|St. Colette with St. Francis and St. Clare|
decoration for our Chapter Room altar
Yes, we are back after nearly a year of rest from blogging! A lot has happened at Bethlehem Monastery in Barhamsville, so I will be spending the next few posts bringing you all up to date. But first a word about today’s feast. We celebrate on this day the feast of St. Colette whom we call our “2nd Mother” because she was responsible for revitalizing the Order of Poor Clares that had fallen on hard times in the 15th century. Since I have been appointed Franciscan History teacher for our growing novitiate, I decided to summarize for my students the state of the Church during the lifetime of St. Colette. After reviewing this time period in our church history book, the only thing I could say was, “Oh my God, this is awful!” :Two antipopes (at the same time!) warring with each other and the real pope, politics, intrigue, scandal, monasteries and convents emptied by the Black Plague, general despair and violence. And we think we have problems! Well, we do, but it is useful and instructive to see our own woes in the perspective of history.
Since you last heard from us, we have had two investitures and a number of new arrivals, bringing our novitiate crew to a record 10 members! Pictures will be coming in due course as I find them and/or take them. Home improvement projects have been completed and new ones planned. Our increased numbers means decreased space. The monastery we built 14 years ago and that seemed so huge at the time feels much smaller and tighter today. We count our blessings! Twenty five Sisters is high on the list!