, so awesome in their beauty. Which is a reminder that we hope you tuned in to the podcast on our website about BEAUTY IN ST. JOHN OF THE CROSS. You can still listen to it and we hope you will. This is a replacement of the public lecture we usually have in November. (Another response inspired by the pandemic.)On another note, if you are concerned or worried or unhappy about the project of having to rake up too many leaves, maybe the following quote used as a mantra might make the chore more enjoyable for you: FALL FOR JESUS, HE NEVER LEAVES!
A MOVIE STAR
The visit was a total, unplanned surprise. Oh, it wasn’t a Hollywood star, but this one did fly in! We didn’t get the name, but what a beauty! It was a hawk, but not a red tailed one. He/she was on our clothesline for a long time seeming to enjoy, like a movie star, the adulation and aweof theSister who was out taking pictures in the garden with her iPad and encountered it to her sheer delight! The visiting hawk seemed in no hurry to go elsewhere! So Sister was able to take a video which enabled all of us to see this beautiful creature, over and over and quite up close! We never know what surprises God has in store for us!
Some people hunt for treasures, some just find them! One of our Sisters, by accident had the latter experience that gave us much joy. Sometimes we put things in books as markers and then forget about it. Apparently this is what happened in this case. A book was taken from our liturgical section for information and what was inside was a treasure for our archives! Mother Aloysius entered our Carmel many years ago and was Prioress here. Rome has given her the title of Servant of God, one of the stages on the road to canonization. The most precious gift she left behind for us were some letters, little notes and memos that have been put together in a little pamphlet: FRAGRANCE FROM ALABASTER. The treasure found was a note from Mother Aloysius apparently to a Sister for her final profession. It is very touching and warm and inspiring even for us today! What gratitude and joy filled our hearts finding this treasure for our archives.
OUR LORD IS COMING!
Clear up your appointment books, mark your calendars! Make ready to welcome God’s Advent promises.Don’t just think of them as something old, God doesn’t give out old socks or stale bagels! The promises and words of God may be old but He makes them new each year! Be ready to welcome them!