The Sisters are bustling about Sydney today in order to pick up all the essential ingredients to create an atmosphere that is ALIVE with life and love.
Having the habit of relying on Divine Providence for everything from the roof over our heads, to the apartments that need to open up for the pregnant women living with us in NYC, to the grace of healing needed to soothe the broken hearted who come to us for retreats; we are confident that nothing will be lacking for the pilgrims coming to the Love and Life Site. But a lot needs to happen before next week. So we were sent out begging today. We like to call it giving people the opportunity to be generous. Here are some of the initial reports back:
Hunting for furniture: We are hosting a live talk show on Weds. evening in the piazza of the University of Notre Dame and need to create a studio look on stage so I was sent out with Sr. Mary Gabriel and Sr. John Mary to see if we could "borrow" some furniture for the week. Hmmm... where to go? We started at a used furniture store near campus. The place was packed with stuff to the ceiling, everything used. My initial assesment - very promising. Until I met the owner of the store. He let us know up front that being an athiest and a businessman, "borrowing" furniture wasn't a possibility. OK, so we made some small talk about the hippie surfboard hanging on the wall and then I spotted them - an old pair of rollerblades in the front window. He said coolly, "You're not the rollerblading nuns from New York, are you?" "As a matter of fact, yes we are." The ice began to melt. He later admitted to me that at that point he decided to let us borrow the couches and table we needed, but being a businessman, we had to earn them. So we crossed the street to the local cappucino spot (and I'm thinking, I should go begging more often!). A long conversation ensued -- discussing some of his problems with the Church was the way we were going to earn the goods. We discussed freedom, evangelization, the crisis of child abuse, faith and love. He ended up opening his shop late that morning and we promised to continue the discussion next week when we pick up the furniture, over a cappucino of course.
Krispie Cream: "We'll have to give you a call back." Sounds like a strike out to me.
Cookies: As women and spitirual mothers we love to nourish people. Mass will be offered each moring at the site and there will be Eucharistic Adoration throughout the days and nights in St. Benedict's Church on campus so spiritual nourishment will be ample. We're ready for the rumbling of the Holy Spirit to descend, but Sr. Mary Karen wants to be sure that there are no young stomachs rumbling. She was on the job before we left the Bronx contacting our friends on Authur Ave. in the Bronx. Believe it or not, and if you are familiar with the Sister's practices of washing tin foil and ziplock bags for reuse, you'll believe it -- our novices checked 15 boxes of donated italian cookies on their flight over for our "Cafe Benedetto." The WYD organizers tell us to expect over 20,000 pilgrims to visit the Love and Life Site each day and they'll be bringing their appetites. We have already received over 100 lbs. of powdered cocoa, but nothing to dunk. Our current cookie supply will be devoured in an hour. That was the grim situation until God sent a wonderful Leabonese family to the boathouse last night. They have seen the Sisters walking around the neighborhood and stopped by the see how they could help. The face of God's Providence is once again revealed: Antoine and Gorgette. Gorgette took Sr. Mary Karen out shopping this morning and as they were filling up her car the scope of what is happening here sunk in. Gorgette called the manager out and arranged for two truckloads of cookies to be delivered to the site. Deo Gratia!
Sr. Mary Elizabeth, S.V.