Serenity| Reflection by Sr. Brenda Lisenby

“Pray to Love, Love to Pray” Courtesy of Anne Goetze

The following meditation on Anne Goetze’s mixed media artwork, “Pray to Love, Love to Pray” comes from  Sr. Brenda Lisenby. 

A black habited woman walks away, down a corridor. Her walking is a gentle walk, a knowing walk, a quiet walk. I cannot see her face, but I know it is serene—it reflects a serenity that comes from an interior posture of reposing in God, I think. I know this because I sensed the moment I saw this picture that it was an image I carry of myself.

“Can she truly know what is around the corner until she makes the turn?”

Many years ago I was attracted to a similar painting, in an art shop in Hong Kong. That picture is of a young woman dressed in traditional Vietnamese clothing, pushing her bicycle, with a “yue nan mao zi”–a Vietnamese hat as the Chinese called it. This woman was also walking away, her back to me, but I identified immediately with her. I, too, rode a bicycle daily. I, too, had a “yue nan mao zi” to keep the sun out of my eyes.

Toward an unknown destination...

Toward an unknown destination…

And although I didn’t wear Vietnamese or even Chinese clothing, I did learn how to ride my bicycle in a skirt. But there was something more about this woman with her back to me. She was going somewhere, I didn’t know where. And the simple beauty of this young Vietnamese woman journeying on to her destination, an unknown destination from my viewpoint, communicated a serenity to my spirit.

 “I do not always know what I am walking toward, yet in spite of the unknown destination, I walk gently, knowingly, quietly.”

The picture of the Visitandine nun in her home in Annecy communicates a similar serenity to me. Once more, I cannot see her destination, but I know she knows…or maybe she doesn’t. It must be a corridor she has walked hundreds if not thousands of times. But can she truly know what is around the corner until she makes the turn? I am this woman, always on a journey, always walking away from yet toward something. I do not always know what I am walking toward, yet in spite of the unknown destination, I walk gently, knowingly, quietly.

Our Garden Blessing

Processing out singing "Canticle of the Sun" and the Garden Blessing: S. Katherine tossing earth, S. Suzanne reading the prayer

Processing out singing “Canticle of the Sun” and the Garden Blessing: S. Katherine tossing earth, S. Suzanne reading the praye

Blessing Prayer for a Garden

Lord of Creation,

who planted Your own garden called Eden,

come and bless this soil which is to be our garden.

All that dies becomes earth,

and so it lives again.

May this garden soil

be both womb and tomb,

a home for death and life,

so that seeds of living things—

S. Mary Margaret sprinkling the holy water around our flower gardens

S. Mary Margaret sprinkling the holy water around our flower gardens

of plants, of food and flowers—

may die and resurrect

here in our garden.

Ancient earth,

our mystical mother,

teach us, your children,

that all things die

to nourish life.

Gentle earth,

be blessed with our love

as we work in you.

Make us mindful that one day

you will be our final bed

of love and ecstasy.

Amen

From Prayers for the Domestic Church by Ed Hays

Brenda Lisenby

Brenda Lisenby

 

We used this text for the Garden Blessing we had earlier this week–related to “rogation days” –but also in preparation for the upcoming Eagle Scouts who will be providing some new landscaping around the monastery. —Brenda Lisenby

Love Bridges: Valentines Party at the Monastery

 

Bean Bag Tods

Bean Bag Tods

Dear Friends of Visitation,

Our family Valentine Party,* hosted and organized by our dear friend Vicki Bailey, was a huge success again this year. What was especially gratifying was seeing our families having such a great time together! Secondly, we had a diverse array of volunteers: teens from the neighborhood, Visitation students, lay residential community members, students from St. Thomas University, etc. The latter group are members of the University choir, and their spring concert theme is “Solidarity with All Peoples.” Our party gave them an opportunity to meet parents and children from north Minneapolis. This group will be back in the spring to help our campers do neighborhood pick up to earn a week at camp. Go, St. Thomas!!!

We are so grateful to have gatherings that build bridges across our Metro area and bring folk together. Happy Valentines Day, One and All!

Sr. Mary Frances, Community and “Crew”

 

*For more photos, click: Facebook Album

Celebrating Valentine’s Day: Expressing Love in North Minneapolis

St. Valentine

How many ways are there to communicate love for your community? For the families that inspire and nurture our very existence? What are we called to say, do, be — in response to the outpouring of God’s love born out through one another? How do we, as the Visitation Community, express our love to you, as friends and beloved strangers, who call us daily into our ministry of prayer and presence?

This year, as we mark the Feast of St. Valentine, we share with you snapshots from two different expressions of our community outreach and prayer-born love and gratitude.

valentine artist 3

Valentine’s Party

 

 

–The first is our Family Valentine’s Day Party, with Visitation School and Convent partner, Vicki Bailey. (Click to view our Flickr photo album and reflection by S. Mary Frances.)

 

 

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At Bethune!

 

–The second is our visit to Bethune Elementary School, to deliver a special Valentine to the faculty and staff who care for and educate so many northside children. (Click to view Flickr photo album and reflection by Companion Melissa Borgmann-Kiemde.)

 

How many ways can you see the Visitation embrace in these photos? Where do you spot Mary and Elizabeth? Can you detect a leaping womb, heart, or mind? Live+JESUS!

 

“Saints are not supposed to rest in peace; they’re expected to keep busy: to perform miracles, to intercede. Being in jail or dead is no excuse for non-performance of the supernatural. One legend says, while awaiting his execution, Valentinus restored the sight of his jailer’s blind daughter. Another legend says, on the eve of his death, he penned a farewell note to the jailer’s daughter, signing it, “From your Valentine.”” — from Catholic Online