Christmas Spirit

Christmas Spirit

I recently came across words of Calvin Coolidge that keep running through my mind as Christmas draws near: "Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas." I would add that Christmas is also a state of heart. When peace and joy, love and care, kindness and compassion are deeply rooted in our hearts, the real spirit of Christmas is reflected in our thoughts, words, actions and prayers.

As we remember and revel in the birth of Christ perhaps we would do well to consider these words. In a world where violence abounds and sadness overwhelms, where peace is fleeting and justice seems out of reach, maybe the real spirit of Christmas could make a difference. "To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy" is needed to inspire hope, motivate courage, name needs and effect change.

The season of Christmas is a special one; it has a spirit that is singular and unique, heartwarming and love-filled. It doesn't have to end when the decorations come down and the gifts are put away. It is truly a spirit that can live on if we allow ourselves to cherish peace, practice good will, and extend mercy each and every day.

I hope you have had the chance to enjoy the photo video on our homepage. Beautiful photos of some of the stained glass windows in the monastery and the sisters' handbell choir playing: 'Twas in the Moon of Wintertime are meant to offer you a quiet moment. This gentle Huron carol is an invitation to pause and reflect on the birth of the Radiant One, the bringer of beauty, peace and joy.

In the name of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie I wish you and yours a memorable Christmas. May you be blessed with an abundance of Christmas spirit ─ enough to take you into the New Year and fill you with the hope and courage needed to make the world a better place.

Sister Anne Wambach, Prioress

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.