Sunday, January 24, 2021

This is late January

Winter has finally set in. Our amount of snow has doubled in the last 3 weeks, some days the high temp is in the 20s, and during a walk I took today I saw ice floes just beginning in Lake Erie. On the other hand, says Pollyanna, this also means  the our heavy winter sweaters and turtlenecks can be worn, as well as our corduroy pants. It's like finding a whole new wardrobe!!

Since we live equidistant from Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Buffalo, we had a great time a couple weeks ago when they were all in the initial weekend of the NFL playoffs. Today we are down only to Buffalo and, as I write this, they are playing Kansas City in order to go to the Super Bowl February 7. Kansas City is near a Benedictine monastery in our federation and home to many of our friends, Mount St. Scholastica in Atchison, KS. But, one of our sisters was born and raised in Buffalo, so we'll be happy whoever wins! 

Friday, January 22, 2021


 A Democrat, feminist, Vatican II Catholic and Mr. Rogers all wrapped into one---

and fireworks that were magnificent.

WOW--What a day!

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Helicopter happenings


Here's the backstory: About 15 years ago or so a helicopter landed on our front lawn! It was in the middle of the night or late enough that most of us were asleep. One of my friends was one of the two sisters that witnessed this and told me later, "I didn't get you because I didn't want to wake you up that late." How often does a helicopter land at your house?! I have never forgiven her and at least once a year when something unusual happens I remind her that the next time a helicopter lands nearby I want to be awakened--no matter the time! 

This weekend I got a phone call that began "This is the makeup for the helicopter!" In other words, she hopes this will be enough that I stop reminding her to get me when anything exciting is going on! 

The call was telling me that a car was in the middle of our (large) side lawn. Sure enough, there it was. Stuck, deeply, in the muddy section that appears every winter due to the snow, rain and poor drainage there. Within an hour another car was stuck, a friend called and trying to help we presumed. What a mess! 

Soon the local state police arrived and over the next hour or so got a tow truck to come and pull both cars out and got our side yard cleared--although it was left with rather deep muddy ruts. 

I was "thrilled" that I was asked if I'd go out there, get the needed information and take pictures of the helicopter, I mean, stuck cars. (See above for a tire extraordinarily covered in mud.)

All is forgiven and not to be mentioned ever again.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Keeping our sanity

Today is Day #20 of our quarantine and it's getting a little kooky! So, we are trying hard to make our own fun. Here's a quick but challenging game. See how you measure up in our Monastic Match Game!

Five Benedictine "saints"---year of birth and year of death:

 _____St. Scholastica              A.  1832-1881          

_____St. Gertrude the Great     B. 1256-1302

_____Benedicta Riepp            C. 1098-1179

(First Benedictine woman in the USA)

_____St. Hildegard of Bingen    D. 1825-1862

_____Scholastic Burkhard        E. 480-543

(First prioress Benedictine Sisters of Erie)

 Five community members who were not born in Erie, Oil City or Sharon, PA

_____Mary Ellen P.            F. Rapid City, SD

_____Maggie Z.                G. Danvers, MA

_____Linda R.                    H. Muskegon, MI

_____Jen F.                        I. Honolulu, HI

_____Placida A.                J. Verdun, France

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Turning to Nature

After the atrocities of the past week, I think I'm going to keep my eye on nature to calm my soul, ease my anxiety and find honesty, truth and wholeness in the world. And, of course also to my friends!

Here are two shots that one of those friends, a fine photographer in her own right, took in our backyard at sunrise a week or so ago. The "red" one she took facing east, then she pivoted 180 degrees and found the "blue" one in the western sky. Very cool, isn't it? Nature speaks--beauty and loveliness.


Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Wear a mask


We are doing fine, thank you for all your thoughts and prayers that have been coming into us all week. You can see from the photo above that even Benedict is taking care! Who climbed up there and did this?! We don't know, but we think it's great. "We're all in this together," as they say.

On the other bit of news today, we are as amazed as you surely are at the goings on at the Capitol Building in Washington. Perhaps our national-elected officials will be "shocked" into realizing that for them to strive for common ground, peace and respect, in all their dealings, for all the people, are much more important than partisan politics and re-election strategies that so many of them seem to be under the spell of. 

Be well, stay healthy, help others. We will, too.

Sunday, January 3, 2021


Most of you probably have seen our website and its message that we have, after nine months of clear sailing, sisters that have tested positive for the COVID virus. As I write this I am happy to say that none of them are in the hospital seriously ill. In fact, they are all quite stable and the asymptomatic ones are just fine, obviously! As we are all pseudo-experts on this virus, we know that things can change quickly, so do keep us in your prayers as you, too, are in ours. 

Meanwhile, we are trying to keep spirits up. We offer prayer over the PA system at the usual times and we have a "newsletter" that goes out every other day, with announcements, prayer requests, updates and anything else of interest and information for all. 

We have also had a few activities to help pass the hours in our rooms. Some activities are even videoed from the back of chapel on our internal TV channel. Here is a sampling of one activity we had this past week. These were compiled from the New York Times Fun Facts from 2020. We turned them into multiple choice and true and false. "A good time was had by all."

Australia, Japan, USA’s (circle one) legal system has a 99% conviction rate.

Fishing, stagecoach driving, teaching high school remains the second most dangerous profession, after logging in the USA.

The ginkgo, maple, tulip is the oldest surviving tree species–on the planet for some 200 million years.

 About 95% of Egypt’s population live on about 4% of the land.  True or False?

In the 1960s rock concertgoers in NY and San Francisco were greeted with barrels of free apples, marijuana, T-shirts.

For decades after the birth of modern photography in 1839, one of the most common uses was a professionally shot photograph of yourself, family pet, dead family member.