Thoughts from the Prioress on balance

Thoughts from the Prioress on balance

A couple weeks ago two sisters and I walked down to our shoreline and were sitting on one of the piers that juts out into Lake Erie. We were delighted to see two blue herons fly by. There are many herons at nearby Presque Isle State Park but we only see them occasionally along Seven-Mile Creek—the creek that runs through the monastery grounds.

Suddenly one of them returned, flying low and fast. It landed right at the end of our pier about 30 feet from where we were sitting! Then we—the heron and the three of us—spent the next 20 minutes quietly enjoying the sunset over the water.

It was a unique and rare experience—a holy moment of silence, beauty, wonder and deep appreciation for all God’s creation. The heron, on its spindly legs, stood graceful and calm, so balanced and so in harmony with its surroundings. It gave me pause and I began to reflect on the importance of balance and harmony in the daily living of life. What brings balance to one’s life? What creates harmony? Might the answer be the simple life? Benedictines are called to the simple life of knowing God is present in everyone and everything. Because of this Benedictines reverence all of creation and take genuine pleasure in moments like watching the sunset with a blue heron and some friends. It is living like this, in the face of God’s greatness, that can enliven each of us and gift us with deep joy.

When the sun finally set, the evening quickly became quite cold. As we got up to leave, so did our blue heron. We turned to watch it fly west to Presque Isle, grateful for the blessing it had been for us.

Sister Anne Wambach, OSB, the twenty-first prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, Pennsylvania is a native of Philadelphia. She moved to Mount St. Benedict Monastery in 1992 to respond to a desire to experience the monastic way of life. Previously a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Chestnut Hill, Sister Anne began the formal transfer process to the Erie Benedictines in 1993 and made her monastic profession in 1997.

Sister Anne has served the people of the Diocese of Erie as a teacher at St. Gregory's School in North East, Pa., from 1992-1995, and at the Neighborhood Art House in Erie, beginning as program director in 1995 and as executive director since 2005. She served on the Monastic Council from 2006-2010.