Newsletter Spring 2002
Dear Friend of Carmel,
We have found that the best way to get an inspiration for anything is simply to place a blue spiral notebook on the window seat in our long windowed corridor and to walk up and down, looking out in at least three directions all the while. Doing this at early dawn helps. Paradoxically, as we attempted to draw up our spring greetings to you, we did so in the midst of a winter snowstorm with temperatures below zero. We were reminded of a banner we once saw in a library with the following words inscribed on it: "Sometimes, I get lonesome for a big storm where everything changes." For a brief time, out here in Eldridge, everything changed and was wrapped in beauty!
The cover of our current Journey and the Joy features a sunrise with a quote about the radiance of Easter. It was quite a feat getting a photo of the sunrise over our monastery. It involved putting on winter clothes and trekking with the neighbor's dog on many pre-dawn mornings. We found that hiding in the bushes worked better. It kept the motorists from asking us if we wanted a ride.
The chief event in our lives since we last wrote to you was the passing of our Sister Mary Anne into eternal life. The rituals surrounding all of this were very beautiful. They included singing Vespers in her room with the Sacrament of the Sick a few days before she died. It was Mary Anne's music. Following that, we shared stories and even managed to get a faint chuckle from her during this.
We know that the sound waves of Mary Anne's music live on in the air, in the clouds and in the movement of the flowers. Although it is very different now, in the early days of Carmel, there were no musical instruments. For composing, Sister Mary Anne used to "play the piano" on a plain table top and then, like St. Therese of Lisieux, would slip the music written on bits of paper to her blood sister, Sister Anita, and ask her if she had ever heard the music before. As a type of memorial, we are hoping to invest in some musical software which would enable us to preserve her many original musical pieces, possibly with the view to publishing some of them.
Mary Anne's light - heartedness and her ready smile, as well as her music, brought heaven and earth together. We lost a sister and a dear friend. As we reflect on Mary Anne's friendship and spirit, we are reminded of the words of Helen Keller: "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart."
But, life must go on. Looking ahead, we are again offering Mother's Day and Father's Day "Gift of Prayer" cards. The Mother's Day card has a lovely photo-like pink rose on the front. We have a second card, a new one: "Our Lady of the Spring," featuring a statue of Mary praying in the midst of Spring flowers. The Father's Day card depicts a gentle warm image of St. Joseph holding the Child. A second new image is entitled: "Hands of a Worker." This features the hands of a father touching the little hand of a child. For more information, feel free to contact: Celebration and Memorial Cards, Carmelite Monastery.
As we close, we pray that many beautiful and good things will come into your life. By the time you receive this mailing, very likely the sun will be shining brightly and the past snow will be helping the wild flowers appear.
Our chaplains tell us that our intercessions at Mass are getting longer. They are very kind. This is because we are praying for you. Please know that as we light the new Easter fire on Holy Saturday in the chill of a dark and beautiful night, you and your loved ones will be remembered in a special way. Hopefully, our prayers will mingle with the stars.
Your Carmelite Sisters Eldridge, Iowa