Journal

Happy Autumn, dear Friends! We enjoyed our annual community retreat the week of October 18-24.  This year our retreat director was Fr. James Palmigiano of St. Joseph's Abbey in Spencer, MA.  This is the third time over the years that he has been our retreat director and, as always, it was fabulous.  The weather cooperated to provide nice days for long walks in our beautiful high desert or just sit quietly under a tree to read and pray and... enjoy God.   We had a little Halloween fun, too.  Margarita and Fabi applied their pumpkin-carving skills to two of the many pumpkins that our dear friend Leroy brought us.  Here are some of us with our Halloween decorations in the refectory....

Autumn has turned out to be a time of many moods! It splashed the hillsides with yellow and dazzled us with the bluest of blue skies and dancing white clouds - just to make us smile. Then came the winds that blew in a gully-drencher of a rainstorm. Our arroyos were raging with water in a way they haven't in a long time. Fish Canyon gushed across the road and stranded our Sr. Nettie on the other side until the waters subsided. Luckily she was able to get through before nightfall. A couple of our neighbors helped her and she made it safely. The rainfall for that storm was almost two inches. We could almost hear the trees' sigh of...

The grass on the Santa Rita foothills is still green at the roots, but otherwise it has that gone-to-seed autumn look.  The "Gold Fields" are blooming all over, adding splashes of golden color everywhere.  On the roadsides and on the edges of the dry river beds, tall sunflowers adding their own shades of gold, brown and green. We have wonderful dark skies and wide horizons for astronomical viewing here.  Early on Sunday morning, Sr. Pam set up her Uncle Lee's telescope on the patio outside the chapter room, and several of us had a planet-viewing session.  Venus, Mars, and Jupiter are all visible to the naked eye in the east right now if you know where to look.  We focused on Jupiter and its...

All good things must come to an end, so we bid adieu to Fr. John and Sr. Eleanor with a supper party.  It's been a joy to share in Sr. Eleanor's warm Irish humor and good spirits this summer.  We wish her all the best in her studies.  We are grateful to the abbot and community of the Genesee for lending Fr. John to us for these past two weeks.  He served us at both tables: the Eucharistic table at Mass, and by cooking a few meals for our dinner table.  "Chef Jacques" knows his way around the kitchen and the internet recipe scene.  His meals were delicious! There's a local saying that if a roadrunner crosses the path of a...

August 15, the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is the patronal feast of our Cistercian order, so we always celebrate it with special joy. But this year our joy was doubled as we celebrated our Sister Kate's Golden Jubilee of vows. Three members of Kate's family traveled from Pennsylvania for the occasion. Our good friend Fr. John Denburger from the Abbey of the Genesee in New York presided at the Jubilee Mass. Many of our local friends attended the Mass. Later in the day we had a festive meal just with the Sisters, Kate, and her family. We thought you would enjoy the photos.  We couldn't include every photo of our guests, but the presence of...

Monsoon season is here and the hills and valleys around us are turning a glorious green.   The season began with a bang, quite literally, when lightning struck one of the electric poles on our property, and fried the transformer for our water system. Only a few hours after the electric company fixed this problem, a furious storm knocked out power to a larger local area.  Due to the extreme conditions, it was 10:30 the next morning before power was restored everywhere.  God bless the electric company repair crews!  They work long hours this time of...

On May 5, our good friend Fr. Miguel Mariano, pastor of St. Odilia's Parish in Tucson, brought a group of nearly 50 parishioners for a visit in honor of the Year of Consecrated Life.  Sr. Pam was asked to give them a brief talk about our Cistercian way of life, and then she and Sr. Nettie gave them a special tour of our altar bread bakery and the art studios.  Fr. Miguel celebrated Mass for the Sisters and guests in the monastery church.  Lunch followed, picnic style, in the cottonwood grove behind the bakery.  ...

On April 18th Grand Knight Dean Moulis and five other Knights of Columbus from Council #6842, at Our Lady of the Valley Parish in Green Valley, came for a volunteer work day, along with District Deputy Doug Cook from Rio Rico. They were a great help to us with various outdoor jobs--mowing, weed whacking, tree trimming, and cleaning the garage.  Thank you, gentlemen, you were terrific!                       Meanwhile,...

Hello there!  We have some catching up to do, so here is the first installment: To begin, we'll back up all the way to the first weekend of March and the Diocese of Tucson's Catholic Conference, Co-workers of the Vineyard, Thursday March 5 - Saturday March 7.  Bishop Kicanas called the conference for the purpose of fostering the faith growth of all Catholics of the diocese as people of Faith, Hope, and Charity.  Several keynote speakers and numerous workshops offered a wide variety of inspiring topics. We Sisters of Santa Rita, along with other artistic Sisters & Brothers in the diocese, were invited to be part of the Sonoran Spirit Art Exhibit in the exhibit hall during the conference. So with the creative...

Nature is putting on her nicest finery in leaf and bloom in celebration of the Paschal Season.  Everything speaks of joy!  This past week our joy was overflowing with the visit of our  Mary-Ellen of Wrentham on Easter Monday and the arrival of Nettie on Tuesday.  So we had abundant celebration with a wonderful supper together and much reminiscing of past visits.  Here's a group shot of us all: Then on Thursday, we had our annual picnic which our Springtime chaplain, Fr. Matthew and our good friend, Julie Swain throw for us.  Julie brings her two "pups" with her:  Luke and Seurat.  They are search and rescue dogs that Julie has trained -- and totally lovable.  Luke is really four...