Light through Stained Glass Windows by Susan Doubet

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Updated: 22 min 40 sec ago

Record high

Mon, 2020-05-25 08:09
A record high for the date was hit yesterday here in Erie, 86 degrees. After languishing in the high 50s and 60s for most of the month you can imagine how 86 felt! The sunny, warm weather is bringing the sisters outdoors in droves--well, not exactly droves, but a lot! Both sisters and residents of Benetwood Apartments, the 75-apartment HUD project just south of us, can be found walking the sidewalks throughout the day. It's really been nice to see so many of us enjoying the outdoors.

Erie continues in the yellow stage this week despite many of the counties to the south and east of us moving into the green stage. We just have too many people in the city to stem the catching of the virus. Luckily we have had only 4 deaths over this whole time. We hope that it continues to be that number. Most people are recovering.

Cardinals are one of our most frequent residents.
The males are always so eye-catching.
Here's one of the many flowering trees
that are popping out with the warm temps.
Two Canada geese and their babies--social distancing.

Could have been a blonde

Wed, 2020-05-20 19:28
I just finished Anne Tyler's latest book, Redhead by the side of the road. I love her writing--I love her writing.

I am trying to figure out what I love the most about her books. Is it the dialogue between the characters? Maybe it's the characters themselves? They have that could-be-your-brother-in-law or aunts or neighbor lady feel. Maybe it's the descriptions of Baltimore or the Atlantic beaches or the houses and homes themselves? Perhaps it's the spirit of conversion and grace that permeates all her stories.

This one centers around Micah, aka Tech Hermit, the latest in Tyler's "heroes" around which the whole story bobs and weaves--an ordinary fellow and yet not, at the same time. Micah is a sympathetic guy, as are his circle of family and friends--but he's got to get himself together on a few things---which is a common theme for Tyler. And, yes, it has a "happy ending" but Tyler-like, not standard movie fare!

Oh, and the title: Micah's middle aged eyes are changing and on his morning run he is forever mistaking a fire hydrant as a little redheaded child! The same fire hydrant on the same corner in the same place every day--classic Tyler.

Local fun

Sun, 2020-05-17 19:37
It is gosling time in our town....all you have to do is go 1/2 mile south of us on Troupe Rd as the plastics plant there has a large pond in front and every year Canada geese gather and show off their new goslings to all the traffic going by--on the other side of the fence! Cute as can be. The peninsula must have 100s at this time, too, as the geese are everywhere there.

What are you doing for fun? a friend asked me recently. Well, it's not too hard in a "family" of 63 people to find things to do, alone or with others. There seems to be a card game or board game going on every night in the community room. We do have cable TV so there is always something good on somewhere, too. And our monastery library has an excellent, truly excellent collection of fiction to balance the more serious sections.

But for me I am bereft of BBC mysteries. Right before the stay-at-home orders came I had been to our local branch library and brought home six DVDs, which, of course, we've gotten through by now. somewhat desperation, I went to our DVD cupboard to see what we have. The result is a collection of four "retro" series that we are enjoying: Murder She Wrote, Magnum PI (which has a surreal quality since Tom Selleck is known to this TV generation as police commissioner Frank Reagan of Blue Bloods fame), Poirot (an Agatha Christie detective that I never warmed up to but really rather like now) and, finally, our favorite, the first season of House (the unusual quirky doctor and his young residents). We'd forgotten how M.A.S.H.-like the dialogue is. Add the intriguing medical "mystery" that each episode brings and it makes a really good series.. Nonetheless, I can't wait until out library system opens up again. We have some of our favorites already reserved.

Of Mary Queen of Peace

Wed, 2020-05-13 21:53
As you may have read on our website, our Sr. Kate Disbrow died last Thursday. She had been failing for quite a bit of time. She'd bounce back and they have a downturn, bounce back, have a bad spell over and over. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic we couldn't have a Mass of Christian Burial so we fashioned our own service, a kind of combination of our Memory Service rituals with some of the ones that follow a funeral service. It was a beautiful experience, with many of our sisters who hadn't been able to come to the Mount for two months present at last.

We will have a Memorial Mass as soon as our diocese gets the OK to celebrate Masses for more than 10 people. When will that be?!

Meanwhile we are working hard to make our own prayer and liturgies special and memorable in themselves. Kate will go down in community lore as the sister who died during the coronavirus of 2020!

In her memory I share one of my all-time favorite spring photos: the irises in front of the Benetwood Apartments out building. Beautiful, if I may say so myself.

Blessing on all of you....stay well and, as our Sr. Kate was memorialized, be kind to all.

Oh, that's her title...a beautiful one, isn't it?

Walking through the woods

Sun, 2020-05-10 20:38
This Sunday afternoon brought a long walk to the lake, via the woods in springtime. We met as many sisters on the trails as we did wildflowers and birds. One sister saw a pileated (Woody) woodpecker and even caught a photo of it on her phone. I have never seen one so I have to be alert and go on the hunt now.

Here's a crab apple tree in its spring color.

A May Apple from above and underneath--you canjust barely see the small "apple" starting.

And here are a trio of Jack in the Pulpits,with a Sunday haiku in spring:
"Reverend John is preachingbut I much preferJack-in-the-pulpits."

Audubon Chapter

Wed, 2020-05-06 21:04
Our sisters are becoming great birders. Every day when walking along the cloister walk from the chapel to the dining room more and more of them are stopping at one of the five windows or at the glass double doors to take a look outside into the inner courtyard, hoping to catch a glimpse of a bird at a feeder, in the bird bath or just sitting in a tree. Amazing!

Here's the view of our flowering library courtyard tree
from the actual library!

And here it is by itself. A real beauty
that we wait for each spring.

Here is our first Baltimore Oriole
of the flight.

And here it is, the female, at the feeder.

Sister Nancy Drew

Sun, 2020-05-03 21:36
I've gotten involved in archival work over the last few years...amateur, of course, but learning as I go. I like the organizational part of it and the making of endless lists of like things, checking the dates, getting the facts right. But the part that I've really come to love is the "Nancy Drew" moments...the finding of things we had no idea we had or even existed. It's such a "rush" to come upon them. Nancy Drew, girl detective. Or in this case Sister Nancy Drew, nun detective!

This weekend we were walking out the main entrance of the monastery and in turning left I noticed that the flowers in front of our main sign were beautiful, so I grabbed my camera and said, "I have to go over and take a photo of the sign." Six photos later--look what I found. A Nancy Drew moment!

Here's the east side of the sign. Beautiful.

But, upon closer inspection, hiding behind the overgrown
bushes...a lovely PEACE sign!
So I ran over to the west side.

Sure enough, moving in closer, there's its PEACE sign.
Now I was suspicious. Here's the north and lo and behold
the Nuclear Free Zone sign! I hadn't seen it
for years...almost totally wrapped up in a huge bush.
But, the best was yet to come--the south side.
I knew there was a small door to get inside and underneath.
I think it holds utility connections coming from the street
to the Mount. But what's that beside it?
A dedication plaque! Thanking ten donors for the funds
to erect the sign on this out building. I didn't recognize all of
the names, but most are the same as one of our sisters:
Staub, Hoover, Shaw, Paultis, Meahl, Schierberl, Maher.

Becoming a teenager

Wed, 2020-04-29 20:56
This Friday PA governor Tom Wolf has announced the opening of golf courses, marinas and campgrounds if they follow the new virus precautions. He will also soon be announcing which counties in PA can begin opening as early as May 8. We think that Erie County will be among them as our cases per 1,000 residents are quite small.

Through today we have had:
87 cases, 2 deaths
53% of the infected are female
63% are Caucasian
32% are in the 25-49 age group, the largest group affected
Zone 1, the City of Erie, has had 54 of the 87 cases.

Forsythia at Benetwood Apartments. Beautiful this year.
Thirteen years ago, on April 30, 2007 I began this blog. There was no photo accompaniment, not much in design or colors. Just a little text and a really humble beginning. Can't believe it's been that long, it feels sort of like 6-7 years, at most. Here's the very first entry of over 1,300 posts since. Geeessssh!

Stained-Glass Windows

We are all still reeling from the "official" opening of the renovated chapel this weekend. This morning's Morning Praise was breathtaking. The no-longer-carpeted floor, now ceramic tiled....and the no-longer acoustically-tiled ceiling, now Pennsylvania natural wood have transformed the sounds of the chant and music. It is overwhelming. The 16 floor to ceiling stained-glass windows still make up the north and south walls. I'm taking a seat on the north side, facing south, so that I have a view of the morning sun through the windows and their reflections on the tiles.

One of the most popular Benedictine mottoes fits the day: That in all things may God be glorified.

A to Z

Sun, 2020-04-26 20:51
This weekend I had experiences from A to Z.

The A is courtesy of the National Arbor Foundation who sent one of our sisters 10 Douglas Fir saplings as a thank you for her support. I'm very excited about more evergreens. Somehow they help us get through the winters, as they keep their beautiful greenery all year round. Here are the newly planted firs in one of our garden areas.

Then, on Saturday, at our annual April Community Weekend, we organized our first all-community "Zoom meeting" with over 20 sisters who live in Erie/out of Erie, joining in via the popular online meeting option. Even our presenter, from St. Benedict's Monastery in Minnesota, gave her presentations courtesy of the ease of Zoom. Well.....I shouldn't say ease. It came off without a hitch and looked very easy--however, it took one of our very "techie sisters" most of two weeks to offer tutorials to every house to get them Zoom proficient. But, they did it and should be very proud of themselves. Everyone could see, everyone could hear and the gathering came off without a hitch. Even when the sisters at the Mount divided into smaller groups for discussion, the Zoomers were a discussion group, too. Historic, for sure!

Here's what the big screen at the Mount looked like.There's our speaker, second row from the bottom, far left.One of the large views of the Mount, top row, second from left.

We are very much alike

Wed, 2020-04-22 20:10
Commonalities are starting to emerge from columnists writing about spending 6-7 weeks "at home." One of the ones we can relate to is that of appreciation of nature, particularly, the coming of spring. When you're indoors looking out the windows for hours, walking the dog or even taking a short drive in your car you see a lot of the coming of spring, that you might in a normal year walk quickly by.

Here are some parts of our spring this year that we are seeing with different eyes. Two geese are really hanging around. The female is obviously with eggs, as she wobbles rather than walking straight. They travel around and around our place, day and night. We're hoping they may have their goslings under a bush or other semi-private place nearby. The birds...we have so many birds. It's probably because we are on the lake and also just 5-6 miles from the east end of the peninsula where their bird sanctuary lies. A bald eagle flew over this week, as did two blue heron. The red cardinals are everywhere and they are just as stunning on our blooming magnolia tree as they are on a new snowfall. And finally, of course, the flowers. How do these daffodils and forsythia stand the fluctuation in temps (from 60 to 35) and "water" from warm rain to icy hail? But survive and thrive they do--as have the hyacinths, the primrose and the beginning stems of the bleeding hearts. How's your spring?

One world

Sun, 2020-04-19 21:44
Wasn't that 2-hour concert last night, One World: All together at home, just great? And that final number...oh my, WOW! It's on youtube, BTW, in case you haven't checked yet and want to hear anything again. And, one more thing, how about the three major TV networks all broadcasting it?!?! When has that happened for such an event?

Here are some more things to counter the anxiety, worry and just general seriousness of the times.

Holy Week & Easter

Wed, 2020-04-15 21:25

Friends keep asking how we're doing, how has the week been at the Mount? This gives the answer better than anything else I've seen or heard. Enjoy: Holy Week and Easter at the Mount.