I know this is a looooong time coming! You know...life in a monastery is not a constant leisurely stroll in the cloister. We keep busy around here! :) Busy for the Kingdom!
Dear Lord, have mercy on us! The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. We accept good things from the Lord and should we not accept evil?
Our once beautiful big pine bowed low with ice
I had a bad head cold and was spending that fateful day tucked away in my cell...The above prayer is what I wrote in my journal as through the evening and night of Tuesday, January 27 I (and many others in the tri-state area) heard tremendous popping and crashing sounds. This was the sound of trees, tops of trees and very large branches completely covered in ice, breaking and crashing to the ground in the woods surrounding our monastery.
What a mess! and the walking trails are impassable
By the time these photos were taken much of the ice had melted
The next day brought a devastating beauty as everything was covered with 1 1/2 inches of ice and we began a 5 day odyssey of no electricity. By the way, today is day 18 for many people in our area still without power. Thankfully we have had mild temperatures these past couple of weeks which helped warm up the homes of those who have roughed it out without a generator.
Can you see tops of trees are gone, some trees broke right in half
We are very blessed to have a generator that kept one refrigerator and freezer running plus the treatment plant. Some electrical outlets worked and we made good use of our flashlights. We have gas stoves and ovens so we had hot water and hot food - what a blessing those 2 things are! But we had no heat! How very, very blessed we were that our chaplain Fr. Ray Clark and Msgr. Powers came to stay in our guest quarters, which, considering there are no outside walls in this area, is the warmest place in the monastery. We had 2 priests and daily Mass! We converted our parlors into a cozy chapel, for as you can imagine, with all those stained glass windows in the main chapel, it was freezing in there!
Sr. Mary Veronica and Shannon return from walking to our chaplain's house to invite him to stay in our guest quarters...couldn't make contact through his cell phone
We had trouble making contact with the outside world for the first days as landline phones and cell phones weren't working too well. In fact, that coming weekend we were to have a Rachel's Vineyard retreat in our Guest House. We thought surely others realize what we are going through and will know it is cancelled but, low and behold, when we finally were able to get through to Fr. Ben Cameron, CPM at his Generalate (The Father's of Mercy) which is about and 1 1/2 hours from here, had know idea what was going on here and was still planning the retreat! (By the way, we thank the Lord it was rescheduled and will end on Divine Mercy Sunday!) It was kind of freaky how all was well in that area. Dear Fathers of Mercy, God reward you for your prayers! Also, Nashville fared very well and so one of the Rachel's Vineyard team members from there (Phil Trevathon) showed up! He graciously left us his bottled water, vitamin drinks and granola bars. God bless you Phil!
Recreating during the meals - by candlelight!
On Wednesday we received a call from a friend that there had been a break in the water line and that the Whitesville waterworks was turning off the water! Well, we began to fill every container and bucket we could find with water for we did not know how long this was going to be for. It turns out the anticipation was worse than the actual fact. We were only without water for a couple hours in the afternoon!
It was interesting to see the various coordinations of clothing each Sister put together to stay warm. I personally was up to 7 layers of clothing by the final day! Mother lifted the fast and the abstinence from meat and we took our recreations during our meal time (meaning we talked while we ate). We joked that we were "fasting from heat"! We even had and AME (After-Meal-Entertainment) one evening, by candlelight of course, which drew belly-aching laughter.
Liza and Henry try to mend the bucket!
These days certainly spoke to us about living without computers, light, heat, outside contacts (we didn't have mail until the next week!) survival and dependence on Divine Providence.
This was just an amazing and unforgettable experience. Yet, we were sobered in recalling that many poor people and homeless people live like this in a daily basis. We also thought much about those persons who live in hurricane areas (many of you!) and how this was somewhat similar to that.
Wow, do we have a lot of clean up to do now
Jesus, have mercy on us!
Jesus we trust in you!
Jesus, we offer these inconveniences to you for many intentions, especially for an end to abortion and for respect for all persons, the disabled, the elderly, the immigrant, etc.
Special thanks to St. Joseph's men...
Jim Cecil - who checked in on us sometimes twice daily to see if we needed anything (batteries!)
Steve Mills - our groundskeeper who was without power for almost 2 weeks!
Tony Lanham - for kindly helping us keep our generator filled with diesel fuel
And those others whom I am momentarily forgetting!