Neighborhood Night of Peace: Tutus and so much more!

Jody Tigges, Vis Companion

Jody Tigges, Vis Companion

The following post comes to us from Vis Companion Jody Tigges. Jody wrote this reflective piece on the heels of her experience  volunteering at our Neighborhood Night of Peace event. We are happy to publish it here as part of our “Visitation Companions in Service” series. 

The Tutu Lady was at our Neighborhood Night of Peace again this year. She came bearing mountains of boxes of lovingly crafted tutus in a variety of colors.  I was drawn to the little girls of various ages standing at the edges of the boxes with eyes wide.

One small child stood near me in pink tennis shoes with sparkles all over them.

Tutu2“What color do you like?” I asked her.

“Pink,'” she whispered.

I looked among the tutus — all carefully wapped in tissue paper — and spotted a solid bright pink one.  Picking it up, I said, “Here is a tutu in pink, do you think you’d like this one?”

The little girl, possibly 5 or 6 years old, dropped all her prizes from the fish pond on the ground. She placed her hands on her cheeks and her voice quivered as she said, “Oh my gosh! Is this for me?”

“Yes, if you’d like to have it,” I replied.

“Oh, I’ve always wanted my very own tutu!” she exclaimed.

"Princess" tutus!

“Princess” tutus!

“Would you like to wear it?” I asked her.  She nodded in the affirmitive as together we worked to untie the ribbon from around the tissue paper.

As the paper fell away, she began to tremble with excitement. She gripped my legs as together we worked so she could step into her new skirt. A huge smile took its place on her face as she looked down at the tutu.

“Momma I finally have a princess tutu!” she said beaming.

Another volunteer said that she could shake it to get all the tulle to hang down properly.

The little girl stopped, did a little dance, thanked the tutu lady and skipped off alongside her mom.

For this little girl and many others ages 1 year to 12, Neighborhood Night of Peace was the night that dreams came true.

I smile as I think of how blessed I am to have been part of it all, tutus and so much more.

The Gift of Neighboring: Our Salesian Spirituality Center

By S. Mary Margaret McKenzie in collaboration with Brian Mogren

st Jane House

You are invited to the FIFTH Anniversary Celebration of the St. Jane House Sunday, June 9, 2013 1403 Emerson Ave North Open House: 1-4 pm Program with special guests: 2 pm RSVP by June 1 to vmonastery@aol.com or to 612-521-9282 (St. Jane House phone number)

Five years ago in our long range planning we envisioned a third house. This was inspired by our need to respond to many persons who were drawn to enter into our neighborhood ministry more than into our monastic lifestyle. This would be their house more than ours and could accommodate both men and women for overnight retreats or hospitality. It would be called the St. Jane House.

Where would it be, and how could we maintain and direct it? Clearly this would have to be God’s “make-over.”
When Brian Mogren heard what we were mulling and that we were looking to rent rather than buy, he offered his newly built, beautiful home on Emerson—his commitment to the neighborhood. He had given up his job as graphic designer for Target to give his time and talent full time to the Northside. Plus, his instincts had already directed him to and steeped him in Salesian spirituality.

Under Brian’s direction and gift of making dynamic connections we find ourselves sponsoring and at times participating in outreach ministry that embraces:

•    The practice of centering prayer
•    Support in living discerning lives
•    Bringing together for dialogue those who need a neutral space
•    Healing for those suffering because of violence and killing
•    Openness to forgiveness and reconciliation
•    Offering retreats to a variety of groups and individuals
•    The home-base for Vis Companions
•    Discussion groups around inspiring books and films
•    Encouraging and developing lay leadership
•    A safe place for teens to be developed as leaders
•    Urban immersion for college and high school groups
•    A safe place for people to connect across differences to discover our common humanity

All of this is fertile ground for the growth of Salesian spirtuality and holy ground for contemplative presence and hospitality.

As we ready ourselves to celebrate the 5th anniversary of St. Jane House, we are anticipating a new portrait of St. Jane by our dear brother and friend Brother Mickey McGrath, OSFS. We also see more clearly what God has created out of our visioning—a very specifically focused Salesian Spirituality Center. The primary sources and resources offered are persons relating and inter-relating—our gift to neighboring that has even gone global with the heartfelt use of social media to Live Jesus.