Sunday, September 17, 2023

Last week of summer

In this last week of summer before the autumnal equinox next Saturday there is lot of activity going on here. First and foremost, we will be celebrating the life of our sister, Mary Therese Egan who died early Saturday morning. If you haven't read them yet, you can read her obituary and prayer card by clicking  on her name.                                                                                                                                             

Then, on Wednesday we will award our annual Prophet of Peace award to local teacher and environmental leader, Doreen Petri. I first met Doreen in Algebra I class in 1969 when I was a very young high school teacher and she was a freshman at VMA. She returned to the school and taught biology there for a decade or so before going to a local college-prep public school where she was pivotal in making its science dept. top notch. She is really a wonderful person and so worthy of our award for her decades of environmental science work, leadership and innovations.

We are still having a continual stream of summer visitors, including a large group this week who must be a parish group or something similar, as they have every guest room and all the hermitages reserved for a couple days. We really are the perfect venue for groups to have day-long of weekend gathering for planning or retreats. Our garden room is large, spacious and the furniture is easily rearranged for small and large numbers. It has its own kitchen, nearby bathrooms and the grounds are perfect for walks and private time. Meals are available or they can bring their own food. I wish more local and nearby groups would take advantage of our facilities...and we really enjoy having them, too.


Sunday, September 10, 2023

Cleaning and weeding

The saga of cleaning our 250+ headstones continues but made a giant step forward this summer. 

Over the last few years I've been trying, somewhat successfully and somewhat not, to clean the "gunk" off of our headstones in Trinity Cemetery, especially the ones that are near trees. I was able to get most of the recent mold and nature stains off of them with a commercial cleaner made just for cemetery stone. But, on the really old ones there was a layer of black "gunk" that covered the marble completely. You could make out the names, but just barely.

This summer our maintenance crew, at my request to TRY anything, used a concrete cleaner and voila the black stuff came off and they are almost totally clear. Above is a photo of the worst one, a gravestone with the names of six sisters from the 1860s. I don't know if their remains are really there or if, because of circumstances of that time, the names are the only commemoration.

Anyway, here they are and it's great to see them. 

PS  Just like dusting and vacuuming are a major part of indoor cleaning, weeding and picking up are a constant job for outdoor areas! I just returned from a short vacation and I'd swear the weeds knew I was away--they just went wild in our gardens! It will take me a couple weeks to get them "back in shape."

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Astrid and Raphaelle


If your area PBS station has the PBSPassport program this post is an encouragement to you to look into it. From what I read, PBSPassport is offered to donors who give say $60/year ($5/month) to a PBS station, Your "membership" entitles you to various PBS (in)famous extras: mugs, umbrellas, pens...just kidding. But one of the best is this passport site where you are granted access to all the programs that have been on the PBS channels, such as Masterpiece theater, etc.
The one we are watching is "Astrid." It is set in Paris and its two main characters are Astrid, an adult autistic gal, and Raphaelle, a commander with the local police Crime Squad. In a word, it is magnifique! The crimes and mysteries are their usual BBC best, but the characterizations of the main and secondary characters are wonderful. As Harry Potter's world had to deal with the non-wizard "muggles," the autistic adults here have us neuro-typicals to contend with!.
Please give it a try and see what you think.

Spoiler alert: It is is French but the English subtitles are perfect. I'd advise you to keep the volume high enough to hear the French. Even if you never took it in high school, the mannerisms and facial reactions add to the flow. It is not at all distracting and after a surprisingly short amount of time, you'll even catch on to some of the words yourself!  

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Shore life


One of the many great things about the web is the ability to put local newspapers online so that when you're out of town you can keep up with all that you're missing at home! To that end I read our paper every day. And, of course the continual surprise is that the same things that are going on at home, are going on here! At least in the summer.

Here, for instance, is their local Hereford lighthouse where they have tours, a museum, a gift shop and lovely gardens and surroundings. Every year we come and walk around it and enjoy the atmosphere of a working lighthouse, just like two of our three ones at home. The whole summer tourism "industry" is still in full swing right now as the last weeks before schools open and the weather changes in mid-September come soon.

Here is a view taken from the seawall that protects an area of one small town built right up to the ocean. The view is similar to many lake views we have, but we don't seem to have the need for so many protections, as we have no real tides to speak of nor the storms and water damage that can come in.
Erosion, however, is common all along the Lake Erie shoreline, especially difficult for property owners.

But, there are some very nice differences to enjoy: Jersey tomatoes and corn, white sand, an outstanding 12-mile county walking trail, and very warm days/cool nights. 

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Parish visitor


I admit to soft feelings toward Madonna and Child statues/paintings/photos. I especially like all the seemingly eternal representations of the Mary/Jesus pairing. Be it from the Middle Ages or the 21st century, there are all sorts of poses, clothing, colors and ethnicities (which is very nice).

It must be a rather common Christian and even non-Christian spiritual symbol because they are very popular---for example, the United State Postal Service chooses a different Madonna every year as one of its special Christmas stamps.

On vacation again at the Jersey shore we are trying a new church that we found in a neighboring shore town last year when we decided that we just couldn't continue with the Mass at the nearby parish. I take full responsibility that I am spoiled from all of our monastic liturgies--Mass, LOH, etc. I have totally forgotten what it's like to be a parishioner. 

At this new church, St. Paul's, I noticed this Madonna and it has a look that caught my eye. It's quite lovely in person. I like the way her mantle drapes around her.

Of course, I will unabashedly name drop and admit that my most favorite of all the 100s I've seen is the actual "Pieta" in Rome. I could have just stood there forever...

Sunday, August 13, 2023

New Neighbors?

Along the western side of our property, across Troupe Rd, is a thick, wide, wooded area extending from East Lake Rd. about three-quarters of the way to Iroquois Ave. It seems to have been there since the monastery came onto the east side of Troupe Rd. in 1969. After all these years, it appears that we may be getting neighbors there! 

I honestly haven't heard anything "official" but the chat is that a person has bought the property and their first project is to build an "events' center." Read: a place for wedding receptions, anniversary parties, graduations, whatever one may need for a large event.

My friend Anne and I, being of a surprising adventurous spirit, took it upon ourselves to hike into the new area this week and this is what we found: the picture above is right at the entrance on Troupe Rd and is, as expected, a wide clearing made up of large boulders, muddy tracks from big equipment, and difficult going for foot traffic.

 Undaunted, we took to the woods where the going was much clearer and cleaner and here is where we landed after a short 10-minute walk north, toward East Lake Rd.---a very large clearing, though surrounded by a thick boundary of trees. An events' center?

Stay tuned to this site as I will bring you updates every month or so as our new neighbor grows into whatever it will be.

Sunday, August 6, 2023


For the "leisure" part of our LLL Community Days (learning, leisure and legislation) we were able to have a leisure day that included some options that most of us hadn't done since pre-Covid years. One of them was to go putting at our new mini-golf course, right beside the main branch of the library downtown. The sisters report that it is a great "course" and that they had a wonderful time.

Another option was an afternoon cruise on the paddleboat, The Victorian Princess. The day was warm and sunny and the time spent on Presque Isle Bay was so beautiful. Here's Sisters Judith, Anne, Michelle and Rose Ann, with Lucia and Kathy in the second photo.

Finally, another large number attended our Double A, Detroit franchise, Seawolves baseball game. They lost, but are still in first place and the night at the ballpark was full of fans, families and a "take me out to the ball game" atmosphere.

Other events included a music duo in the morning at the monastery, trips to Presque Isle, the Zoo, and visits to our local wineries, as the grape crop this year is on its way to being one of the best ever!

And looking forward to 2024 already, today's local paper ran a long article on the solar eclipse next April 8, as it will be passing right over Erie, in its path across the US. Hotel rooms are already filling up!