Monday, August 17, 2009

The Last Cookie.

Early in the summer program, someone who loves me made me some very special cookies and gave them to me in a decorated plastic container. It says "Merry Christmas!" I have just finished celebrating six Christmases, six Thanksgivings, six Easters.

At about noon today, I dropped off the last Missionary Cenacle Volunteer at the Bradley airport. She says she'll come back next summer. I hope so. I miss them. As badly as I need to rest, I still feel strange and a bit sad. We had a great summer, and now it is completely over.

I just finished cleaning my office. This entails more than dusting and vacuuming. I had to go through files and binders and program supplies. Many trips to the attic, and many to the trash can. Everything is more or less back in order now, and the sun is streaming through my window. I love the feel of the sun's heat on my bare arm. I am happy to sweat. We've had such a cool and wet summer.

I feel such gratitude. At the vigil mass on Saturday, we all sat in our bright red shirts in the front four pews. It was hot as it is now. The church filled with people we've seen all summer, moms who dropped off cookies, the librarian who lent us a box of children's books, Justin our DJ, the folks who made us pancakes or helped with dishes, the teens who did.... pretty much everything. Emmy was the cantor. She sang the psalm, and the response was, "This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad!" That response was our refrain for the summer. We started all our prayer with it. As she sang, I realized that this very day, twenty years ago, I professed my first vows as a Missionary Servant.

This is the day. I am eating the last cookie in my carefully guarded supply of Christmas cookies. Our summer is over. We begin the fall stuff in a few weeks. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Rice Pot

It's Wednesday of Week 6. We're in the home stretch for Summer 09. The moms cook supper on Wednesdays because it's Diane's day off. Everything gets used, and everything needs to be washed. All of us are on duty for clean-up. Siena and I usually stay in the kitchen and scrub pots, leaving the less horrific cleaning for the MCVs stationed at the dishwashing sinks.

I got the rice pot again. The volunteers have named it Big Bertha. It is huge, and it is heavy, and it is scary-looking when three or four pounds of rice have carbonized on the bottom. By the time I have scoured out the rice pot, I am usually wringing wet with sweat and my fingernails have been destroyed by brillo.

I think maybe this pot was here since Mother Boniface last visited. It probably cost a month's income, but what a wise investment. How many families have been fed from this pot? How many mothers from how many countries have prepared meals for us with it? How many volunteers have scrubbed it before me? How many of my sisters over the years have hefted it up onto the stove and lit a fire under it?

While we scrubbed, we sang songs, and I reflected on the treasure in my hands, the rice pot. I hope my life is a life of service as much as this rice pot is of service for us at this mission.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


Tonight for the Family Gathering I sort of threw out my script and provided a mash-up of the introductory gathering and the Thanksgiving gathering. Olivia is here and it is a wonderful thing to work with her again. Maybe that's why I felt comfortable enough to get up there and just go with whatever seemed to work. Even Olivia seemed to be feeling it, she went off on a solo guitar rendition of Clap de Hands! Yeah, even did the vocals!

We played Trinita Concentration, and then we did the Hat of the Night, and I wore the Cornucopia Hat while pacing around telling the story of the Horn of Plenty. The assembled folks gasped as I barely missed getting my hat clipped by the ceiling fan. Low clearance, I keep forgetting. Then chaos reigned when I threw caution to the wind and had a couple of couches full of kids come up and tape fruits and veggies to the cornucopia. I am never doing it that way again, that's for sure.

But I just felt a certain freedom to try it. I guess I am tired. This is hard work. It's more than hard work, it is like being on another planet to live here during these seven weeks. I feel fine, and everything is going fine, but I can get silly when I am tired. More than usual, I mean. This afternoon, I did something even stranger than wear a cornucopia hat. I sat in my office with Angela for two hours, and while the kids were down watching Wall-E (no pool, rainy day again!), I taught her how to use FileMaker Pro. Yes, database class and ordo training, right smack in the middle of the summer program. It does not get much weirder than that.

I ended tonight's mash-up presentation by handing out jelly beans and lecturing people about taking time to be quiet and be present to the beauty of the moment. So, in reflection, I can say that the database class, albeit a very weird interlude, was just one more way we celebrated life at Trinita this summer. It's all good.