For This We Give Thanks…

Spring – Summer, 2021

It is ironic that with the social distancing demanded by the coronavirus pandemic, a new and different communal closeness has been born through the use of social processes such as Zoom. We at St Placid Priory have been providing our Spirituality Center retreats and course offerings to all through Zoom, hoping for, seeking that communal closeness which Covid-19 has not been able to entirely eradicate. Sister Lucy Wynkoop has worked non-stop to create programs that would reach out to all, create a bridge, extend a hand, during this time of great human isolation.

Jesus said to Peter: “Feed my sheep.” (John 21: 17) It is our hope that the Priory Spirituality Center retreats and programs, the Spiritual Direction our Sisters offer, and online Vocation gatherings hosted by Sister Julian Cleary–all offered through Zoom during this pandemic time–have been the food that Jesus wants us to offer each other. That this food brings us closer to Jesus the Christ and to one another. That this food nourishes our hearts and souls with the love of God and with love for each other.

And underlying and supporting all of this, has been our ongoing, continual, faithful, community Prayer. This has always been our most important work, our primary work.

Amanda Gorman, our National Youth Poet Laureate, passionately read her composition, “The Hill We Climb,” at President Biden’s Inauguration. From her poem:

“When day comes, we step out of the
shade,
Aflame and unafraid,
The new dawn blooms as we free it.
For there is always light,
If only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it…”

In Solidarity, we are brave enough to see the Light, be the Light, the Light of Christ for each other. We are brave enough to be the Zoom “reachers” and the Prayer healers for the sickness of this world.

Bat in the Dining Room
(Not the Belfry)

Shortly after we became aware of the Covid-19 virus, sometime in March of 2020, we were preparing to have a meal in the dining room and a bat revealed herself, darting from one corner of the room to the other, creating a criss-cross, geometric pattern. While opening one door, then another, we watched and waited, hoping the fresh air would lead her outside. For what seemed like a very long time, she flew around and among us. Finally she found the open door. We looked at one another and wondered: What was her message? One totem definition of a bat is that she is the symbol of letting go of fear, being free from fear. And so we entered more into the pandemic…

 

Saga of the Squirrels Continues

You may recall that we were using a little bit of cayenne pepper and other organic non-harmful potions to discourage the squirrels from eating at our bird feeders. Novice Mary Franklin has been busy ‘baffling’ the squirrels for months, beginning with that clever, home-made baffle contraption she built. She celebrated a birthday recently and was gifted with a
new name: The Squirrel Whisperer!

Sister Therese admires Novice Mary’s Squirrel Whisperer T-shirt
The Priory Arts Shop
Image from card by Sr. Monika

Sister Monika Ellis continues to add to the creative arts available at the Priory Arts Shop on our website. It’s the place to shop for handmade and hand-decorated gifts. Enjoy the fine needle- and wet-felted art, cards, knitted toy sheep, and other gifts, while supporting the ministries of the Benedictine Sisters of St. Placid Priory. Watch the website for new products arriving frequently. We give thanks for Sister Monika’s many creative gifts.

 

New Priory Phone System

We were surprised one day last July to open a letter from our phone carrier saying that they were discontinuing our type of phone service on October 1, and that we needed to purchase a  different, more expensive service or find another provider. Well, we found another provider, at a much lower monthly expense. We purchased the updated equipment required for our new service, since our phone equipment was several decades old and not compatible. Fortunately, our phone infrastructure only required minimal modification. To all of our friends who helped us update our phone system by responding to our Annual Appeal, we are so grateful!

 

Boiler Blips and Radiator Refluxes

Our heating and cooling system, too, is beginning to show signs of age. Just recently, Sister Anna-Camille Wooden heard ‘flood’ waters and we discovered a broken seal in something related to or near a boiler (yes, I am not the skilled maintenance Sister). This was of course approaching the midnight hour. We were able to reach one of the fellows in the company with whom we have a maintenance agreement and he came out and temporarily stopped the flooding that night. His name was Wade. Sister Monika began composing and singing a soulful melody with a low, deep tune, “Wading in the water…God’s gonna trouble the water…” and Sister Anna-Camille began soliciting volunteer sisters to “build an ark.” A couple days later, the repairs were finished (although the Ark-building never really began) and the song continues on within us! For the repairs, for the laughter and for the music–-for all this, we give thanks.