The groundhog herself finds a home and the swallow a home for her brood....?
That's not quite how Psalm 84:3 was written, but it certainly seems appropriate reflecting on this morning's adventure. Right around 11am our turn sister answered a call from the office. Our office volunteer exclaimed that a groundhog was on the altar! Rushing (with appropriate monastic decorum, of course) to the choir to peek through the grille the sisters discovered that the groundhog wasn't quite on the altar, but had made its way up into the sanctuary and was snuggled cozily under one of the prie-dieux.
Thus began the great Groundhog Removal of 2016. How many people does it take to evict a young groundhog?
First you need your one sister wielding the pole used to close the Monstrance Throne. A second sister for moral support and back up with a pole used to close windows. (All of our official "groundhog removal tools" must have been missing...) Then of course you have the Adorers, the people who were peacefully praying in the chapel before the groundhog was discovered and went on praying, a little more excitedly, for its successful removal...and possibly a little farther away from it. Next you have a brave Adorer wielding a broom and dust bin and our handy man with another broom and bucket. Finally one of the construction workers working on the bridge next door to the monastery heard of our plight and offered his assistance if we had a cage (we do, though groundhogs are usually unwanted visitors in the garden not the chapel). With a little encouragement and much prodding the little groundhog scampered its way from one hiding spot to the next until it was trapped in the vestibule, head in the corner. Brave broom-wielding adorer channeled his inner Franciscan, petting and soothing the creature until it calmed down and scurried out the chapel doors.
We are left wondering: Just what induced this critter to climb up our front chapel stairs and come inside?
The sparrow herself finds a home
and the swallow a nest for her brood;
she lays her young by your altars,
Lord of hosts, my king and my God.