We had a pretty busy weekend at the House of Brigid, which was a nice change of pace from the last few weekends! On Saturday, Molly and I sang and played for a wedding at the Church. Of course the … Continue reading
This week has been a bit tame compared to the chaos of last week. We said bittersweet goodbyes to our 11.5 houseguests and had our first normal community meal yesterday. I realized it was our first meal without guests because we once again started discussing topics such as…well, I think you’d just have to be a fly on the wall to understand. (I don’t even understand sometimes.) Our washing machine is finally able to take a breath after a couple weeks of sheets and towels and baby clothes and contents of travelers’ suitcases. Our doormat has been able to take a breath after welcoming and dismissing countless guests day in and day out, and I have been able to take a breath—actually, scratch that last one. I haven’t been able to take as many breaths as I’ve come down with a nasty case o’ sumthin. But ah, I’ll take it as a price for fun with visitors. So I’ll assume choir went off without a hitch (as I wasn’t there to hear it) and I’ll assume work Thurs afternoon went well (as I wasn’t there to do it), and I’ll assume the sun outside is actually sun (as I can simply gaze at it from afar.) Oops, sorry to sound like an “ode to misery” there…it’s proving difficult to write about one’s experiences when one hasn’t actually experienced the experiences, if you catch my drift. So perhaps I’ll talk a little about the tour de West Ireland we had last week.
We went with some friends to the Loch & Quay Monday night for a session and a few pints. No one was able to hide from the pointed finger of the musicians as they scanned the crowd for their next culprit. My sister sang and played the guitar, my dad did an impression of Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof, my mom sang a Beatles song at warp speed, and Pauline and I sang “The Parting Glass”. Now, Pauline, mind you, sings a little…umm…deeper than I do, so I kind of grumbled out some notes in the dungeons of my range and then gave up when my throat started to hurt. So perhaps I should change that to Pauline sang and I grunted “The Parting Glass.” Then I worked while my family explored, played golf by the sea, and while I prayed for downhills all the way to collect them in their newly acquired vehicle with the nerve-wracking manual transmission. Luckily, God smiled upon me and gave me green lights, downhills, and a parallel parking place with a gap of several cars. I’m sure I took more than my fair share of space, but survival is the important thing here, right?
From there we jetted off to Waterford, Blarney Castle, the Ring of Kerry (my sister had been looking for the “ring” itself the entire day until realizing that the whole drive was “the ring of Kerry”.) Then it was Killarney, Cork, and Galway, with a brief stint at the Cliffs of Moher, where all the forces of nature were trying to get us off the cliffs….okay, so it was a little windy. But, our GPS had it in for us, sending us up into the teeny paths along the cliffs and saying things like, “turn on…road.” We quickly disregarded the GPS’s cruel traveler games and used a good old fashioned map. Accommodations were all lovely except for the last night in Dublin when we accidentally booked a room directly above one of Dublin’s premier hotspot nightclubs. Without ever setting foot in the joint, we could tell you the entire playlist of the night up until about 5am (the room was bumpin’ as much as the club) and could dictate back some fairly complete conversations as well from the decibel at which they were had.
Apologies to our guests of Saturday evening’s session at the Teach if we were a little distant due to hours of sleep. Without meaning to, we’d stayed up just as late as the partiers below.
We were up fairly early on Sunday as well, to bid the travelers farewell and to hear my dad preach at mass. He said if someone had told him that he’d be preaching in Wexford, Ireland a few years back he would’ve laughed and said, “good one, so-and-so!” Although many parishioners were fairly confused as to why some priest guy on the altar was married and had four kids. Needless to say, Fr. James cleared up some of the confusion with a proper description of what a deacon is exactly.
This week, I’ve been working with several classes at Kennedy Park in preparation for 2nd class first communion masses this weekend. They sound wonderful! Also, on my days off, I’ve enjoyed popping over to peoples’ homes for a cuppa tea and a conversation. This week it was Dominic’s turn, one of the Roman Guards in the Passion Play. He’s a faithful daily mass-goer as well as a willing participant in the play. We talked a lot about the shape of the church in Ireland and what he sees in the future. He has a great devotion to scripture, especially to the Gospels and he pulled out his Bible, a giant encyclopedia of a thing, which he lugged to the table and put in front of me. I thought about asking when he’d ever considered investing in a slightly smaller Word of God but zipped my lip when I saw the crinkled leaves, ancient photographs, handwritten letters, drawings, glitter, and markings which were all crammed inside. I smiled as he pulled out each memory and guided me through his happiest and most joy-filled times. He’d gotten the Bible for 30 quid and I could see then that it wasn’t only about the content of the great book itself, but how it has chartered his days and been an integral part of the happiest moments of his life. The two were not separated; the stories of the Bible went right along with the stories of his life and it was natural that he married the two in one meaningful life understanding.
We closed off the week with a splendid little visit to Tinturn Abbey, down in this neck of the woods with one of our friends from folk group. Looking ahead to this weekend, we have ourselves a wedding, a vocal concert, a going-away party for a good friend, masses and a ministers’ retreat. Whew.
Oh! And Happy Birthday to Nick. Have some cake!
Actually, I rescind the offer for cake since we…umm…ate it all.
In the last week, we’ve been able to enjoy many aspects of Irish culture (and I don’t just mean listening to Nick practice the whistle). Nicole didn’t mention that she and her brother Adam came to Irish dance class with me last week when we returned from the Mournes. It has long been a joke, running back to last year, that when I leave for dance class on Tuesday nights, I call, “Anybody want to come to dance class with me? It’ll be fun!” And the reply comes back, from various rooms, “Um… maybe next week!” So, you can imagine how excited I was that Nicole and Adam came with me! On this particular night, a lot of people were there, so they got to learn the first few steps in a big group. They picked it up really quickly! Here is video evidence to prove it:
We also had the opportunity to sing with the Folk Group for a wedding on Saturday! There was a brass choir and a violinist, too. It was beautiful how all the different styles of music added to the ceremony. We had a little supper at Fr. Denis’, and then it was on to the Saturday Vigil Mass, where Emily’s dad served as deacon and preached the homily. Everyone loved his homily, in which he related the Ascension to saying goodbye to one’s children as they grow up. People were impressed by the fact that he was a deacon AND a father. While common in the States, it’s unusual here to have a deacon who is not in seminary studying for the priesthood. After Mass, we had a get-together for some friends at the Teach. (After all, it was the Puscas family’s last night in Wexford!) The Folk Group led a little prayer service in the living room in memory of Lupita, and we talked about how welcoming and supportive our community at Clonard has been. Then, after some delicious food prepared by the Puscases, a sing-song ensued! I sure am going to miss Irish parties.
On another note, last Friday we celebrated our last ACE Fellowship Mass in O’Connell House. I’ve developed a ritual of visiting Starbucks every time I’ve been up to Dublin for ACE Mass this year, and it has become a time to stop and reflect. Every month, when I get my coffee, I think about what we were doing a month ago, and how we have grown and changed as a community since then. There could be a time-lapse photography project of the House of Brigid members getting coffee on Grafton Street. The reflections and conversations usually continued at dinner after Mass, and sometimes on the drive home with our friend Fr. John-Paul. It’s hard to believe this was our last ACE Mass, but that doesn’t mean we’re done growing! Just as the ACE community commissioned its two new students to start their studies at Notre Dame, it also sent each of us forth with a decorative St. Brigid’s cross to take with us wherever we go next year. It will be a constant reminder of the wonderful community we are part of in Dublin!
Oh yeah, AND it was Nick’s birthday yesterday, as well as the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima! Nicole made cake, Emily decorated it, and we had a few friends from Folk Group over to celebrate. Little Gabriel provided the entertainment, much to everyone’s delight! Happy birthday, Nick!
This week has been quiet, too quiet. After the trip to the Mountains of Mourne life has been business as usual, with our guest families (including Emily with her family) touring the west of Ireland and trying to not fall off the road into a ditch (which is very, very easy to do for Americans)
Now that the Passion Play, Easter, and Confirmations are all done, we are starting to have a lot more free time in the evenings. I’ve been taking this time to keep learning and practicing tin whistle and low whistle, two instruments that I loved as soon as I heard them played and I don’t feel guilty about buying because both are relatively inexpensive to get at a really great quality. I’ve had the great blessings of being able to get together with one of our friends from the Folk Group, Stasia, who plays flute and whistle for them, and have her give me pointers and tips on techniques, styles of playing, and different tunes. One thing I’ve discovered is that when it comes to Irish music, playing it out of a book simply doesn’t cut it. Even though a tune may be written down a certain way on paper, the true tune, the real one that has been passed down through generations and families, is one that is learned by ear and learned by doing. You simply can’t put on paper all the turns, cuts, and slides that get included into a tune, especially when each county, group, and even family have a slightly different way of playing the music and making it their own, and if you just pick up the instrument and a book you would never be able to play it the way the Irish do.
What this has meant, at least what it means to me, is that the music can’t be read, but it has to be experienced, and that every time we play something we’re sharing that experience with others. So whenever I play the tune Give me Your Hand, I’ll be sharing the experience of hearing it and playing it I gained from listening and playing here in Clonard and Wexford. The music, please God, will reflect my experiences here and the people I’ve encountered and developed friendships with. If we were based in Co. Mayo, it would be a completely different experience, and the tunes would be experienced different: faster or slower, more or less turns, different parts repeated or different notes played altogether. The music is something that a person hands on to someone else; it’s part of a larger cultural tradition.
So, while I’m still a learner at those instruments, I can take solace that I can play better than this guy (Note: This YouTube video has become a house favourite, and I’ve been looking for an excuse to put it on the website all year)
This has been an exciting start to the week in the House of Brigid! This past weekend we’ve had a grand total of 11.5 people staying in 206 Cluain Dara! Part of Emily’s family is visiting from Connecticut including Mommy and Daddy Puscas, Brother Blair (whose name is a combination of Blaze and Bear), and Julia Gulia! And I also have some visitors including my big bro Adam, his lovely wife Kara, my godson and nephew Gabriel, and my future nephew or niece that is baking in Kara’s baby oven.
As we’ve experienced with the folk choir tour in May and the ND football fans coming over in October…big groups of Americans tend to bring beautiful weather to Ireland! And this weekend has been no exception! The sun is out, the sky is blue, it’s beautiful, and so are you! (name that lyric and win $100)
This Monday was a bank holiday, which means that we get an extra day off for the week! We have been planning a trip up the North to walk in the Mourne Mountains with Sr. Mary for awhile and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect! Monday morning we had Mass at the parish with Fr. James and then after a delicious Irish breakfast at Fr. James’ house, we started our journey up North. Monday afternoon we made it up to the Mournes and did our first hike. Fr. James, Molly, and Sr. Mary led the pack as I stayed back with Gabriel, Adam, and Kara about a mile behind the others due to walking at Gabriel speed. The walk was along the Silent Valley Reservoir and I will let the photo speak for itself.
That night we had some pub grub in a town called Carlingford and sat next to some French bikers. Harley Davidson bikers, just to clarify. Gabriel makes friends wherever he goes, as you would expect from a 16-month old adorable baby, but the bikers were especially friendly with him. We’ve decided that what sounds like gibberish babytalk to us, is probably just Gabriel speaking perfect French!
That night stayed in a lovely B&B in the mountains and I had some fun watching British reality tv. It was pretty much the same as American reality tv, just with British accents.
The next morning we went to the Cooley Mountains, just south of the Carlingford Loch that divides Northern Ireland from the Republic. We had another beautiful walk and here is some photographic proof.
This trip was such a wonderful opportunity for us to see a really beautiful part of Ireland with wonderfully patient and knowledgable guides.
Ireland has so many attractions with beautiful scenery and interesting and incredibly old historical sites, but this was one of my favorite places that I’ve been.
(maybe having the sunshine and my family helped tip the scales…but oh well!)
I challenge you to keep up with the impressive array of activity of the Teach this week. I can’t even seem to see how we managed to fit it all into a normal week. We kicked off the week with a lovely set of visitors, friends of Nicole’s friends who studied with her in Tully Cross, who joined us for our festivities and ministries both.
We spent a good long while at Father Denis’ home where we each loaded up on his delectable cooking and each also consumed at least three desserts. We shared silly stories and I shared my favorite pastime of using his ceramic candle-holder hand as my own hand. Since the coloring is ghastly grey and rock-cold, people usually have a double take before realizing that I have not, in fact, turned to stone.
We were also graciously invited to the Fogarty household for a bit of tea (which, in Ireland, means heaping portions of lasagna, multiple salads and sides, and two or three pieces of apple tart with streams of cream) and we saw the good ol’ Irish hospitality at work again in such a welcoming family. Excluding us four, six others just dropped in at their house throughout the course of the evening, so we all shared some wonderful conversations and watched little Charlie try to sit on his baby brother’s head. They have a great number of horses as well, so we popped down to the stables to dole out servings of delicious hay (I’ll take the apple tart, thanks), to see the newborn creatures who had also recently “dropped in” to the Fogarty’s (on a more permanent basis than the other evening visitors), and to braid a horses hair in preparation for the weekend’s races (which felt like 2nd grade again…but with real horses instead of My Little Pony plastic replicas.)
I experienced the beautiful culture of hospitality firsthand on Tuesday when, as I was cycling merrily by, a member of the Passion play – Dominic – waved me down and invited me in for a cuppa and a chat-a. We talked for a long while about the church in Ireland, and the necessary involvement of young people, and the differences between Irish and American culture. I biked away with much to ponder and am ever grateful for constantly feeling welcomed so openly into the lives and homes of the Wexfordians. (Wexfordites? Wexfolk?) If it keeps up at this rate, I don’t foresee ever having to purchase another package of biscuits or box of tea again. And to top it off, I ran into yet another Passion play member who, even though I later found out he was ten minutes late to his voice lesson, stopped to talk to me. That’s a value which I really hope to talk with me when I – (I’m going to turn my eyes away when I write this) – must depart from beloved Wexford. My feet are so accustomed to continuing their quickened pace in the daily humdrum, even when passing a friend with a casual “Hey, how are ya?” tossed backwards over my shoulder that they’ve needed to be re-trained this year to stop in their tracks and to let their owner pause for a chat. The Irish have taught me that there is always time for a hello to a friend. And not just the two-syllable hammered out version that I’ve come to know so well. No, the Irish “hello” is a hello with a built-in space for a conversation.
Additionally, this week included two Confirmation retreats, the final sessions of the YSBMW Confirmation programme for both schools, a visit from the members of the Vigil Choir and Youth Choir at the Teach on Thursday, a clash mash (that’s class mass to those who may not speak like Sean Connery as frequently as me), and a big ol’ gathering of friends from the Passion Play at Jesus’ home on Friday. I find it rather humorous that usually Jesus was the one going to everyone else’s home in the Bible, yet we’re all crowding in on him this time. (Mind you, “Jesus” in this case is actually a secondary school-aged lad from the Czech Republic and not actually Jesus Christ.) We were also at their home a little while back for some homemade sushi. Now, I am from Connecticut, but I somehow never got the gene that allows me to tolerate large quantities of the slippery stuff.
Nick and I helped run the closing sessions for the Confirmation program on Wednesday evening, which included prayer with all the families and the 6th class students from each school. The first hour had Father Martin announcing the names on certificates and sparing Nick and me the embarrassment of attempting to pronounce Irish names. However, we were not so lucky to escape the task during the 2nd hour and Nick and I were left to our own devices to announce the Scoil Mhuire students’ names. The hour went something like this: I had thought Nick knew the names confidently enough to spout them off without a hitch. He had thought I was more comfortable with pronunciation and was helping him from the side. The result was me whispering pronunciations to Nick as I handed him the certificates, Nick speaking it into the microphone, and then bursts of laughter erupting from the otherwise solemn congregation. When I thought he realized that I didn’t know any better than him, I began giving (what I thought were) extreme mispronunciations just to make him laugh. I’d thought it was pretty obvious, but apparently it wasn’t quite so obvious. For example, if the name were something easy-to-say like “Rachel O’Brien”, I would whisper, “Rakeeelay Ooobreeyan” and he would open his mouth before realizing that it wasn’t at all accurate. Sorry Nick. Ah well, the previous sessions had been rich in activity and laughter, so I’m sure the students had just needed something to giggle about, right Nick? I’ll blame our noticeable American accents for that one.
Finally, we are preparing our minds, bodies, and spirits for the invasion of the Puscas and Storey clans this weekend. I can’t speak for Nicole, but if I know my family, you should be able to hear their arrival in Ireland from…just about anywhere in the USA. This is how I foresee the discovery of a new country going, all stereotypes included.
Mom: WOW! Are those ALL sheep?
Em: (inwardly sighing and looking down at some book I’m pretending to read because I’m embarrassed) Yes, mom, and could we maybe take it down two or seven decibels?
Dad: I don’t think this bus driver knows how to drive.
Em: They drive on the left side of the road here, remember?
Blair: Do they put Guinness on their cereal?
Em: You’re thinking of frat boys, Blair.
Em: Where’s Julia?
(All turn and listen as she sits herself down behind an Irish person and attempts to imitate their Irish accent…to her amusement and my horror.)
Many blessings on your weekend and, if you think of it, send us over some of those classic 80 degree sunny May days.
What an eventful weekend! Nick already covered the Scoil Mhuire and Kennedy Park Confirmations, but I’ll just add a bit. The music was beautiful. The decorations were lovely. The students looked well in their new clothes for the occasion. But, best of all, the sixth class students received the Holy Spirit in the sacrament of Confirmation, for which they have been preparing all year in school (or with Emily and me on Sunday mornings), the You Shall Be My Witnesses programme, and on their retreat day in Ballyvaloo. Congratulations to all the newly confirmed! May the gifts of the Holy Spirit nourish your life!
On Friday night, we were privileged to hear Vocaré in concert at Clonard. They are a phenomenal group of singers led by Sue Furlong, and it was such a joy to hear them perform! They sang a wide repertoire, including “Sleep” by Eric Whitacre, “Walk in Jerusalem” arranged by Rollo Dilworth, a few selections from Carol Barnett’s Bluegrass Mass, and lots of pieces in Irish. It was a collaborative concert: each group from Clonard sang a couple pieces from their regular repertoire. The Children’s Liturgy Group sounded cherubic, and we received many compliments on “Shelter Your Name” and “I Have Been Anointed” as sung by the Youth Choir, Vigil Choir, and Folk Group. (We teamed up on a few songs.) We sang “How Can We Be Silent” with any of the Passion Play cast who was there. It was the finale of that show, and seems to have become one of our Easter anthems at Mass! At the end, all the groups sang the Irish Blessing together. It was a lovely evening, to be sure.
But wait! The special events weren’t over! South East Radio has changed their Sunday morning Mass broadcast to allow for monthly live broadcasts, instead of doing them all in the studio. They’re going to different parishes in the Diocese of Ferns each month. Sunday morning, it was Clonard’s turn for the first time! The Children’s Liturgy Group led the music and readings, and everyone agreed it came over the airwaves beautifully. If you’d like to tune in on South East Radio’s livestream, all of you in the States will have to wake up pretty early – the Mass is on at 10:00am here. You might consider catching it on June 9, when the Clonard Vigil Choir and Youth Choir will be singing!
This week marked the confirmation of the 6th classes of Scoil Mhuire and Kennedy Park, fulfilling months of preparation in the schools, the families, and the parish. It feels like we’ve been preparing for this since we started our time here, and with good reason. We started with the parent’s information night, where we first got our parent volunteers. Then in November we met with the members of the coordination team to plan out the parent training nights, which would happen in the month of January. Then for the months of February and March we had our programme You Shall Be My Witnesses each Monday night, administered by Emily and myself. Then for the past couple of weeks after Easter the schools have led the 6th class students through rehearsals in the church during the day. After nearly a year of work, preparation, and sometimes frantic prayer to find things that were lost, the children were finally able to receive their full initiation into the Church and be strengthened in the grace of the Holy Spirit.
At each Mass, the school provided a choir of schoolchildren who sang the hymns, the psalm and all the Mass responses with full heart and with full voice. Whether it was Eanna on the organ or Nicole on the piano, the instrumental music was lovely, as was a particularly rousing edition of Planxty Irwin, an O’Carolan tune, as played by some of the teachers at the Scoil Mhuire Confirmation.
One thing that has stuck with me from those Masses was the homily that Bishop Brennan gave. He repeated a line that John Paul II spoke to the polish people on his return to his country when he asked, “What have you done with your confirmation?” He was asking this not only to the parents, and those family members who came to attend their child’s confirmation, but to the children themselves in asking them what they were going to do with it. It made me reflect back upon my own confirmation, which I received at the unusual age of 8 before my First Holy Communion, and all the ways that the Holy Spirit has worked, is working, and will – please God – continue to work in my life.
Finally after, each of these confirmations came dinner (lunch) with the school teachers. On Thursday Molly and I headed off with the staff of Scoil Mhuire to a local restaurant, “The Yard,” and then on Friday the Bishop and the parish team took the confirmation teachers and us out to dinner (lunch) at the Ferriecarrig hotel. By the end of Friday’s workday, the children of the 6th class were filled with the Holy Spirit, and we were filled with too much food.
Last Friday was the start of a fairly relaxing and social weekend. Molly and I met up with a few folk group members to plan some liturgies for the upcoming months and afterwards we had our folk group rehearsal where we also practiced some music for the Vocaré concert this Friday night! (which is at 7:30 pm in the main church and tickets are 12 euro and include a wine and cheese reception!) When we got home Friday night a few friends from the parish had stopped by to give their condolences to Emily and ended up staying for the evening. It is really wonderful to see how supportive and caring people in this community are. Being away from our home and family is hard, but it’s so comforting to know that the people here realize this and will go out of their way to make us feel at home.
After a late Friday night, we all had a bit of a lie-in Saturday morning. Luckily we didn’t have anything on until our 6:00 pm Youth Mass. We have a youth choir that joins in with our Vigil Choir and sings at one Mass each month and this was the week. It’s always so uplifting to hear the youth sing and to see them encouraged and appreciated by the congregation after the Mass. They’ve really grown in confidence this year and I’m hoping that they’ll be joined by many others next year! Since Confirmations are happening this week, we will be inviting the newly confirmed 6th class students to join us for the next two months!
After the Vigil Mass we ate a bunch of raw fish! Our friend Patrik, who played Jesus in the Passion Play, and his mother invited us over to have sushi after Mass. I love to eat just about anything that swims, and sushi is one of my favorites! Some of the house members are less enthusiastic about eating raw fish, but it was great fun. We shared memories and favorite youtube videos and even got to do some faith-sharing.
At the beginning of our time here, we were told several times that the most important part of our ministry is presence and relationship building. And now that we are less busy we have more time to do this. And it’s wonderful, especially when we get to have conversations about our faith! We’ve all had such different experiences and journeys of faith and it’s nice to be able to share those with each other.
So if anyone in the area wants to do some socializing, let us know! But be forewarned that we will talk about Jesus!
It was a dark and stormy night. The Captain and his men sat around a small flame and his men said, “Captain, tell us a story.” So he began: It was a dark and stormy night. The Captain and his men sat around a small flame and his men said, “Captain, tell us a story.” So he began: It was a dark and stormy night…….
Everyone was up in a tussle Wednesday night on into Thursday because of said “dark and stormy night.” A tree branch decided that no, it did not like the placement of those power lines in front of the church and yes, they needed to come down. So, in the branch’s last minutes of life, it decided to take down Clonard’s electricity along with it. Of course, this meant our Children’s Liturgy Group rehearsal was plunged into a piano-less, light-less, bathroom-less rehearsal in which one child asked me, “Has the devil come upon us?” I assured her that he had not, because dim emergency lights were popping on here and there and God is light and where God is, the devil cannot dwell. She seemed pretty satisfied with that response and took to staring at the emergency generator lights saying, “shoo, shoo, devil, shoo!
As for our latter Wednesday eve rehearsals, we carted our folders and music and singers up to Teach Bhride for a home rehearsal. In the hurricane-like winds, we stoked up the fireplace and passed around piping hot cups of tea. We are preparing for a joint concert with the Vocare group as Nicole mentioned last week. Man, they just don’t know how lucky they are to sing with such a talented group.
Lucky for our morning mass community that it was sunny yesterday morning, because otherwise it would have been like attending mass blindfolded. It brought a smile to my face to see that the mass goers were not affected by the lack of electricity. They continued to approach the illuminate-a-candle donation boxes, deposit their donation, and press the buttons just the same. Except this time, the buttons did not trigger an electronic flicker of light. It didn’t seem to phase them in the least. The biggest concern of the morning was, however, the tea! There couldn’t be tea if there was no means to boil the kettle! The poor tea ladies just stood outside the day chapel, not quite knowing which direction to walk. As one reader commented, “what are the tea ladies without their tea…are they just, (I’m scared to say it), ladies?” (GASP!) As for the rest of us, we got word in our office that a source of hot water had been found, or perhaps sent down from heaven, so tea would be had after all! Phewf! (Can you tell that our workload has diminished slightly when the big news on the blog is whether we had tea today or not?)
Other happenings of the week included my return from Geneva, Switzerland where I was on a job interview weekend, mucho Confirmation rehearsals (Confirmations for KP and SM are next week!) a visit to a baby sheep farm (alright, go ahead and awww), and a lovely meal with Fr. Martin and Sr. Mary on Wednesday. Nicole brought us into the heart of France with her cooking: Coq au vin, bread avec du beurre (one can never…I repeat never have enough butter), le fromage, et un petit gateau. Ooh! Et le vin rouge. Oops…sorry…must’ve switched languages somewhere in there. Having been reminded that we enjoy French food, butter, and Meryl Streep, we all cozied down a couple nights this week to watch Julie and Julia. From now on, whenever we speak of butter, boning ducks, hollandaise sauce, chopping onions, meaty jell-O molds, or really tall women, we will most likely don a Julia Child-like accent to do so. (It’s started already.)
Finally, for those of you who don’t know, we recently had some very sad news in my family. My adopted sister, Lupita Guadalupe Camacho Ruiz passed away a few days ago due to lung cancer. She had been doing very well for quite a long time and then it suddenly took a turn for the worse, her lungs finally filled with fluid and God took her home with Him to Heaven. The community at Clonard has been immensely supportive and has surrounded me with love, prayers, and support. She is survived by her husband, Guillermo (Willy) and her two sons, Diego (8) and Santiago (6). I feel physically far from my family and from Lupita’s family during this time, yet thanks to the beautiful support in Clonard, I have felt emotionally and spiritually close to everyone across the Atlantic. This morning I felt supremely uplifted as our community prayed the rosary, as we do daily. I lifted my prayers silently to the Lord, through the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and I felt as if my soul became lighter, cradled by God and uplifted by all the prayers of the faithful.