Sunday, March 31, 2019

"You don't see this every day, do you?"

So did Kenny, our project manager question me as we watched this huge chunk of concrete being lifted out of our courtyard by an even bigger crane than we had last week.  “No,” I replied, “But I suppose you do.”  “Oh, no!  We usually have trucks that can come in…This is an UNIQUE project!”  It certainly is, for everyone concerned!
At Marianna’s first dinner with us, our thanksgiving prayers were accompanied by the music of saws ripping out door frames in the nearby kitchen area.  As they got louder, we increased our volume also.  O LORD, HEAR MY PRAYER!  AND LET MY CRY COME UNTO YOU!  MAY THEY REST IN PEACE!  AMEN!  (Laughter at the end.)  Actually, it was a pretty good introduction to the spirit of our community.  As the Angel Gabriel said to Mary, “With God, all things are possible”.  So far, Marianna has survived, so it looks like she just may have our same spirit.
Here are a few more destruction pictures:
Mini-Bulldozer did its work!

Smaller pieces were lifted in this basket

I did not believe they would get done "flying" the concrete in one day, but they did!  So now, at last we can start building.  Footings dug and reinforcement ready for the pouring of new concrete, God willing, this week!

Sunday, March 24, 2019

The Flying Bulldozer

 One of the biggest logistic challenges facing our work crew is the location of our to-be-constructed novitiate dormitory inside our cloister courtyard.  The doors allowing access to the construction site were only designed for pedestrian traffic, and the men did not relish the idea of demolishing concrete by jackhammer then carting out the 1,000 pound pieces by wheelbarrow!  Even should they be intrepid enough to attempt this task, the ordinary access was ill suited to future deliveries of bricks, steel beams and other building necessities, not to mention digging foundations, etc. 

The solution?  A crane!

This steel monster arrived the week before last with the job of lifting 2 concrete cutting machines into the courtyard.  It had some trouble when its big balancing feet sank in our rain soaked yard, but the attendant operators were able to solve that problem.  

We missed seeing the actual lift, being engaged elsewhere, but we made sure we were there to see the mini-bulldozer “fly”!  So far, this has been the most dramatic moment in our destruction/construction project.  The concrete demo men were all there recording the event on their smart phones while we stationed ourselves at strategic window look-outs.  With the care and precision of a space launch, the red bulldozer was duly hooked up then redone with stronger chains.  We heartily approved!  Such an object crashing through our roof would not be fun for anyone.  None of us were looking out of that side of the building (just in case!) 
 Finally we had take off! 

Here the photos tell the rest of the story.

A perfect landing amid applause!

Mini-bulldozer set to work immediately digging up the concrete blocks cut by the previous machines which were themselves lifted back out of the courtyard.
Here they are at their work the last week.

Meanwhile progress was made indoors with our kitchen renovations.  Here is our new BIG veggie preparation room!

And yes, in case you were wondering, Sister Chiara Marie was able to move back into her restored cell and we are all ready for Marianna who enters tomorrow on the Solemnity of the Annunciation.  Pray for her as she also enters into the chaos of destruction/construction.  Things are confusing enough for an Aspirant without all that going on!  But God has His plan for her as for each of us.  We are grateful to Him for the gift of a new member and for the example of our good work men who are faithful to their duty.  May we be as faithful to ours.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

“Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return”.

We have seen more dust this week than what was applied to our foreheads on Ash Wednesday!  A few surprises were in store for us as the construction men continued destroying our overhang roof at the building site.  We braced ourselves for earthquake conditions, for the next thing on the schedule was concrete removal.  But then there was a delay…and could we move out of the kitchen instead?  When?  Tomorrow?  TOMORROW???? Well…maybe the day after?..

 You want to see Poor Clares move? 
Then there was the day we were told that a mistake had been made on the plans:  there was not enough room in the cell that is to be converted into a bathroom because Sister Chiara Marie’s cupboard in the next cell is in the wrong place.  Could she move out so that they can adjust her cupboard?  It just means tearing out the wall and cupboard, and putting it back together again.  When? You guessed it.  That evening her novitiate companions helped her move temporarily into the cell reserved for our applicant Marianna, due to enter in a couple of weeks (it’s the only cell left!).  What are Sisters for anyway?  Don’t worry, Sister Chiara Marie will be back in her own place by that time, we are assured!  Here is Sister’s cell in its present torn up state:

A few more:  

Demolition of the novitiate common room’s wall in preparation for expansion:

Present state of the kitchen.

Overhang roof gone! 

Concrete coming up this week, we hope!

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Construction Update: The Fun has Begun!

Overhang roof must be removed before the Novitiate Dorm can be built
At long last we can record that we have begun construction!  Or more!  There is an analogy here, as there are so many everywhere you turn in life.  The old must first be destroyed before the new can rise up.  Those things which were good in their time have eventually to be set aside when they are no longer conducive to our going forward in life. 
St. Paul said that when he was a child, he spoke like a child and acted like a child.  Then when he became a man, he put childish things aside.  Lent is about to begin as well as our construction.  Looks like our penance is cut out for us this year!  
After the roof, then the concrete!