Outside the front door to our residence hall, a phenomenon happens each year that stirs my spirit. It is the blooming of one particular crocus. It reminds me so much of what living in the mountains of eastern Kentucky is really about overcoming.
What makes it unique is that it is planted right next to the sidewalk of the residence hall beneath a large oak tree in compacted, rocky soil. These are the absolute worst conditions in which to grow a plant. Yet it has returned each of the eight years that I have lived in that building.
It is small. It blooms for maybe a week. It usually only puts out three or four white blooms and then disappears for another year. And its appearance lightens my spirit.
This year the crocus came on February 10th and it has been more productive than usual, producing at least six blooms so far although it may be at the end of its season-just as we enter Lent.
The crocus reminds me that even when life is hard and conditions are rocky, I can still bloom. It reminds me that being a consistent presence may be exactly what someone else needs to get through a “rocky patch”. And it reminds me that even when something is no longer visible, it still lives.
I hope there is a crocus in your life. And that its short bloom leads you to the eternal God. Sr. Kathy C.
We have recently celebrated Sr. Kathy Curtis’ final profession! What a joyous celebration! The reading chosen for the occasion was taken from Sr. Joan Chittister’s commentary on the Rule of Benedict, chapter 58 “The Procedure for Receiving Members”. She states that “Benedictine life is rooted in three dimensions: commitment to a community, fidelity to a monastic way of life and obedience… We are to be totally open to the constantly emerging challenges of the God-life within us and …learn to see the globe through eyes softened by the Gospel… We are to see change and challenge in life as God’s voice in our ears.”
All that sounds like quite a mouthful! However, when I think of what it means to commit to be faithful I realize that applies to all ways of Christian living. We’re there for each other through the hard times – when the water pipes freeze and break, when trees fall on buildings, when cancer is diagnosed (events that occurred this past winter!). But we’re there for the good times too. Spring does come. Winter is over and repairs are completed. Friends come to celebrate and flowers bloom. Our response to these things is our openness to the God-life within us.
And so we do learn to see things with new eyes – eyes that are softened by the Gospel. This is our journey of conversion. It’s our daily striving to live the Gospel message a little better; to change our harsh ways, to respond to someone else’s need when we would rather not be bothered. This past winter when we were all snowed-in at the monastery, Sr. Kathy Curtis reminded us that “patience is not just the ability to wait but how we behave while we’re waiting”! And that too is part of the conversion process. We learn to change our thinking from competition to “how can we work together?” Instead of issues being either black or white we learn there is a gray area. And so we grow in unity with others.
Life is messy! But together we journey, loving and caring for each other. Congratulations Sr. Kathy! And blessings on you as you continue your journey with us.
It was not my plan to become a nun. I am a Protestant and to us religious life generally means a life spent in mission. I have come to believe that is still the definition of religious life. However what we are at Mt. Tabor is monastic and that is another way of living in mission.
I remember my first visit to Mt Tabor. It was for Thanksgiving dinner and during the meal the conversation turned to the progress of the Sister’s quest to become ecumenical. “That means I could live here” I remember thinking to myself. But then quickly thought, “But God has called me to mission in Maytown.” Isn’t it funny how we don’t see the forest for the trees.
After 5 ½ years of living this life I have come to see that God is continually growing us into holiness. For some that is marriage and a family. For some missionary outposts and service. For some, monastic life. Whatever the format, the goal is the same- – to know and love God.
So God draws me. This time, this place, these people. “For the rest of my life”. Those words hit my youngest son hard. He always thought I would be moving back to Florida. But he is getting used to the idea. As I was driving my family to the airport to return to Florida I heard him say, “It’s been a heck of a weekend. My mom married God!”
Sister Kathy Curtis