Spring / Summer 2020
Who would have ever guessed that the entire world would be invited to cloistered life–like us! Several contemplative communities even offered ideas and suggestions via e-mails and interviews to help people deal with the imposed cloistered life style. How many different feelings the pandemic has stirred up: anger, fear, worry, dismay, horror, unbelief…. How many virtues it has called forth: courage, compassion, care, service, love…. How many challenges it has given us about celebrating liturgy, going to work, education, finances, elections…..Perhaps the only choice we had when the pandemic struck was our attitude.It may remind one of the suggestion: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade! Being creative, making the best of what happens in our lives is a good way to live. We are all in the same classroom of this pandemic but amazingly, we will each learn different things and as time goes on, it would be good to share with one another what we have learned from it. A quote from our St. Elizabeth of the Trinity comes to mind here: EACH INCIDENT, EACH EVENT, EACH SUFFERING, AS WELL AS EACH JOY, IS A SACRAMENT WHICH GIVES GOD. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful fruit for all of us to reap from this global virus that has infected the entire world?
We have joined all those who have responded to Pope Francis’ call to say the rosary together to end the pandemic. You may remember that in 2002 Pope John Paul II added the luminous mysteries to the joyful, sorrowful and glorious mysteries. This sparked an idea for us. Searching the scriptures, the life of Jesus and Mary, we thought we might add some other mysteries since we were saying the rosary daily. One group we added were the mysteries of His hidden life. These are the five we chose: 1. The flight into Egypt; 2. The childhood and adolescent years of Jesus; 3. The death of St. Joseph; 4.Jesus leaves Mary and Nazareth to begin His public life; 5. Jesus is tempted in the desert. Another group of mysteries we prayed were the I AM mysteries of Jesus: I am the Light of the world; I am the bread come down from heaven, I am the vine, I am the Good Shepherd; I am the resurrection and the life. One of the nuns also discovered that as far back as the 18th century there was another proposal about praying the rosary: to pray on a single mystery for all five decades. Perhaps some of these ideas may appeal to you and help you in your praying the rosary.
AN UNSOLVED MYSTERY
It has been such a joy having red tailed hawks abiding with us and sharing the news about them in this newsletter. This time it is obituary news. Three of them have been found dead on our property at different times this year. And we have no idea what caused their deaths. We miss them.
Even though we are used to being cloistered, the pandemic has affected us as well. We have been able to have Mass, but just for our community since only 10 people can be in attendance. To safeguard others, the nuns have been answering the door and phone at the monastery. Our handyman has been doing work mostly outside of the enclosure, so our entrance hall and foyer have been newly painted–something that has needed attention for quite a while. Our Chapel needed some touching up and repainting in areas and we hired a company to do that work which has also been completed. We also were able to hire a rug company to clean the chapel and entryway rugs. Our pipe organ in the chapel, an historic piece, also benefited from the virus! Like people, organs need check-ups too! So after some oiling and cleaning and fixing by Charles Bolton and his daughter, its wheezing has been cured and it is in better shape to praise the Lord once again!
We were scheduled to have Mass and a visit with Cardinal Sean on January 4 but it had to be cancelled because we were dealing with colds/flu and the like for a long time that started in December and kept going round and round among us. Calls from doctor’s offices came to cancel scheduled appointments. We still have not left the monastery to go to any appointments. It seems the more prudent thing to do at this time.Other cancellations: several inter-community formation classes that we were looking forward to; a meeting with young people who were coming to hear about our life;-a postponing of our effort to form a group with whom to share prayer and our charism. A painful cancellation for us this year is our public celebration for our Lady of Mt. Carmel. But we are offering a podcast–a first for us! It will be accessible via our website. A flyer accompanying this newsletter has pertinent information about it.
We have become “zoombies”! Due to world events, zooming has become part of our lifestyle. Our Association was scheduled to meet in June for elections and other business matters, but because of the virus, the meeting had to be cancelled. So, zooming to the rescue! For some of the business we have to wait for answers from Rome. For example, they will not allow virtual voting or voting by mail. A petition has been sent to Rome but we still await a response. Zooming demands great expertise and patience and tech know-how. We are so blessed that some of our Carmelite Sisters are talented in this area. And they do such a wonderful job! God bless them!
ST. TERESA OF THE ANDES
This year is the 100th anniversary of the death of our youngest saint: Teresa of the Andes. Sometimes we lovingly call her the CHILE LILY. She is Chile’s first canonized saint and is the fifth saint in the Order with the name “Teresa”. Only 19 when she died, she was quite a mystic and left an impressive collection of writings. Several films have been made about her life. One of her statements worth pondering which enriches our knowledge of our God is this one: GOD IS INFINITE JOY! Some say she died of typhus but some historians have suggested she may have contracted the Spanish flu which was devastating Chile at that time. This links her to our time as we suffer from the corona virus in our day. St. Teresa of the Andes, pray for us!GOD HAS A SENSE OF HUMOROur Sr. Elieen Mary has very strong feelings against brussels sprouts. So much so, we love to tease her about it. Her 80th birthday is in June and one of the things God sent us the day before her birthday, was a very large supply of brussels sprouts! How could we not make it part of her celebration? So, our very ingenious Sr. Marie Leth made a large form of the number 80 from paper and cardboard and filled them with brussels sprouts! It was a masterpiece! After Mass, we presented it to Sister and sang HAPPY BIRTHDAY with much gusto! Sister laughed heartily with us. Oh, we also celebrate with cake and ice cream!
WE SHALL OVERCOME
We are going through rough and tough times. Not only do we have virus problems, we are also dealing with racial prejudice, hatred and violence. Thankfully, there are peaceful demonstrations to help lead us into conversion of heart but those choosing violence lead to more hatred. May God help us choose the ways of love, to pray for wisdom and strength for ourselves and our leaders, to believe that if we look to God and rely on God, we shall overcome!