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Saint Mary's Messenger


									      Saint Mary’s Messenger
Vol. 110, No. 1                    Greenwich, New York                               Feast of the Purification 2009

The Call to Live in Joyful Simplicity                                                         by Sister Catherine Clare

Our country is in an economic crisis every bit as severe as the Great Depression of the 1930s. The bottom has fallen out
of the stock market; banks are failing, industry slowdowns have many out of work; some have seen educational or
retirement funds diminish or disappear. Nearly everyone is talking about having to “keep it simple,” and it is with
worried faces that people fill their shopping carts and “pay with plastic.” In this climate of fear, the specter of not having
enough grows ever more substantial. Sometimes it is a matter of perspective, with one person’s poverty being another
person’s plenty. Is there an answer to the dilemma?
        I believe God is calling us all to the spiritual discipline of simplicity. As Religious vowed to Evangelical counsels
which include a vow of Poverty, the Sisters of St. Mary approach the uncertainties and the soul-sifting challenge of
economic poverty, less as a Franciscan commitment to the absence of things, than as just one part of a Benedictine
struggle to maintain balance between stability and inherent change.
         We understand Holy Poverty not as a call to hunger and privation, but to
simplicity and to holding all things in common, both in plenty and in want. A
balanced life of simplicity continuously calls us to private and corporate sacrifice
— in American culture, a pretty radical idea. But there are a multitude of ways to
offer a very ordinary practice of simplicity: to make conscious and deliberate
choices about how we use our income, our time, our gifts and skills in a way that
is prayerful, joyful, and thankful. This involves a shift in perspective and attitude.
        What is simplicity after all? Simplicity is a way of life that is
unencumbered by the burden of “too much” or “too many”. It is a life that stands
before God open, receptive, and with an attitude of gratitude. Simplicity is
detachment from possessiveness so that, whatever we receive from the bounty of
God’s hand (great or small), we are able to share bountifully. It is impossible to
receive if we are grasping and building a protective barrier of “mine.”
         The Community of St. Mary began with only five Sisters, but those five
women, having charge of five works of ministry, never compromised their
                                                                                          None of us at life profession had any
dedication to simplicity and the self-sacrifice to God embodied in vows of
poverty, chastity, and obedience. Very early in the life of the community, Mother inkling that we would be asked to...
                                                                                          move to... a new geography of space
Harriet recognized that, given their dedication to sacrifice, it was crucial to locate
                                                                                          that calls us yet again into a new
a place where the Sisters could find rest and refreshment in the midst of their
                                                                                          geography of soul and spirit.
rigorous commitment and devotion. She began in the mid-1870’s to search for a
farm or land in a rural area for place of respite. Both the original site at Peekskill and later a small farm nearby called
Marycroft provided this “place apart” — both as a retreat from the pressures of the Sisters’ urban ministry and as a quiet
foundation where the life of prayer could be fostered in the vocations of the young and mastered by the most senior Sisters.
         We, religious and secular alike, do not always have a clear picture of God’s intention for us. This is the journey of
faith. When God called Israel out of Egypt it was to “a good land” — to a land flowing in milk and honey and away from
the decadence and excess of paganism. Yet there were times when the leeks and onions, which had been part of a familiar
security bound up in abandoned enslavement, seemed attractive next to the uncertainties of the unknown manna of freedom.
        Mother Miriam wrote in her Christmas message at the end of last year:
                 God’s reasons behind the major change of our location are becoming clearer to us. We needed humbling
     and teaching in the ways of the Lord’s service, and that includes relearning many of the values of agrarian America
     during our founding years of the 1860s and 70s. They are not so different from the Biblical wisdom in both
     Testaments — love of the land, reaping where we sow, interdependence and need for each other in community,
     different gifts completing community and adding space for community growth, the joy of physical labor bringing
     renewed health, but sometimes also pain, and failure that brings us back to dependence on God. … We are praying to
     hear the lessons of current circumstances.
          To enter religious community each of us left         money tending to my clothing. A recent clothing
 much behind: good jobs, family, friends, pets and             catalogue dedicated an entire section for those persons who
 beloved books, music and the things we thought defined        “can have everything they want.” When so many in our
 who we were in the world. We answered a call to follow        world do not have what they need to survive, this strikes a
 Christ in a radical new way. None of us at life profession    wrong chord. Just because we can does not mean we
 had any inkling that we would be asked to dismantle, sell,    should exercise the freedom to possess so very much.
 and give away the accumulation of more than 100 years                   And what about the whole business of money?
 of community life and move to a new convent; a new            Everyone is dealing with that gut-level fear that there may
 geography of space that calls us yet again into a new         not be enough to live on. Making ends meet is a matter of
 geography of soul and spirit.                                 necessity: we Sisters are impacted by the reality of
          The Sisters have been challenged, as are our         economic depression just like everyone else. But there is
 friends in the world, to find our balance when resources,     still plenty of room for slowing down and making some
 human and financial, shift uneasily. How do we “sing the      clear choices, even for religious called to a life of
 Lord’s song” in this place and within this call to ever       simplicity.
 more challenging simplicity? First, of course, we pray                  Try planning a garden for springtime: for a small
 for God’s protection and guidance. God’s tugs and             investment of seeds and plants a significant dent might be
 suggestions may be small at first, each new insight           made in your food budget. Time spent outdoors using your
 allowing us to practice a little simplicity in preparation    body to dig, plant, weed, and harvest can strengthen body,
 for something bigger. We need to slow down so that we         soul and spirit. Thomas Merton wrote of how the
 can hear God’s voice. American life moves too fast to be      counterpoint of work, prayer and study can bring us closer
 lived deliberately, to make the choices that take us closer   to God. Working at tasks like weeding frees the spirit and
 to the detachment which brings real freedom. We need to       enriches the life of prayer. I think each of us is morally
 resist the tyranny of time — the incessant multi-tasking      responsible for finding ways to use less of the world’s non-
 that leaves many tasks poorly done and dulls the heart to     renewable resources, to simplify our life styles, to share
 reflective listening.                                         our resources, to live closer to the land God has given us to
          We also need to resist the tyranny of using stuff    sustain us.
 to define our uniqueness. The Sisters of St. Mary in                    The soil on our hill was barren when we moved in,
 Greenwich wear a traditional habit. Whether I work in         no more than sandy clay, and not an earthworm in sight.
 the garden or feed the chickens, or pray in chapel, I do      By composting and using decaying barn and chicken coop
 not spend much time and energy deciding what to wear,         bedding, we have begun to restore the soil and our gardens
 nor do I have to spend inordinate amounts of time and         are becoming more prolific. Now a (Continued on page 7.)

Prayer without Ceasing by Phyllis Schneider                    candle, placing an icon or picture of Jesus on a little
                                                               “altar” we have created. For some, early morning before
   Prayer is the search for God, encounter with God, and       the kids are up may be the best time. For others, late
       going beyond this encounter in communion.”
                                                               evening is ideal for prayer. Our children are asleep,
                             —Metropolitan Anthony Bloom
                                                               we’ve put our work aside, and we feel more relaxed.
There is an elderly Episcopal nun who prays almost             These scheduled prayer times allow us to be in
continuously throughout the day. People send her               communion with God. And we can array our prayers —
hundreds of requests for prayers — for healing of loved        for family and friends, for Christ’s Church, for the world
ones, for the resolution of difficult situations — and she     — throughout the day, saying a quick prayer on our way
offers up each person or situation to God. She doesn’t ask     home from work, while in a line at the grocery store,
God for anything specific. She doesn’t ask that a certain      when we’re walking the dog. Not only intercessory
person be healed or that another find a much-needed job        prayers, but also prayers of thanksgiving — for an
or that someone else receive guidance and courage. She         unexpected hug from a child or the gift of beautiful choir
simply bows her head and says that person’s name and           and organ music on Sunday mornings, or, on days when
entrust him or her to God’s care. This nun’s Sisters and       we find it hard to be grateful for much of anything, for a
friends feel that she is in continual communion with God       really good cup of coffee in the morning!
and that her life is, in itself, a prayer.                            Before we know it, prayer has become an
         Few of us find ourselves in an environment — a        ongoing part of our daily lives and we are increasingly in
convent or monastery — that allows us to pray so               communion with one another and with God. 
frequently. But it is possible to pray throughout the day,
                                                               Associate Phyllis Schneider is a freelance writer living in
sometimes without even knowing it. We can                      Crestwood, NY. This short meditation was written with Sister
consciously set aside a period of time each day for            Anastasia as its model for a spiritual life booklet published by
prayer, finding a quiet place in our homes, lighting a         Christ Church, Bronxville, NY.
     Community News                               confirmed at the Church of St. Mary         her most noted gift of loving children
                                                  the Virgin on West 47th St. by Bishop       into adulthood during those years and
   News from Greenwich, NY                        Robert Campbell, OHC, in 1937. The          continued the giving at St. Mary’s-in-
                                                  rector of St. Mary’s was a Cowley           the-Field, Valhalla, from 1950 to 1973.
Sr. Anastasia, CSM: Requiescat in Pace            Father, Granville Williams, SSJE. He        School alumnae and godchildren from
Sister Anastasia Toole, CSM, died at              recognized signs of a religious             Valhalla visited and kept in touch for
St. Mary’s Convent, Greenwich, New                vocation in Elizabeth and encouraged        over fifty years. She became an
York, shortly after midnight on                   her to visit the Community of St.           important anchor of love between them
December 8, 2008.                                 Mary in Peekskill. A little over a year     and God.
                                                  after her confirmation, the 24-year-old
        A Solemn Requiem and burial                                                              It was during her Valhalla years
                                                  Elizabeth entered the novitiate under
will be celebrated April 21, 2009, at 2                                                       that Sister Anastasia became active in
                                                  the tutelage of Sister Mary Maude,
p.m. at St. Mary’s Convent in                                                                 charismatic renewal. She said that at
                                                  one of the finest minds and most
Greenwich, NY, with Bishop William                                                            the time she was looking for any
                                                  respected religious in the history of
Love, Albany Diocesan and the                                                                 connection that would help her make
                                                  the Community.
Community's Visitor, as the principal                                                         contact with the young girls who often
celebrant.                                                                                    came out of a Pentecostal / Bible church
    Born in Madison, WI, on Oct. 17,                                                                                 culture. Even in
1914, Elizabeth                                                                                                      her nineties she
Lane Toole was                                                                                                       whispered that
the second of four                                                                                                   nothing gave her
children born to                                                                                                     more pleasure
Dr. Eben Henry                                                                                                       than “praying in
Toole and                                                                                                            the Spirit” before
Katherine Turvill                                                                                                    the Blessed
Toole. She was                                                                                                       Sacrament, and
the only daughter                                                                                                    she rejoiced in
of Dr. Toole, who                                                                                                    the restoration of
served as a                                                                                                          Holy Hour at the
research botanist                                                                                                    Greenwich
for the US Dept.                                                                                                     convent. Sister
of Agriculture for                                 Sister Anastasia, CSM                                   1960s
most of his career.                                           1914 — 2008                                        participated in
                     1990s                                67 years in Profession
    Elizabeth’s                                                                                                  Cursillo #1 in the
family became              Greenwich 2009,
                                                                                                                 Diocese of New
seriously ill during a     Shortly before death                                                                  York.
flu epidemic in                                                                                                               Mother
Maryland during 1920.                                                                                               Mary Basil
Her mother died,                                                                                                    appointed Sister
leaving her husband                                                                                                 Anastasia Assistant
with four young                                                                                                     Superior to succeed
children to raise. Her                                                                                              Sister Mary Helen in
                                                                                     St. Mary’s-in-the-Field, 1950s
aunt Helen came east                                                                                                1973. Her gift for
to care for them, and                                                                           organizing details and maintaining
soon thereafter Dr. Toole married her.                The Rev. S. C. Hughson, OHC,
                                                                                                voluminous correspondence with the
Sister Anastasia remembered their                 received the profession vows of               same loving zeal of her ministry at
honeymoon in Ocean City, MD, with                 Sister Anastasia and Sister Mary
                                                                                                Valhalla made her an invaluable
great fondness as she was about eight             Basil on St. Mark’s Day, April 25,
                                                                                                Assistant Superior. She took on most
years old and the whole family went.              1941. Given Sr. Anastasia’s                   of the Associates’ correspondence and
                                                  education, it was logical that she
   Elizabeth graduated from the                                                                 the scheduling and organizing of
                                                  teach Biology and general science at          retreats at St. Benedict’s House, in
University of Maryland with a BS in               St. Mary’s School in her early years
Botany, and then matriculated at                                                                addition to maintaining the convent
                                                  as a Sister. During the war she also
Columbia University to get a MS in                                                              kitchen and filling in for the Mother as
                                                  took care of the Sacristy and did             needed.
Botany. It was during her days at                 sewing at the Motherhouse as well as
Columbia that she became acquainted               managing the kitchen at both the                  From 1977 until 1983 Sister
with the Episcopal Church and was                 Convent and the School. She began             Anastasia served as (Cont’d on page 6.)
Lessons in the Simple Life:                                     convent and schools were located.          Marycroft Farm
                                                                from 1918 and 1938 was less an expression of idyllic
Marycroft Farm 1918-1943                                        country life as an answer to real needs of the community
                                                                in that period. Sister Mary Basil’s later deployment back
By 1918 the Community of St. Mary was over 50 years             to Manhattan during World War II, returning to the coal
old and had been established at Peekskill for 43 of those       soot and grime of city life and bearing responsibility for
years. Two schools — St. Mary’s School for girls and            medically compromised children and staff at St. Mary’s
the Junior School — were open, the Sisters were settled         Hospital on 54th Street under the limitations of war
into the 1903 Convent with branch houses in the New             rationing, reinforced the romantic memories of simple
York City area, the Chicago area, Sewanee, Tennessee,           country bounty. But that bounty had its origin in need
and the Philippines. It was a time of growth and                and its own reality set by limitations and cost.
consolidation with no shortage of young women
                                                                         The reduced purchase price of $15,000 to
knocking on the door asking to fulfill their vocation to
                                                                purchase Marycroft compared to the original asking
God within the Sisterhood. Having weathered the
                                                                price of $45,000 reflected the condition of the
departure of the first Mother General, Mother Edith, with
                                                                dilapidated buildings and long neglect of the land. In
several other young Sisters to the Roman Catholic
                                                                August 1919
expression of the Faith, Mother Mary Theodora and the
                                                                Mother Mary
Sisters were looking for a way to minister to the needs of
                                                                Theodora wrote
the American Church and society at the end of World
                                                                to inquire from
War I in a time when money was tight universally and
                                                                one of the
extremely so for the growing young Community with
                                                                older farmers
many active works of mercy.
                                                                in the area
         “Getting back to the land” seems to have
been the conclusion of that generation as we dig
back into the Archives of the Community and sift
the reminiscences of our late Sisters. The
memories of Sister Mary Basil and Sister
Anastasia’s generation began with the end of the
story of Marycroft, the old Rush farm bought by
Mother Mary Theodora on the Community’s
behalf in 1918. Their recollections were full of
bucolic three-mile walks in the spring for a
Sunday afternoon picnic at the farm. An old log-
cabin was converted into a chapel and dedicated in
the summer of 1921 by the Chaplain General of
the day, the beloved Frank Vernon of St. Mark’s
Church, Philadelphia. The farmhouse made a               The Chapel at Marycroft Farm
Spartan retreat for Sisters who needed a quiet
place for rest time when there was no family to visit.          about the farm. Calvin Bleecker Purdy of
                                                                147 Smith Street, Peekskill, wrote the following:
         Sister Mary Basil often told the story of being
treated by her friends to “one last ice cream” before                    In reply to your letter of August 7th as to the
entering the novitiate in 1938 only to discover that the           Rush Farm, I regret to say that I know very little
Sisters ate ice cream every Sunday, churned from the               about it, except it was given to Lewis Lee by his
end of the week’s farm-fresh milk using a belt attached            father as a wedding present; he married a girl by the
to equipment in the Laundry. (Ice cream at Sunday                  name of Hyatt — I never heard how the land came to
dinner is a tradition to this day!) The kitchen in                 the father; but I don’t think it was a grant, as the Lee
Peekskill had a large “cold room” where home canned                family came from Yorktown.
goods could be kept chilled through the winter. Having                   The old original house was a one story and attic
survived on graham crackers and peanut butter as a                 building, which was torn away years after Lewis Lee
young clerical worker in New York City, Sister Mary                built the present house, and the present house was
Basil never lost idyllic memories of country bounty as a           built along side of the old one. The old house must
novice during the Depression, removed as these                     have stood there over a hundred years, and the farm
recollections were from the real challenges to provide             as it is today looks nothing as it did when Mr. Lee
milk, meat and produce for the large household of Sisters          was alive. He was a good farmer and likewise a good
and another hundred-plus assembly of school children               neighbor. To show how different things are now —
and staff all living on Mount St. Gabriel where the                the creek meadow he used to cut five or six stacks of
   hay off, which he would stack on the field west of the                      By 1939 and President Roosevelt’s New Deal,
   house, and it was indeed a show. Now I hardly think it            the country was pulling out of the Great Depression.
   would produce one.                                                The Peekskill area was growing in population and in
         Eighteen hundred dollars ($17,949 in 2009 money             motorized vehicles. The roads around the farm were
based on the price of goods within the 1923 gross domestic           expanded by the town and acres were condemned to
product) was spent to repair the cow barn. By the summer             widen Oregon Road and Adam Rush Road. This
of 1924, the farm was suffering from lack of potable water           reduced the amount of land available for hay and corn to
and the only solution was to connect to the Cortlandt Water          support the dairy herd, pigs and chickens. With the
District in order to pipe in water for consumption and               beginning of World War II, with its rationing and the
                                                                     draft, labor for the farm also became an unsustainable
                                                                     problem. Sixteen war units were required to exempt a
                                                                     farm worker from 1-A draft status. The farm production
                                                                     census in 1940 calculated out to 27 war units. This
                                                                     meant the Sisters could only retain 1.6 workers to care
                                                                     for 12 dairy cows, 21 feeder cattle, 11 sows, 500
                                                                     chickens, 100 ducks, 22 acres of hay, 16 acres of grains
                                                                     and 17 acres of corn.
                                                                               The period from 1918 to 1940 represented very
                                                                     hard times, and Mother Mary Theodora had borne the
                                                                     weight of it. Marycroft was one of the least of the
                                                                     challenges facing the Sisters during the subsequent years
                                                                     of World War II. Keeping both St. Mary’s Hospital for
                                                                     Children and St. Mary’s School solvent, as well as
                                                                                            praying for their three Sisters
           Two Sisters visiting Marycroft, in a photo dated 1932.   Haying at Marycroft
                                                                                            interned by the Japanese in the
                                                                                            Philippines, seemed far weightier
               The Simple Life                                                              matters than maintaining the farm.
                                                                                            The daily round of tilling soil and
                                                                                            feeding animals had their place, but
                                                                                            there were no Sisters who could
                                                                                            break through the tyranny of lack of
                                                                                            resources, and so the new Superior,
                                                                                            Mother Mary Bede, sold the property
                                                                                            to support other endeavors. The
                                                                                            records are sketchy at best here:
                                                                                            there is one small memo giving Carl
                                      sanitation. The Sisters        Seeboldt permission to take a weekend off to move his
                                      were responsible for           family from Marycroft to Mount Saint Gabriel, then a real
paying their share of the principal and interest of the bond         estate ad touting the many virtues of Marycroft for the
levy that paid for the expansion to the farm. This was a             exact same price quoted to Mother Mary Theodora in
heavy burden for the Sisters, ordinarily tax exempt, as is           1918. In all the years that the Community had owned this
shown by numerous tax receipts with penalties for                    farm, they had only paid interest on the note; in all
payments often four to six months late.                              likelihood they had bought Marycroft several times over
         There are not enough records to piece together the          in interest payments.
whole story, but a few Examination of Milk reports                             Finding the closing papers would take more
required by the County Department of Health show that                research to see what the actual proceeds were. In a way
over the years the advances in sanitation engineering and            it does not matter. What Mother Mary Theodora
requirements for public safety — for the use of milk to              believed and invested in — a working farm capable of
feed school children in particular — impacted the way the            supporting a extended community of up to 200 persons
Sisters could use the products from their farm. Hygiene in           at the convent and schools on Mount St. Gabriel in
a dairy barn is crucial for safe milk products, but stark            Peekskill — she found ways to keep. The next Superior
Depression economics and a shoestring budget created                 did not have the same vision. A new generation of
difficulties with county inspections in 1938. Mother Mary            Sisters, remembering the farm only as a bucolic place
Theodora responded promptly and respectfully to the                  for rest and retreat, saw Marycroft as expendable.
county Department of Health. Within less than six months             Branch houses in the New York area took its place for
an unacceptable level of cleanliness was corrected.                  Sisters to go on rest, and progress in       (Continued on page 7.)
(“Community News” cont’d from page 3.)                                                    the care of medically compromised
Novice Mistress when Sr. Mary Hugh                                                        children. Rounds were made of the
retired from the House of Redeemer to                                                     facility afterwards to pray with staff
become the new Assistant Superior.                                                        and children who had been unable to
Several of the present Life Professed                                                     attend the noonday service.
Sisters were trained by Sister                                                               News from Luwinga, Malawi
Anastasia. We knew the loving
empathy that endeared many a St.                                                             It is the rainy season in Malawi —
Mary’s School and Valhalla girl to her,                                                   their early summer. The Sisters wrote,
but we also saw the disciplined life of                                                   “We have got a very good crop this
prayer and faithfulness governed by the                                                   year, and we are proud of it since we
Community’s Rule of Life. This made                                                       did most of the farm work by
her a “prayer                                                                             ourselves.” Their intention is to
warrior” in the                                                                           support both their own household and
front ranks. She                                           Healing                                   the orphan feeding program
was famous for                                             Mission                                   at Trinity Church in
that little black                                          to St. Mary’s                             Luwinga from their garden
memo book filled                                           Hospital                                  and livestock. They had a
with lists of                                              for Children                              lovely time with the children
names and scraps                                                                                     at Christmas writing us, “We
of paper with                                          had exclaimed,                                had a Christmas party with
intercession requests. As age and             “ Oh, I want my death                                  them and they were very
infirmity limited her physical activity,      to be just like that!”                                 happy. The number [of
she spent hours with that book, poring        But that Sunday night                                  children] is growing. Instead
over the names that represented so            she recited her final                                  of 100 now we have about
many precious children in God’s sight.        Office faithfully in                                   150. Everyone is enjoying
                                              private, and though her                                this programme.”
   On the last morning of her life,
                                              Sisters were caught off                                The Novitiate took a break
Sister Anastasia asked to make her
                                              guard by the crisis around midnight,        from classes over Christmas, the
confession before receiving Sunday
                                              Sister was not. As the Infirmarian          novices going home to visit their
Communion. In the afternoon she was
                                              ran for the Mother and a Postulant          families in January. Canon Fanuel
surprised and delighted by a visit by
                                              quietly sat by her side, Sister             Magangani, the Sisters’ Chaplain, is
one of her “daughters” from Valhalla
                                              Anastasia peacefully crossed over           teaching Theology and African
days who had driven up from New
                                              to meet the Bridegroom she had              Traditional Religion and Fr. Jutta is
Jersey. At supper one of the Sisters
                                              served so faithfully in joyful              teaching the novices and Junior Sisters
described a beautiful Christmas stollen
                                              anticipation for so many years.             Church History.
she had just baked for her, but Sr.
Anastasia smiled, and then shook her          Healing Mission to St. Mary’s
head. When Sister Mary Helen had              Hospital for Children
died, surrounded by her Sisters chanting               Priest Associate Fr. Nigel
the Compline Office, Sister Anastasia                Mumford and Sister Mary Elizabeth
                                                        visited St. Mary’s Hospital for
                                                        Children in Bayside on
                                                        November 19 to conduct a
                                                        Healing Mission to the staff,
                                                        children and families served by
                                                        the Healthcare System serving     New CSM Associate Canon Mathew Baker
                                                        the Greater New York area
                                                        which bears both the                        Associate News
                                                        Sisterhood’s name and             Lay Canon Mathew Baker, Director of
                                                        continuing support and love.      Christ the King Spiritual Life Center in
Photo courtesy of Dirk Juttner of Warwick, England

                                                        The emphasis of this mission      Greenwich, NY, was received as an
Sr. Martha with Tanzanian Sisters of St. Mary of                                          Associate by Bishop William Love on
Nazareth and Calvary — an Order founded by the          was to “Heal the Healers” with
English Sisters of the Sacred Passion in the 1940s.     anointing for healing and re-     December 6 at a special Office of
Two CSM Sisters had traveled to Njombe, Tanzania, in commissioning of staff and           None that followed a festive dinner for
October to celebrate first professions and life vows
                                                        volunteers who give of            Associates and friends of CSM on the
made by seven CMM Sisters. Sr. Martha said, “It is
good that we could come to encourage one another.”      themselves so unstintingly to     Feast of the Epiphany.
(“Joyful Simplicity” continued from page 3.)                                          When times seem tough, open your heart to the
spade will bring up the worms that reflect a balance of                      poor and donate from your abundance. The abundance
diversity in the soil. Next year we hope to plant an even                    may seem small, but give from it what you can with a
larger garden. Those of us who plant crops and practice                      grateful heart. Make personal and corporate sacrifices
animal husbandry work hard and sweat a lot, but we also                      — share the burdens of fiscal need as praying families
laugh a lot and take great satisfaction (and much                            and as faith communities. Buy food for the local food
amusement) in the fruits of our labor. Sacrifice? Oh,                        bank every time you shop for your family. Seek new
yes. When the animals need tending and you feel rotten,                      habits that use less and produce more: dig in the dirt,
you tend the animals. Summer heat and humidity are                           plant some seeds, and watch them turn into a bountiful
draining, but when tomatoes are being harvested faster                       harvest. This might require less television or Internet
than they can be eaten, the canners go into action even at                   time, but that might be the healthier choice. Plan ahead.
110° in the kitchen. Shelves filled with jars at the end of                  Make fewer trips and use less gasoline. Bake cookies or
the season, and spinning wheels humming with harvested                       make soup from the vegetables you grow together.
cashmere or wool, in the end, are very satisfying.                           Spend time with your family and try to really listen to
        Life does not have to be complicated. There are                      the conversations you share and to savor the meals set
ways to introduce simplicity into our lives if we only                       before you.
slow down and let God show us what is out of balance.                                Pray together. Cultivate gratitude. Listen for
We cannot do this in our own strength. We must be                            God’s voice challenging old patterns and encouraging
ready and willing to have God open our eyes to                               new habits. Freedom awaits: she is called Simplicity,
unconscious habits of excess, to wake us up.                                 and she lives in a grateful heart.

(“The Simple Life: Marycroft Farm” continued from page 5.)
American machine-driven agriculture replaced the one                         the local community too expensive? Should that day
hundred-acre family farm with the modern supermarket.                        come soon, having a year’s larder of fruits and
                                                                             vegetables harvested, canned, dried or frozen, and
         What does all this teach us in 2009? Modern life                    having the basic skills to raise crops for that larder
and agriculture have become so dependent on petroleum at                     sustainably will be a boon to our lives together. In the
the turn of this century that the days of horse-drawn                        interim, a witness to the “simple life” — of animals in
wagons are beginning to look less old-fashioned as fuel                      balanced husbandry, sustainable tillage of the soil and
becomes scarcer. Will the day come when trucking costs                       conscientious use of the fruits of the harvest — fits well
make buying food originating more than 100 miles from                        with our ethos of prayer balanced by honest labor and

        Wish List for the Work of the Sisters in                        For the Sisters in Greenwich:
               Greenwich and Luwinga                                    Quantity    Item                                        Cost
       Often we are asked, what do the Sisters need?
       Many thanks to those of you who responded to the last            8           8.5 pound dry chemical fire extinguishers   $50 each
       issue’s list. We are grateful as it gives us the tools to move
                                                                        7           50ft. weeper hoses                          $19
       forward in the “simple life.”
  For the Sisters in Luwinga:                                           14          4’ x 8’ 12” board kit for raised garden beds $80 each
                                                                        1           Sewing Room Adjustable Dressform            $250
  Quantity Item                                   Cost
                                                                                    Computer Software
  100          Clergy Collar Tabs                 $1 each                                  Adobe Illustrator                    $250
                                                                                           Adobe Photoshop                      $225
  50           One semester Tuitions for          $150 per child                    22” Computer Monitor and Memory             $400
               Secondary School                                                     Upgrade for the Scriptorium

  A Fund to purchase recreational                 $700                  6 units     150 ft. Electric Goat/Sheep Fencing         $200 each
  equipment for the Orphans Feeding
                                                                        1           Take-up Reel for electric tape fencing      $45

  A Fund to purchase educational                  $500                  The Sisters in Greenwich would also welcome donations of time
  equipment for the Orphans Feeding                                     and talent in the form of volunteer gardeners, office workers,
  Program                                                               computer “websters”, apprentice cashmere combers and fiber craft
                                                                        workers. Call ahead if you are interested in helping out.
                            Phone: (518) 692-3028                                  Convent Time Table
                                 The best times to reach us are                        Monday – Friday
                                 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m.
                                                                                Matins                 6:30 a.m.
                                 Extensions: 232   Mother                       Mass                   7:00 a.m.
                                             233   Sr Mary Angela
                                             235   Sister Mary Jean                    Breakfast follows
                                             236   Sister Catherine Clare       Terce                  9:30 a.m.
                                             237   Sister Mary Elizabeth        Sext                       Noon
                                                                                      Dinner 12:30 p.m.
                            Fax: (518) 692-3029                                 Tea                    3:30 p.m.
                            e-mail addresses:                                   Vespers                5:30 p.m.
                                   com-                                                 Supper follows
                                                                                Compline                   7:30 p.m.

                                            for Mother
                            Miriam                                                    Saturday– Sunday
                                                                                Matins                7:30 a.m.
                 Mary’s     Jean
                                            for Sister Mary
                                                                                Mass                  8:00 a.m.
                                                                                   All else as above except
                                                          Terce is omitted.
                                            for Sister Mary
Purification of St. Mary    St. Mary’s Messenger, published at St. Mary’s Convent, Greenwich, New York, is the
                   2009     regular newsletter of the Eastern Province of the Community of St. Mary, New York State
                            Not-for-profit corporation known as the Sisterhood of St. Mary, Inc. It will be published
                            four times in 2009: in February, May, August and November. It will be sent without
                            charge to anyone who asks to receive it, but donations toward printing and mailing costs
                            are appreciated. The suggested donation is $5 per year ($10 outside the US).
                             Editor: Mother Miriam, CSM                     Layout Editor: Sister Mary Elizabeth, CSM

                                                                                              NON-PROFIT ORG.
                                                                                               U.S. POSTAGE
           Saint Mary’s                                                                             PAID
           Messenger                                                                           GREENWICH, NY
                                                                                                 PERMIT # 56

GREENWICH, NY 12834-7922

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