The sewing machines are hummin' in the

The monastery's roving photographer was invited upstairs to take photos of the novitiate seamstresses hard at work in their community room. One of the joys of formation is being trained in the work of the various areas in the house, from sewing to cooking to gardening to the library to the laundry. If you have a talent or skill, it will definitely be used (somehow or some way) in the monastery. And, if your talents are of a "latent" and "hidden" nature, believe me, they will be "discovered" and developed to their fullest potential. All that is required is a willingness to learn, a generous spirit, patience, and that all-important ability of, yes, laughing at yourself.

Novice mistress Sr. Mary Catharine is currently teaching Sr. Angela how to sew, and she appears to have found a very responsive and able student. First lesson: "You have to be prepared to rip!" Sr. Angela is helping Sr. Greta (who already knows how to sew) in sewing the novice in potentia's tunicelles (the "little tunic" we wear under our habit) while Sr. Mary Catharine is sewing Sr. Greta's habits.

In welcoming a sister into the novitiate, the community unites in providing for her entrance into this new stage of formation, from the vestiarian (who also happens to be the novice mistress!) to Sr. Maria Veneranda, who is in charge of the coifs (our combination term for our caps and veils) to Sr. Mary Daniel, in charge of tunicelles. A beautiful sign of sisterly love and dependence which will continue throughout the sister's life.

Sr. Greta frowns in deep concentration while she sews,
unaware of the Vermeer-like lighting of her surroundings.

In contrast, Sr. Mary Catharine is smiling!

Sr. Mary Catharine begins her "How
to Cut a Habit Sleeve" instruction with Sr. Angela.

Sr. Angela watches attentively.

Although a beginner in habit-sleeve cutting, Sr. Angela
has learned how to sew tunicelle tops. Nice job, Sister!