I read the book Spreading the Fire: the Story of the Sisters of Notre Dame in California 1924-2010 by Sr. Mary Joanne Wittenburg, SND. The hardships the Sisters endured filled me with empathy for the loneliness, inconveniences, and backbreaking work they encountered. Although more recent times lessened the challenges, similar challenges met them in their mission to Uganda. Several of these Sisters I came to know through meeting them at SND gatherings and retreats. Along with empathy I felt pride at their single-minded devotion to God and God’s work. As I turned the last page, I realized that the history of California is becoming the history of SND-USA. How enriched our history through California’s past, present and future.
Nine months after the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, the new patronal feast for us Sisters of Notre Dame, we celebrate the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Like all feasts, this day is less about the saint and more about the marvelous work of God. We celebrate all that God has done in Mary and which Mary allowed to be done to her. The Gospel chosen for the day may be the genealogy of Jesus (again the focus on God-with-us). Joseph took Mary into his home for his wife. Together they prepared for the birthday of their Son. All things “work for good,” so let us celebrate God and God’s work in Mary—with cake and ice cream!
In her book At the Still Point, Sarah Arthur writes, “Summer is nothing short of miraculous, a kind of extended intoxicating dream.” As students and parents wake up to alarm clocks now that school has resumed, they may feel rudely awakened. The intoxication of freedom from homework and schedules still clings to them. Yet the calendar claims summer still has a month, so let us dream.
Dream of the flavors. Late August is a sumptuous time. Tomatoes and peaches titillate nostrils with heady sweetness. Sweet corn and late melons become a gustatory feast. We cultivate our tastes on the ripeness of fruits and vegetables in full flavor. Savor the last fruits of summer, and let them possess you.
Dream of the sights. Sunflowers delight the eyes. Kayaks dot the rivers. Monarch butterflies add splashes of orange. Maple trees hint red and yellow.
Dream of sounds. Evenings are deafening with cicada song. Grass and leaves begin rough modulation before full autumnal crunch. Strains of children’s shouts grow louder in anticipation of their decrescendo with the coming winter. Milk the delight, relish the dream, stand transfixed, and wake to a new season.