More and more, our monastery grounds look like Advent-land, with many Highways to our God. We are not worried, though. For soon Christmas and the winter snows will come. Then, all the rough places will be made smooth. This time, putting up a building has been somewhat of a joy, not exactly a piece of cake, but more like a batch of Christmas cookies.
history is shaped by the many kind acts of ordinary people.
In December, 1997, we blessed our new bell-tower. Because the weather was nippy, we prayed and sang from our "run-way" windows, joined by our friends, Bob and Jacqueline, and Msgr. Morrissey. With great gustos and contentos (Spanish words for the consolations of God), our senior member rang the beautiful sounding bell. This year, we will ring the bell for our dear friend, Bill, who painted the tower. Bill will be listening to the bell (christened the Voice of God) from a special place in heaven. Thank you, Bill, for all you have done for us through the years.
love is always situated in the concrete.
Soon after our building project began, there appeared huge piles of "sugar clay" near the building site. These mini- mountains were a glorious paradise not only to our pets, but especially to our contractor's young children. When the concrete work actually began, we were told that in Mexico it is a sign of good luck if a dog or rooster leaves fresh prints on the concrete. Cocoa, our dog, must have been listening, for with great innocence, she left a permanent record of our good luck on the wet concrete, which indeed came to be the case. This doggie gift was probably a thank you for the Doritos she stole from the workers.
joy is the serious business of heaven.
On November 14, amidst procession and beautiful chant, we hosted The Quad City Vietnamese Catholic Community in an unusual Rosary service and Eucharist. We quickly learned how to bow and smile in Vietnamese. Although our gracious guests found the English language to be quite a challenge, with unexcelled diction they informed us that they would be bringing "pop and cookies." Our world got bigger that day.
in the end, life always asks for the heart.
On November 21, our Sister Helen Sanchagrin, whose last name means without worry," made her definitive transfer from the Sisters of St. Joseph in Kalamazoo, Michigan to the Carmel of Eldridge. Friends, family and both religious communities were a part of this beautiful and moving Ceremony of Transfer. Welcome, Sister Helen! As the poet says, the best is yet to be, the last for which the first was made! Truly, the joy is in the Journey.
enter, o child of bethlehem, and make us beautiful within.
If you are driving north on Old 61, you can now see our monastery from the road. At the time of this writing, we are doing research on designing just the right decor for the upper part of the south wall. We may have the word CARMEL with three stars.
would that i had been a tiny straw or just a little star that holy night!..........
In closing, we promise you our prayers, every day. In keeping with an old custom, we will place a candle in the Window, telling all who pass by that they are welcome and that they will always be a part of our life here together.