Monday, April 29, 2013

A few more pictures including some that I added months ago and never posted...

The bulletin board at St Martin's Barn decorated for February--Heart Health month.

The display case during Ordinary Time--discovering the extraordinary!

Super creative circus-themed cupcakes made and decorated by Baker Bees for the Spring Benefit.

Posters to celebrate 2 years of successful cooking challenges completed by SMH residents.

The name of a D.C. Metro station! 


Dear readers,
I hope you enjoyed the photos of my beloved babies.  I have not written in some time.

Our Sister Jeannette Murray passed away on the Feast of St Benedict, March 21.  We had fun celebrating St Paddy's day with her--a couple songs and a short group visit to her room.  The funeral and all services were beautiful and celebrated her full life of ministry and love.
Those of us in green on St Patrick's Day
I am sad to inform you also that our Sister Jean Marie Fagan passed away just last week, April 23.  Her suffering (especially many years with Parkinson's) has now ended.  I know I wrote in a recent post that she has been fluctuating for months now.  Even if one is expecting it, the loss is still great.  There is much healing to come for the community.  Of many things, these experiences bring everyone a little closer together.  We will hold her funeral tomorrow, April 30. 

On a lighter note, there are so many things to tell you!
My mom and sister were here at the end of March which was GREAT (for me, and I will speak for both of them as well)!  We explored, shared, relaxed, shopped, laughed, and much more!  They were here for over a week which included time at the beach (cold and windy), Sr Jeannette's services, a full day in Washington D.C., and holy week & Easter. 
My dad visited mid-April for a long weekend.  He and I kept very busy as well: touring the grounds and my service sites, taking in DuPont historical places in Wilmington, DE, and enjoying Baltimore's Inner Harbor.  We had time to catch up and see new places! 
Since it seems my whole family may be moving here (haha), my cousin Allie visited as well.  She left just yesterday and was here for a long weekend.  We took advantage of the time for just us with many laughs, reminiscing, and photos.  The weather was sunny and warm (but actually not as warm as MN--go figure!) while we spent time outside grilling, walking the boardwalk and beach, and in D.C. 

St. Benedict
Though leaving soon will be bittersweet, this time with my family, especially sharing with them my life here, helps to make a transition into the "next."  I am so grateful to them and to the support of family and friends whether or not they've physically been here in Maryland. 

Life has been full aside from my visitors.  Everything is bright and green here.  Many of the spring blossoms have come and are already gone.  Each week accelerates, passing more quickly than the last. 

The residents and St Martin's House enjoy doing Zumba and other abs/core cardio workouts.  I am glad to report that my efforts with this have increased the confidence in some, and a couple of the women will continue to be motivated to care for their bodies, physical, and mental health, release stress, giggle and themselves and others in exercising. 

There are now five residents at the House; there were only three for a while.  One project there has been marketing the House with the primary goal of increasing the number of residents there.  I have been glad to be involved in this and even had the opportunity just last week to visit another transitional housing program in Southern Maryland for some insight on and comparison in their programs. 

The Barn is as busy as ever.  The nicer weather brings more people to us and this coming week, being the first week of the month, will be an especially busy one, including the first Saturday of the month "Saturday Sale."  We receive an incredible amount of donations in clothing, and in other items to both the thrift shop and food pantry.  We recently were able to give out fresh potatoes and fresh pears to clients; we had romaine lettuce last week and may continue to have fresh produce! 

The Benedictine School community has gone through a transition period the past weeks, as have the sisters and entire community here, with deaths affecting the atmosphere.  I have been fortunate to hear many stories of both Sister Jeannette and Jean Marie.  It is difficult for staff and parents to imagine Benedictine without their presence.  Their spirits live on!  The Spring Benefit for Benedictine was last Saturday the 20th and was a wonderful, lively event.  The circus as well as casino (in honor of the party-loving) theme was a fun one; and again, many are so generous.  I am continually taken aback by the deep caring and sharing of those whose lives have been touched by the works of the Ridgely Benedictine Sisters. 

My work at the school the past months included a lot of time observing a few students.  This was great experience for me to grow familiar with a Student Observation System (SOS) called BASC (Behavior Assessment System for Children).  I continue to float and help where I am needed in various classrooms, as well as spend extra time in student counseling sessions & groups. 

I didn't give you a report of my visit to Alexandria, VA to the all-community Eucharist and multicultural dinner & festival with a friend there.  The atmosphere was energized and colorful.  I was engaged in conversation with new acquaintances and my ears were filled with beautiful languages and rhythms.  I hope to be able to attend another event like this in mid-May! 

I think this is long enough for one post!   Thank you, always for reading.  I hope the new life of Spring reaches you wherever you are at this time.  More soon! 

The display case (that I jump up into to staple up the background material) decorated for Easter!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Photos to warm your heart

Here are my babies at St Martin's House.  Some of them no longer live here at St Martin's but they all are so dear to my heart.  Hope you enjoy!  These were a long time coming ;)