Hurricane Irene and the End of Our Annual Retreat

Fr. Walter Wagner, OP, pastor of St. Vincent Ferrer Parish, NYC, preached our annual retreat on the Rule of St. Augustine and it was EXCELLENT! Drawing on his 10 year experience as novice master he led us through the Rule drawing from it many contemplative insights. The Rule might be 7 rather short chapters but Fr. Walter really opened up for all of us the challenges and beauty of the Rule that we follow along with our Constitutions.

 Every retreat is memorable (for it is a time of special grace for the community and each individual sister) but THIS retreat will not be forgotten for many reasons! First there was the EARTHQUAKE! Then, one night after Compline, Sr. Maria Agnes turned on the faucet in the kitchen and GUSH! A geyser shot into the air as the faucet blew off! Fortunately, sisters heard her calls for help and since this is new plumbing we could even find the shut-off valve rather quickly!

And then there was IRENE! Preparations were seriously underway yesterday. We filled canning jars of water, bought water and extra batteries, pulled out the candle stubs from the soap room (we melt down the stubs for vigil lights) and filled the tubs with water.

Monasteries have special preparedness needs! If the electricity goes off we won't have a rising bell! So, Sr. Mary Jacinta was shown the hand bell if needed. Sr. Mary Catharine made coffee on the gas stove which the coffee addicts loved even though we didn't need it the next morning! (Take 3 cups of coffee grounds and put them in a cotton cloth, secure with an elastic band and steep in 1 gallon of water kept on the stove top overnight.)

And life continued! We prayed Compline and Sisters continued night adoration. We woke the next morning to find that we still had power (the rising bell rang!) and we waited until day light to access the damage!