Good Christian Friends, Rejoice!

We\’ve been doing a lot of rejoicing around here! And why not? It\’s still the Christmas season, and we are still celebrating the wonder of Christ\’s birth. Now, it\’s time we shared some of our lovely inside Christmas decorations with you! This is our chapel–the picture was taken from our side of the choir, facing the altar. We are so grateful to the people who donated the tree, the wreaths, and the many poinsettias. 

Another beautiful donation: this Christmas arrangement to honor our crucifix

And now, without further ado, the creche scenes!

Our main creche in the chapel. Sister Sacristan did a marvelous job!

If you were able to visit us in person, you saw this one in the outside lobby

The community room

The Chapter Hall

The infirmary kitchen

The infirmary

The Print Shop (where Monastery Bells and our greeting cards are created, among other things)

The Guild, where letters are answered and enrollments are made

The Prioress\’ office

The carol mentioned in our title is traditionally attributed to the 14th century Dominican mystic, Blessed Henry Suso. One of the lines in the modern version found in today\’s hymnals says, \”Christ was born to save!\” We never forget that Christmas is a part of the Paschal mystery, and there is certainly an element of sorrow even in our joy (think of the Holy Innocents, for example). But on the whole it is a time when all of us can remember, or consider for the first time, the hope a newborn baby brings with it into this world. Let us rejoice this season as we remember that each one of us was born for a reason!

Christmas at the Monastery

 Here as we approach a brand new (hopefully happier) New Year, we\’d like to bring you some highlights of our Christmas festivities here at the Monastery.

On the evening of December 23, Santa Claus paid us a visit!

Santa brought each sister a copy of Matthew Kelly\’s book I Heard God Laugh and a few editions of a game called \”Yeti in the Spaghetti\”. We haven\’t played it yet so we\’ll let you know how that goes! 

We\’ve heard God laughing ourselves…

Next, on Christmas Eve afternoon, we had our annual visit from the Alexander family. 

The Alexanders outside the front of the Monastery. They wore masks in the parlor!

We are always happy to see the Alexanders and hear all about what they\’ve been up to over the past year or so. We had a delightful visit with them. 

After Vespers, our chaplain, Fr. John Lydon OP came inside to bless the creches in the community room and refectory. 

Community room

Refectory

We had two glorious Masses, one at night and one in the morning, followed by our traditional dinner prepared by the Knights of Columbus. Unfortunately, we weren\’t able to visit with the Knights and their families in the parlor after Mass as we have done for many years, due to COVID–the parlor gets really packed and we wanted to avoid a super-spreader event. Still, a few Knights were able to come and actually do the cooking. God bless them!

Our faithful Knights of Columbus, plus a future Knight, maybe

In the afternoon, in between prayers, we met together in the community room to see the gifts people gave us this year. Usually we get gifts \”for the community\”–a single gift everyone can use or benefit from. Sometimes we get gifts like popcorn or candy or cookies–always welcome! This year we received a new digital camera (the authors of this blog, the website, and Monastery Bells are particularly grateful for this!), some DVDs from the Teaching Company, and lots of books, in addition to the aforementioned food. We also got a new Chinese Checkers game, which gained a lot of applause from our dedicated players. 

Many happy hours of serious fun to come

Much to our surprise, we also received a number of \”individual\” gifts as well! Several very kind and generous benefactors put together various gifts, making enough so that each sister could receive her own. Best of all, these were gifts we could use: toiletries, bed socks, plastic containers, art supplies, word and Sudoku puzzles, and (of course) more food!

 

As you can see, we enjoyed the gifts, and we\’re tremendously grateful to all those who gave them! No matter how old you are, it\’s still fun to have something to open on Christmas. Thank you, all our benefactors, for giving us such joy and putting smiles on our weary faces this Christmas of 2020! 

We are still planning to post some pictures of our various creche scenes around the Monastery, so keep in touch! Remember, Christmas isn\’t officially over until the Baptism of the Lord, despite what the world may tell you–especially by stocking Valentines already (or so we\’ve heard)…

We wish all of you a most blessed New Year! 

Another Visit from St. Nicholas

 Wow! Not one, but two visits from St. Nicholas this year! The good saint must be making extra rounds to cheer people up during this pandemic. 

One evening, as we were gathered at recreation, we heard sleigh bells down the hall! One of the sisters opened the door and in drove St. Nicholas on his motorized chair. (Too much walking, no doubt.) After regaling us with riddles and bad puns, St. Nick and his elfin helper distributed a stocking to each sister. Sorry we didn\’t get a picture this time!

 Among other useful gifts, each sister received a little stuffed toy–a toucan–and a hand-knitted washcloth. 

We had such a good time, groaning at the puns and sharing each other\’s company and opening our stockings. This is a good example of what Jesus meant when He said we should become like little children. Not childish, not naive, but women (and men) mature enough to enjoy the little surprises and joys of life with honest wonder and delight. If we have to remain bored sophisticates all our lives, how will we react to the wonders of Heaven? How will we react to the wonders God does in our fellow men and women every day, even in ourselves? Joy is not dependent on circumstance. It is a gift of the Holy Spirit that God gives to each one of us day by day. It\’s up to us to enter into it!