Newsletter Winter 2001
Dear Friend of Carmel
Our good friend, Robert Frost, (not related to Jack) writes that it is absurd to think that the only way one can tell if the written word is lasting is to wait and see if it lasts. He goes on to intimate that the right reader knows when something will last. It strikes a chord in the heart and leaves a person forever changed. We have no way of predicting whether or not this letter will be hung on the outside of your refrigerator, or if it will be read a second time. We always hope, though, that something will resonate in your own heart (good reader that you are!) as we share with you our rather simple life here at the monastery. In many ways, you are part of our life.
A rather interesting thing happened this fall. Easter came to us in September. When the Carmelites were in Bettendorf, there were two bells in the bell-tower which the Sisters rang with a rope. The big bell was rung for Mass, the Angelus and for Vespers, their Evening Praise. To keep the neighbors happy, the Sisters did not ring the bell at six o'clock in the morning! The smaller bell was rung for their processions and for special occasions such as the Profession of Vows of the Sisters. Often enough, they would ring both bells to add solemnity to the occasion when there were big events happening in the diocese or the city.
When the Sisters moved to Eldridge in 1975, the big bell came with them. The small bell was given to some friends who had lost their son. It was meant to be a memorial. Anyway, after many years, the bell came back to us. Possibly in the spring, we will be able to situate the bell near its bigger bell-friend where they will once again be able to ring out together across the land. What does this have to do with Easter? It seems like the bell was cast in 1875. Its name is "Alleluia!"
A year ago this December, our Sister Mary Anne Schuman took up residence at The Alverno Health Care Facility in Clinton, Iowa. Ever since, she has been cared for most graciously by the Franciscan Sisters and their staff there. We will never be able to thank God enough for this favor. We pray for those Sisters and the staff at The Alverno every day. Although Sister Mary Anne is still moderately alert, more and more she seems to be moving into the light of God. Naturally, this leaves us with a certain sadness. Currently, we are updating Sister Mary Anne's addresses of friends, family and relatives. If you would like to be on Sister's list, please check the space on this letter. We will mention your name and ask her to pray for you. She will like that. Her prayer is different these days. She is peacefully present to the One who is embracing her.
One small candle may light a thousand elsewhere.
Because our Christmas Rose Gift of Prayer Card was so popular last year, we are offering it again. We are also offering the Christmas Angel Gift of Prayer Card.
On November 2, we celebrated the Feast of the Poor Souls by becoming one of them. We lost the water pressure in the monastery. In the process of remedying this, we learned all about the inside pressure tank, the capacitor, the switch that goes on and off (too often) and how all of this is connected to the motor on our outside well. The workmen came, and pulled out the motor from 100 plus feet down. It still looked very new after being in the ground twenty-six years. It put us in touch with the founding day of the Eldridge Carmel.
In closing, we would like to say something that will lift up your hearts. Robert Frost writes that he would like to get away from the earth awhile and then come back. He says that the earth is the right place for love and doesn't know of any place that would be better. Dear Friends, we send our love with this letter. There is a song that we sing. It asks God to make still the winds that blow and to cradle us with love. It is our wish that this will come true for you. A blessed Christmas to you!
Your Carmelite Sisters, Eldridge, Iowa