Today’s visit to the monastery almost did not happen. I did not want to tempt fate with all three kiddos at a mass specially arranged for my church group. GamerDad is on his way back home or he could have corralled the boys. Last night I got a call that one of the ladies was ill and the other twisted her ankle. Then another call saying she didn’t want to drive on her own so she was ducking out.
I said a few quiet prayers as I spoke to these women. The lady with the bum ankle came because she had food for the nuns and wanted to help me get there. Then I got a text from another lady who was going to go but did not want to try and manage her kiddos on her own either. Instead of us both being grounded at home with kids, she volunteered to watch my boys. What a blessings that was!
Then, my boys, who never sleep in, slept in. They are my alarm clocks! At 7am I flew out of bed and shoved the butternut squash lasagna in the oven. I promised the nuns lunch for after mass and it needed cooked before the hour and a half drive out there. Sleeping in was another welcomed blessing as we are in the throws of the 6 month growth spurt over here.
At 8:30, I gave the lady who didn’t want to drive on her own a call and told her I had room in my 8 seater. Once I got to the meeting place, I was pleased to see both ladies (M&T we shall call them). If it wasn’t for T, I would have gotten terribly lost!
Our Lady of Grace is tucked way, way, way back in ranch land. Dirt roads folks. I haven’t been on a dirt road like that since I lived in PA.
Cows were lined up beside the road, a llama was there too! Trees were all over the place! Loved it!
Then, when you think you cannot drive any more, you see the bell tower. This particular chapel was dedicated in 2001 but they have been there for 20 years as of last month.
Here is the main doorway into the chapel:
The bell tower is just above this door. I was in a hurry because mass was about to begin and we had chatted with two of the nuns for a good while beforehand. They got a kick out of Lil Miss and Mother Superior Mary Grace praised me for nursing and said Pope Francis would be so glad I was doing that!
Once inside, I totally fell in love with the small details, like this:
And there are these lovely shots from inside as well:
Fr Michael had a powerful message on prayer. That we often get distracted when we say the rosary or another long prayer. What is important is to stay focused and send out little prayers to get back on track.
Immediately, I thought of when I get frustrated homeschooling. I will sit there and scribble JMJ on the planner to allow The Holy Family to help me. It brings such peace. “The little prayers are like javelins we cast out into the evil.” Indeed!
After mass he spoke with us and grief came up. His words teared me up. M has lost too many children, my heart broke for her. He said it brings us closer to God, sometimes we need a firm shaking to get us on our knees. Then I brought up my miscarriages and how after that and our first successful pregnancy my husband returned to the faith and took me to my first mass. I shared that I converted after that and we have only gotten more active as a family with our faith. He was glad to see some of us younger folk returning because he has seen that my generation is slipping away. It’s that entitlement thing my generation has, “me, me, me, mine, mine, mine.” Nope, God should be the center.
It was a much needed trip and I look forward to visiting them again. I feel spiritually recharged!
In case you want to learn more of the sweet Carmelite sisters, here is their link