Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Snowlight, Three Deer, One Cardinal, and Other Joys

Grade 6 memory work, Miss Pitman, William White School:

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.   
His house is in the village though;   
He will not see me stopping here   
To watch his woods fill up with snow.   

My little horse must think it queer   
To stop without a farmhouse near   
Between the woods and frozen lake   
The darkest evening of the year.   

He gives his harness bells a shake   
To ask if there is some mistake.   
The only other sound’s the sweep   
Of easy wind and downy flake.   

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,   
And miles to go before I sleep.

Ste Marguerite d'Youville, Foundress of the Grey Nuns

I couldn't write about joys until I had chewed on and vomited, in a sense, the experience of the film "We Were Children." Doris's Mum was taken at 5 in 1931 from Montreal to Shingwauk, a residential school near Sault Ste-Marie. Her Mom died a few years ago, and her aunt who was 3 years older, is still living. Her Mom would never talk about it. April 24 - 27 there will be a Truth and Reconciliation  Commission in Montreal at which First Nation people will tell their stories in a variety of ways - depending on what feels safe - and their stories will be recorded. It is our responsibility to attend and hear their truths.

I pray that this may also happen one day in the not to distant future for those who were abused in our churches by priests and lay people in the past. Truth and Reconciliation. Reconciliation can only come after the truth is told - and before the truth can be told, the Church has to create an environment where truth-telling is called forth. I live in hope.

And from that - we held our clergy conference at the Manoir d'Youville in Chateauguay. Last night it began to snow - and snow - and snow! The photos were taken early this morning walking the grounds. Three deer - or possibly two deer, but one twice. In the distance. A cardinal singing so cheerfully and so very RED. A tiny bird's empty nest - I wonder what kind of bird raised its family there last year? Mrs. Tudor, I almost put an apostrophe in 'its.' But I remember - spring 1963 - Roslyn! in red ink - and I've lived in terror ever since of getting it wrong. :-)

Unfortunately, I cannot claim credit for this photo :-)
Silence except for the wind whistling off Lac St-Louis swirling the snow round and about.  Blankets. So soft. Wandering, I still ache back for that illusion of comfort - a promise that snow can't keep. And I went into chapel and a liturgy for St. Joseph's Day - 42 years since my First Profession at SSM. I told one of our priests, and  he said "Happy Anniversary for something that no longer exists" or something like that - not as harsh as that sounds - and I told him I felt I had a choice - of pretending that it never existed, or welcoming it into my life and giving thanks for all that those years at the convent gave me. He said, "It's true. For instance, if someone marries and divorces, s/he doesnt go back to being single. One is changed and different." I'm not the person, thank God, that I was before 1967 - and before March 19, 1971. The convent is in my blood and bones. Love, prayer, Sisters, friends, commitment, learning, growing, HAITI, bread-making in the 1,000's of loaves, Duxbury cook-outs, cherry seed-spitting contest with Sister Rosemary and the novices, sleeping at the boathouse and walking up through the grove to chapel early in the morning when the dew sparkled on the diamond err... smoke bush ... marshmallow hat on Christopher Columbus in Louisburg Square when we'd been graced with snow, the view from the roof over the Charles ... well, I wasn't planning on getting nostalgic - but we are made up of memories - and love - and struggles - and joys - and decisions - and ... well, to be continued. Maggie has been at me to play since I got home ...

I still feel a little guilty playing with the laser - as she can't catch it and doesn't know. I do. Cruel streak? But she loves it and goes mad. And then I'll gaze in peace at the snow outside my window and be thankful.

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