Newsletter Fall 2003



O Saint of the Pilgrim Heart, determination was your walking stick, and the fire in your heart a light.

A statue of St. Teresa of Avila who wrote, that all things can be done in God.  (Life chapter 13 paragraph 3)

You realized that God, too is on a journey.

In your own unique way, you were able to deal

with the "bad inn" that was only for a night,

and your learned through experience, that big

things can be accomplished little by little.

Tell us again that true prayer makes us a

more loving people. We know that long before the poet ever

thought of it, you, yourself, knew that one act of kindness

was a thing of beauty, a joy forever, and that its loveliness

continues to increase. It will never pass into nothingness. (Keats)

O Woman of Dauntless Spirit, save us from any kind of discouragement.

Pray for us, who are still on the way. We place this cause in your hands.

The Lord's Prayer. Holy Teresa of Jesus, pray for us.

Autumn, 2003

Dear Friends of Carmel,

     We're told that   the best way to come up with a really good composition is to take one word and to write a whole page on it.   At this point, we're wondering what this one word might be.   Perhaps, the word would be “autumn.”   As the poet so aptly says, at this time of year, God comes to us as the sheaves in the harvest and as the sun at noontime, dispelling all our shadows and worries. ( John Donne, with a little help from us.)    Autumn, for us, means standing, with awe, before our neighbor's spacious bean field to the north .   It means seeing   another happy farmer driving down our gravel road pulling behind a wagon of gold, usually called corn.   Autumn is bringing in the red tomatoes full of sunshine, the yellow and red peppers, and healthy butternut squash.


      We spent part of autumn watching Mars, with the rest of the world .   On many evenings, this watching was a sort of homespun night prayer.   In the dark, we made our way, out under the willow tree, carefully, and watched the planet rise in the eastern sky.   Before retiring, we took another look, or found a window from which we could say “Good night” to this Kindly Light. We saw its red light, and, with the help of binoculars, saw something do a dance way out there.   Possibly,   the dance was staged by active gases, nearby, or maybe it was just our hands shaking a wee bit.


     In August, we had a lovely young woman, age 23 ,   join us for a two-week “Contemplative Experience.” She came to pray and discern her direction in life.   It was refreshing to touch the spirituality of someone that age, her view of life and her experience of God.   One morning, after Mass, Marie was enrolled in the Scapular of Carmel.   It was a beautiful and simple ceremony.   We felt that God was speaking to us in a new way during Marie's time here, and we are most grateful.


    With the onset of chilly mornings and shorter days, we usually make a list of what needs to be done before the winter months are upon us.   It will be difficult parting with the corn stalk growing near the eaves along our deck.   We are reminded of the definition of humor.   There is nothing funny about a corn stalk, and there's nothing really humorous about a rain gutter, but a corn stalk growing way up in a rain gutter does make one laugh and, for a wee moment, forget the seriousness of life.


     A few years ago, when two of our Carmelite Sisters were here from the Netherlands, we planted a “Holland Rose” to commemorate their wonderful visit.   In the correspondence that followed, we always gave an update on this special rose. But, alas, not too long ago, this lovely rose went to Flower Heaven.   We were determined not to remain sad, however.   A nearby nursery imports bulbs from the Netherlands each August. So, we will be planting crocuses from the Netherlands near our new “Alleluia” bell tower, which is not quite finished.   We look forward to a   “crocus in the snow,” announcing the coming of spring.   This is something we always wanted.


     The poet, Wordsworth, says that the best portion of anyone's life is all those nameless unremembered acts of kindness.   May all your kindnesses return to you, three times over.   Indeed, kindnesses live on!   Know that we do pray for you, every day.   Until we write again, may you be held in the Heart of God.


                                                                                      Your Carmelite Sisters – Eldridge, Iowa   

I saw ingathered and bound by love all the scattered leaves of the universe.    Dante



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