Light through Stained Glass Windows by Susan Doubet

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Updated: 1 hour 45 min ago

146 migrant chidren arrive in Erie

Sun, 2021-04-18 20:35

Here are some excerpts from the Erie Times News following the arrival of 146 girls, ages 7-12, unaccompanied migrants entering the US.

"While the Biden administration has called on states to provide shelters and help ease the backlog of unaccompanied minors at the border, only two non-border states have done so--Michigan and Pennsylvania.

As of now, Erie is the only city in Pennsylvania to set up an Emergency Intake Site, a temporary shelter that allows migrant children to move out of packed US Customs and Border Protection facilities and into the care of the US Dept. of Health and Human Services.

The Erie site, a dormitory in Summit Township was offered by the owner for federal use. At the site they are receiving medical care, clean beds and clothes as case workers begin the task of linking them with relatives or vetted sponsors in the US. Federal officials say that the majority of the girls do have family or relations in the country."

Donations and volunteers have been plentiful, although volunteering is not easy, as three clearances are needed. For now between 75-100 federal staff are caring for the children. However, donated items (socks, flip-flops, sweatshirts, jackets, underwear and games, such as puzzles) can be dropped off at the Erie First Assembly Church on Oliver Rd. or at the monastery and we'll get them there. 

Thanks to Sisters Pat Lupo and Rosanne Lindal Hynes, pictured above in an Erie Times News article last week, who helped purchase the initial supplies for the children. And thanks for the generous people of Erie who responded so quickly. We're not surprised--we have had 1,000s of immigrants over the last decade or so--many coming through our SBEC programs-- and have, generally, welcomed them warmly.

Favorites for everyone

Wed, 2021-04-14 20:33

 If you live in a four-season climate or even maybe just a two-season one, I'm sure you have your change-of-seasons favorite moments: the first hummingbird that comes, the first winter wonderland snowfall, the first pumpkins that are displayed in the same place every year, the first day it's warm enough to sunbathe.

Well, in Erie we have many firsts when winter changes to spring. It would be much too hard to list my ten top favorites--I don't think I could get them down to only ten! But among the top three would definitely be this one: the blossoms on the flowering pear tree in the center of our library courtyard--on which at least half of our bedrooms have a view. But the view I catch it with is the one from the library itself. I'm walking down a hallway, just as I was this week, and suddenly out of the corner of my eye, this huge white expanse goes by--and I know instantly what it is: the whole pear tree has erupted and fills the panes of glass that cover the east wall of our library.

Every year I try to take a more perfect picture of what my eye sees. But I must tell you, they never catch exactly what we see. Nevertheless, here's this year's attempt.

For those of you with whom we are sharing the coming of spring, I hope you are getting wonderful pink and yellow and white surprises everywhere you look. One more of my favorites: the route I take into my ministry each day, through some pretty dilapidated neighborhoods and the unexpected gloriously blooming dogwoods or magnolia trees, in the yards and up against the most humble of abodes. Good thing nature doesn't care where it comes through.

We are all one.

Sun, 2021-04-11 20:02

 This weekend I enjoyed an annual event in my family--watching The Masters golf tournament. Well, we didn't watch it much when we were kids, but by the time we were young adults, being a golfing family ourselves, we took great pleasure in the annual April event from the gorgeous course in Augusta, Georgia.

I miss not being able to watch it with my parents now, all of us offering commentary, advice and past stories throughout the tournament. 

One thing worth noting this year: the first Japanese player won! Hideki Matsuyama, a 29 year old, 10 year professional who had won as low amateur at the Masters ten years ago. The commentators shared great remembrances and history of all of the fine Japanese golfers that had played in the Masters over the years and telling the audience that Matsuyama will become a national icon in his golf-crazy native country after this win.

How wonderfully ironic and blessed news this is as it comes at the most prestigious US golf event, right at the time of the racial prejudices against Asians. The pious might say, "God works in mysterious ways!"

Easter Vigil 2021

Wed, 2021-04-07 21:12

The story, in its entirety, would be 3 1/2 hours long! Here's the short version.
Saturday night, April 3; 6:15 p.m. an electrical power outage hits our area of Harborcreek.
8:00 p.m. We begin the traditional Easter Vigil service after much scurrying to find:
  • a portable mic system
  • scores of flashlights/battery-operated lighting devices, especially for each musician,
  • contacting all the principle players, including Fr. Bob Brugger, who is a "prince of a guy" for going along with us in this (ad)venture! "Jesus probably didn't have electricity at the Last Supper," he wisely noted, "so I guess we can do without it, too."

What you see above is a concoction of three smaller lights held together with blue duct tape,mounted on a stand at the primary lectern--looks like something out of Star Wars to me!
Do you remember MacGyver (1985-1992) where Richard Dean Anderson played a genius-level guy who solved tough cases by jury-rigging whatever was at hand to get in and out of situations for each week's dilemma--fighting for the good guys? That's exactly what our Sister Mary MacGyvers did for an hour getting set up for this not-to-be-soon-forgotten Easter Vigil. BTW: an updated MacGyver has been on since 2016--an undercover government agent who uses ingenious engineering techniques in his weekly cases.

Here's what the north side of the chapel looked like. Yes, there were four emergency lights on. 

Here's the south side.

And here are my orchestra bells with a lantern-type flashlight hanging with fishing wire so we could get it toilluminate the music and the steel bars equally!
The lights came back on at 9:45 p.m. just as Communion was ending and the organ had time to warm up for the last song--which gave new meaning to rousing.
To all of our next year's guests---sure, we'll try to duplicate it in 2022---just for you!


Sun, 2021-04-04 20:38

 "Black Swallowtail"

The caterpillar,
interesting but not exactly lovely,
humped along among the parsley leaves
eating, always eating. Then
one night it was gone and in its place
a small green confinement hung by two silk threads
on a parsley stem. I think it took nothing with it
except faith, and patience. And then one morning
it expressed itself into the most beautiful being.

Mary Oliver

Good Friday

Fri, 2021-04-02 13:50

 "Broken, Unbroken"

The lonely
stand in the dark corners
of their hearts.

I have seen them
in cities,
and in my own neighborhood,

nor could I touch them
with the magic
that they crave

to be unbroken.
Then, I myself,

said hello to
good fortune.

came along
and lingered
and little by little

became everything
that makes the difference.
Oh, I wish such good luck

to everyone.
How beautiful it isto be unbroken.
Mary Oliver

April Fool's Day--7:00 a.m.

Thu, 2021-04-01 09:29


Holy Thursday

Wed, 2021-03-31 18:58

 "Coming to God: First Days"

Lord, what shall I do that I
can't quiet myself?
Here is the bread, and
here is the cup, and
I can't quiet myself.

To enter the language of transformation!
To learn the importance of stillness with one's hands folded.

When will my eyes of rejoicing turn peaceful?
When will my joyful feet grow still?
When will my heart stop its prancing as over the summer grass?

Lord, I would run for you, loving the miles for your sake.
I would climb the highest tree
to be that much closer.

Lord, I would learn also to kneel down
into the world of the invisible, the inscrutable and the everlasting.
Then I will move no more than the leaves of a tree on a day of no wind,
bathed in light,
like the wanderer who has come home at last
and kneels in peace, done with all unnecessary things;
every motion; even words.

Mary Oliver

Palm Sunday

Sun, 2021-03-28 06:59

 "The Poet Thinks about the Donkey"

On the outskirts of Jerusalem
the donkey waited.
Not especially brave, or filled with understanding,
he stood and waited.

How horses, turned out into the meadow,
leap with delight!
How doves, released from their cages,
clatter away, splashed with sunlight!

But the donkey, tied to a tree as usual, waited.
Then he let himself be led away.
Then he let the stranger mount.

Never had he seen such crowds!
And I wonder if he at all imagined what was to happen.
Still, he was what he had always been: small, dark, obedient.

I hope, finally, he felt brave.
I hope, finally, he loved the man who rode so lightly upon him,
as he lifted one dusty hoof and stepped, as he had to, forward.

Mary Oliver


Wed, 2021-03-24 20:08

New record highs for the date are coming in all the time over the last couple of weeks. We are thrilled--as spring seems to be really here. This bunch of crocuses popped out today. The only sadness is that we are preparing for the second Holy Week/ Easter in a row without guests, family and friends.

My own goldensnowglobe for Erie/Harborcreek:

                        2019-2020        2020-2021

November            7.9"                    1.1"

December            15.1"                   25.9"

January                16.6"                    14.4"

February               26.7"                   22.2"

March                    0.0"                       0.0"

April                       1.1"                    TBD

                                67.4"                    63.6" (so far)   

Spring has come to Erie---Alleluia!

Sun, 2021-03-21 19:31

I rose this morning early as usual, and went to my desk.But it's spring,and the thrush is in the woods,somewhere in the twirled branches, and he is singing.And so, now, I am standing by the open door.And now I am stepping down onto the grass.I am touching a few leaves.I am noticing the way the yellow butterf liesmove together, in a twinkling cloud, over the field.And I am thinking: maybe just looking and listeningis the real work.Maybe the world, without us,is the real poem.
Mary Oliver

Mid-March--getting there!

Wed, 2021-03-17 20:59

 This week brings the very middle of March, the first day of spring and, surprisingly for our Lake Plain living, warmer winds and early higher temps. Here are some of the scenes that are also creeping forward.

A ride around our Presque Isle State park brought this sighting of a beaver dam! Like icebergs, the larger section is below the water's surface.
One day these weren't there, the next day (it seemed) they were 6" tall.Those lumpy pods are---yes, daffodils getting ready!
Our primroses....always the first to appear.
What's special about this? See that large vertical piece of last year's mulch left of center? I love how it was lifted up and nearly overturned by those 4-5 leaves.The plants are relentless--no amount of soil covering will stop their "eruption"!

St. Patrick's--our first (vaccinated) celebration

Sun, 2021-03-14 22:10

 Our ice fishing season was quite short this year and is all over now. "Regular fishing" was going on everywhere this weekend as the creeks, bay and lake are wide open. 

Also this week we will be celebrating St. Patrick's Day with the first party/gathering we've had at our ministry--the offices of Emmaus Ministries, AIM USA, Benetvision and Sister Joan's writing/speaking--in a year. In fact it was exactly a year ago that we were decorated and set up for a St. Patrick's/March birthday party when everything closed and stayed that way for quite a while. In fact, I remember coming into the office in May or June to pick up more things to work on at home, and finding all the decorations and birthday cards for two of our staff, right where they were left in mid-March. It was an eerie feeling to just see everything as if we had just walked out the door--which in essence, I guess, is what we did.

One year later we're going to try it again--the same two staffers are having another birthday and St. Patrick's is on a Wednesday now, the same decorations pulled out and put up--let's hope this one can come off without a (COVID) hitch.

A groupie

Wed, 2021-03-10 22:09

I am an unabashedly, crazy groupie of Barbara Brown Taylor! I have actually been to hear her--twice, and would travel a couple hundreds miles to hear her, anytime, any place. I suspect many of you are the same.

I am reading one of her books I hadn't read yet, the 2014 book, Learning to Walk in the Dark.

Of course, I'm only on the Introduction, as I read it super slowly because I don't want to ever get to the end...really. Here's my favorite line, some of my favorite lines, from her introduction:

"Step 1 of learning to walk in the dark is to give up running the show. Next you sign a waiver that allows you to bump into some things that may frighten you at first. Finally you ask darkness to teach you what you need to know....There is some good news you can use: even when light fades and darkness falls--as it does every single day in every single life--God does not turn the world over to some other deity. Even when you cannot see where you are going and no one answers when you call, this is not sufficient proof that you are alone...Here is the testimony of faith: darkness is not dark to God; the night is as bright as day."

 P.S.  The last one I read of hers was: Always a Guest.  It was a collection of about 40 homilies she gave in various venues, churches, gathering--in the last 15 years or so--including two from our summer Chautauqua Institution events. Marvelous, just marvelous. 


Sun, 2021-03-07 20:29

When it comes to COVID-19 testing, being negative is a good thing, not a bad thing! The community has tested negative numerous times now, along with receiving two doses of the vaccine "into our arms," as Dr. Anthony Fauci and the other experts say. All of that has led to a resumption of some normal activities over the past week. One of them is the re-assembling of the chapel, along with a return to our regular chapel seats. This has enhanced our prayer--both chanting the psalms and our singing--greatly. Another much-appreciated easing up is our ability to gather together in the common rooms of the Mount for fun, meals, snacks, projects and anything else that brings a number of friends together. 

To that end I have been waiting for weeks to share one of my Christmas gifts--a unique jigsaw puzzle. Here it is in its box as well as with an accompanying picture of what it's suppose to look like when finished. What's unique about it? It's not rectangular. The owl has its natural borders!

We have a designated table in the community room for such activities. It will be going there this week. I hope it brings a lot of fun to the solvers.

Still winter in March--only softer.

Wed, 2021-03-03 20:59

 A red-tailed hawk landing on the fire escape one morning.
And, the latest charting of the 100 snowiest cities with populations of 100,000 or more.Thank God we are not #1--not exactly what we want used on our Chamber of Commerce marketing material !
Fourth column from the left=current inches of snowfallFifth column=average total inches for this date.

1-1Buffalo, New York




2-2Worcester, Mass




3-3Syracuse, New York




Last Seasons ChampsRochester, New York




5-5Erie, Pennsylvania




How's Lent Going?

Sun, 2021-02-28 20:47


How's Lent going? Well, it's only been 12 days, but it's coming along pretty well, I'd say.

We have our once-a-year hymns, which are all very nice to include at the beginning of prayer. There are a number of mantra-like verses, which get inside you when they are chanted two or three times over and over.

However, one of the new parts this year is on the dining room tables, I think they are those fast growing bean plants. Many of them are already up (see photo) and to a place that hasn't seen outdoor growth for 4-5 months now, it's really a nice sight. The local weather man told us that March 1 is the meteorological first day of spring. What that means I do not know--but with 3-4 days with a high in the low 50s last week, we are getting teasers of a spring that won't come March 1, I assure you. But it's on its way.

Meanwhile, you may know from reading our website, we lost our Sr. Andrea Friday morning. Helen H. did her usual wonderful job of crafting a display of Andrea for all of us to enjoy and reminisce over. One of the special blessings of community life.

Winter birds

Wed, 2021-02-24 21:00

Here in Erie we have winter birds or I guess it would be more proper to say that we have birds that winter with us. They are here in the summer, too. The ones I see most often at our feeders are chickadees, nuthatches, cardinals and woodpeckers. There are a few other kinds, but I'm not as good identifying them as I should be!

It is quite amazing to me that they stay with us, however, I have to remember that we don't get as cold as say the midwest, but with all this snow (we are at 60" now--well below our average through this date, but still a lot) you might think they wouldn't. However, the bird feeders are many in this area so I suspect if they can find suitable shelter, the food might keep them here. Oh, and of course, there is endless fresh lake and creek water.

Winter and the Nuthatch

Once or twice and maybe again, who knows,
the timid nuthatch will come to me
if I stand still, with something good to eat in my hand.
The first time he did it
he landed smack on his belly, as though
the legs wouldn't cooperate. The next time
he was bolder. Then he became absolutely
wild about those walnuts.

But there was a morning I came late and, guess what,
the nuthatch was flying into a stranger's hand.
To speak plainly, I felt betrayed.
I wanted to say: Mister
that nuthatch and I have a relationship.
It took hours of standing in the snow
before he would drop from the tree and trust my fingers.
But I didn't say anything.

Nobody owns the sky or the trees.
Nobody owns the hearts of birds.
Still, being human and partial therefore to my own successes--
though not resentful of others fashioning theirs--

I'll come tomorrow, I believe, quite early.

Mary Oliver

Four of our sisters heading over to our Glinodoproperty for some sledding down the big hill. (click to enlarge)

Sun brings shadows

Sun, 2021-02-21 21:37

 OMG, after two weeks of cold, cold temperatures (everything is relative, but for us "cold temperatures" means 20-25), the sun and warmth (ditto, "warmth" right now means 35!) broke through Sunday and I swear all of Erie was outdoors, squinting and taking in the natural Vitamin D.

For us it meant a walk to the lake at 2:00 pm, well past mid-day. These days sunrise is at 7:00 am and sunset at 6:00 among other things 2:00 pm brings are long, long shadows on the very white and sparkling snow.

Here are some of my rather ordinary attempts at catching this February phenomenon. For us, it is glorious!

All of our trees have their attached shadows nowadays.

I thought Scholastica's crozier looked quite impressive.

Walking on the Glinodo boardwalk to the lake.

COVID "holidays"

Wed, 2021-02-17 19:45

The entry right before this one was predicting that the snowstorm that is still devastating Texas, Louisiana and numerous other central, southern states would hit us as it made its way up to the northeast. Well, that didn't happen. We got 3" Tuesday morning and almost another 3" by evening. We, however, can handle that pretty easily. Oh, BTW, there was no ice involved. That even stops us!

Today we celebrated a COVID Ash Wednesday. Which means that we didn't receive ashes in the normal way. There were ashes available in the chapel all day if anyone wanted to use them, but there was no general reception of ashes. Amazing changes throughout this year.

And, then, in the early afternoon we had our second vaccine shot. The first one came on Jan. 20th, inauguration day; the second one Ash Wednesday and the last one will be March 17 for those who just started today. Being a "congregate" living situation with 82 in the community and a number having already caught the virus, we were able to qualify. I'm calling them the holiday surprises.