Normally at the monastery when we talk about a community “outing” we mean that a group of sisters, whatever the size, goes together to experience a particular event or place.
For example, my living group of 6 sisters planned to celebrate a birthday among us by going together to see Munsinger Gardens one late afternoon. So, all 6 of us rode together in one of our vans and each person took in the beauty of the gardens for a designated amount of time. When time was up, we again gathered in the van and went to a local restaurant to eat our meal together and talk about the experience. It’s a wonderful way to share and expand an event. This way we see and hear many aspects of the site.
In contrast, this past Saturday, most of our entire community of approximately 150 sisters gathered at St. Scholastica Convent in St. Cloud, where we first prayed together and then broke into small groups of 4 or 5 sisters to study two psalms. We read each psalm and then shared our responses to it: what we thought it meant and how it struck us. That was a rich sharing.
We had our dining staff pack simple lunches for us to share in a larger space of the dining rooms so we could choose beverages and people to eat with us. That was cool for me because I found the sister whose name is the same as mine—Mary Jane—so we sat together and others joined us, while we caught up with each other as to our lives. She is 98 while I am 77 which gives us plenty to talk about.
The day was beautifully planned so we each could choose events that would allow us to see many sisters. We could play games such as cards or board games (Clue, Monopoly and such), put together jig saw puzzles, go for walks, go for a short ride through the woods or even take a brief nap.
By 2:30, we gathered again in the dining room for a snack, a blessing, and departure.
Altogether, it was graced day, an outing blessed by God and one another.
Mary Jane Berger, OSB
Photo taken by S. Catherine Duenne