S: Soul Sisters - Year Three
BC: Pax et Bonum ! | Created by Mary Ellen / Sophia for her Soul Sisters 2010-2011
FC: Soul Sisters | Year Three
1: Soul Sisters | AMTRAK | Year Three | 2010 - 2011 | Life is often compared to a train ride, and train rides are something I've learned a lot about over the last three years. We get on; we ride; we get off and then on again. There are accidents and delays. Some stops bring great joy and others profound sorrow. Thankfully, we are not alone on this journey. We have been blessed with many wonderful companions. Amazingly, this segment of our journey - the one shared with our Soul Sisters - is entering its fourth year! Recalling year three on these pages, repeatedly brought two words to my lips... Deo gratias!!
2: ARRIVALS | As Soul Sisters we are on this train together. Though each of our journeys is different - filled with joys, hopes, sorrow, challenges, setbacks and goodbyes - with our Father's help we can handle anything. At each stop along the way, new companions are welcomed aboard who bring with them new memories and their own journeys to share. | Rita and Patti come aboard... | Patti Abernethy - Sr. Eileen Newark, DE | Rita Rene Gribbell - Sr. Carmen II Havre de Grace, MD | Welcome to Angela Sowa - Sr. Rachel Palo Alto, CA | We also reconnected with Betty Jane (Krug) Morgenstern - Sr. Shawn Fairlawn, NJ
3: DEPARTURES | Mysteriously, we never know when our last stop will be. Neither do we know when our traveling companions will make their last stop. Each, however, leaves a lasting impression on our hearts... | "I thank the Lord for the wondrous gift He gave Cindy in her last earthly weeks: the gift of choosing LIFE (again!) I know it was He Who gave her the grace to RISE from her dark tomb and live again... open the doors and windows again... laugh again... crochet again... hear the birds sing again... and enjoy eating peach ice cream again. It is as if the Lord was preparing her not only for life, but for NEW LIFE with Him. I will always be a humble grateful witness to her final growth as I thank Him for the miracle He wrought in her! " - Barb (Audrey) | Cynthia Zambor Halbedl (Sr. Doris) | " 'Mother Mary', Antonea's mother, Mary Skolnik, whom most of you met at our retreat in August, passed away Saturday at the age of 101.5 ! Mary will be laid to rest in Reading, PA where Antonea is buried. " - Sr. Alex | Sr. Katherine Louise, "Sr. Kitty" lived and worked with our Sr. Patti Ann in Baltimore. | Helen Konkel (Sr. Jonathon)
4: Considering the collection of characters on this choo-choo, it is no wonder that it is never dull... as we make and share some incredible memories together as sisters. | The Soul Sisters 2010 Summer Retreat... | Thanks to sisters Alex, Jo, and Therese- It was a great weekend!
5: What happens at OLOG - STAYS at OLOG ! | Thank goodness ! | "Matthew 18:20 says 'Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.' There were SIXTEEN of us and whoa!!!!the atmosphere of love, sharing, prayer and peace was over the top! " Bernie (Carmen) | What a wonderful and inspirational gathering. You are a blessing to one another and to those of us who view your pictures. Thank you. Mary Jane(Doretta) | My cheeks still hurt from all the laughing!
6: 'Deo gratias' to our Father for showering this gathering of His daughters with so many moments of sisterly warmth, caring and sharing - a true testament to His providence. I can't wait until we can do it again! | Our Father ... | Father Joe Pikarski & the soul sisters from Wilmington | Teacher & student
7: Jesus entered a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to what He was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks and asked, "Lord, do you not care that my sisters has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me." But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken from her. | "What a blessed and joy-filled weekend!!! At one point I thought I'd burst from all the love and laughter that filled the room! My only regret was that more of our soul sisters couldn't be with us. I also want to thank each and every one of you for your prayers for me and for your encouragement. I was humbled and so touched by your beautiful prayers for me, and especially, your laying on of hands. It touched me in ways I don't even have the words to express...I hope we can all get together again before I leave for the Monastery, but if for some reason that can't happen, know that you're all forever in my heart and in my prayers." Bernie/Shanty | Lord, we ask Your blessing on our sister Shanty as she anxiously awaits the day when she will join her life with that first Mary's - at Your feet. Fill her heart with the happiness found in Your love ... leaving a small space where we can dwell - the sisters You chose for her so many years ago - her first sisters ... her soul sisters. | A Blessing for our Bernie...
8: Next stop ... MICHIGAN !!!! | "I was wondering why my face hurt... then after I viewed all of M.E.'s pictures, I realized it was because I was laughing and smiling for the better part of 10 days straight! An incredible journey. We prayed and played, visiting many holy places, as well as, fabulous shopping and historical areas. AND - reunited with Inez! All I can say is GO! if opportunity presents itself." Bernie/Carmen | We played... | We laughed... | Walking along Lake St. Clair | Karyn and Susan visited.
9: Greenfield Village is part of "The Ford"- An amazing collection created by Henry Ford here in Detroit. We walked 3.8 miles back into history. | We shopped... | We had High Tea. | We romped... | This one's for Jo! | The tea room at St. Sabaas Monastery
10: We prayed... | This inspiring center is part of the Capuchin complex in the heart of Detroit: the monastery and chapel, the Solanus Casey Center, the soup kitchen and outreach programs. | About two miles from my home is the Russian Orthodox Monastery of St. Sabbas. The experience was incredible...like stepping onto the set of Dr. Zhivago! | We explored... | Silent Night Chapel Frankenmuth, MI
11: ... And reconnected with our Theresa! | "The visit was so wonderful - praying with you and breaking bread together again. Words can't express how my heart feels! " Theresa/Inez | "It was such a joy and a blessing meeting my sisters again! They are so precious and holy. " Theresa/Inez | Keith, Shanty's nephew, met us at the Shrine. | National Shrine of the Little Flower Royal Oak, MI
12: Sometimes a companion whom we love chooses to sit in another compartment on the train and leaves us to continue our journey without them. | goes | II II | Then again... we're the SOUL SISTERS and we're pros at staying connected !! | Before | Karen - our Donata - was a real surprise for Bernie. | A SHOWER for our BERNIE / SHANTY ...
13: TYRINGHAM | II II | "Okay, I've got tears streaming down my face from joy and jealousy! I do so wish I could have been there for so many reasons... to rejoice with you, to sing with you, to bid Bernie farewell." Carol/Marita | After | "One never knows when God calls. My heart is happy for her as my eyes tear up! We'll have someone praying very hard for us. " Theresa/Inez
14: Bernie’s Heading for the Convent (tune: “She’ll Be Comin’ ‘Round the Mountain” Bernie’s headin’ for the convent very soon. (Bye, sis!) -2 Way up north in Massachusettes -2 Bernie’s headin’ for the convent very soon. (Bye, sis!) Serious, mature, and dignified she’ll come. (Yeah sure!) -2 She has aged like a fine wine. -2 Serious, mature, and dignified she’ll come. (Yeah sure!) Creaky knees and wrinkled skin, she’s all yours, Lord. (Amen!) -2 Sun spots, aches, pains, tired muscles -2 Creaky knees and wrinkled skin, she’s all yours, Lord. (Amen!) Bernie brings her love and laughter when she comes. (Yes she does!) -2 You are getting quite a winner. -2 Bernie brings her love 'n laughter when she comes. (Yes she does!) We will miss our droga siostra, yes we will. (Sob! Sob!) -2 We know that she takes the high road, We’ll be waving from the low road ‘Til we all will be together at the end! | Lyrics by Basia/Ruth
15: One final good-bye to our Mateczki in Brigantine... | ... and she's off ! | Ready or not ... here... comes... Shanty! | The snow could not stop us!!!
16: The Epiphany Concert - January 2, 2011 | "To say the concert visit was wonderful is an understatement! I look back so often and fondly on that lovely Sunday. Please, God, hopefully we can do it again and again!" Sr. Angelica | Our Angelica ! | <
17: Getting our Bernie home... | Let it snow, Lord, but not yet... We need to surround our sister with prayerful support, and although Sunday may not be her entrance day, we should begin burning our candles each night until the barriers to her entrance disappear. (She really needs to enter fast before her body falls apart : First, she hurt her knee the day before the shower and was limping, and yesterday coming out of the bank she fell.) So it's "pray for Bernie" time, Ladies! so she can enter and start praying for all of us. I have a feeling that praying for all the Soul Sisters may prove to be a full time job! | Thank you to Bernie/Carmen - our own “Saint Bernard” who delivered our sister safely through the snow and home to where her heart was waiting. | Sr. Emmanuel had given 'Sr. Bernadette' our ‘seasons book’ yesterday and let her phone me today. She read every word and wanted me to tell all of you just how touched she was by it and how precious it would always be. I could tell by her voice how overwhelmed with love and gratitude she was for all of us. | Her waiting family of "second sisters". | "We are all blessed by so many loving and generous sisters. And who woulda thought it so many years after we left Lodi! What a grace to be part of such a warm, supportive, and caring sisterhood. Deo Gratias! Thank you, Mary Ellen, for creating that treasured book for Bernie, for always being so thoughtful. And Subdah, you're a wonder woman! How good it was for you to get our sister Bernie to her new home despite all those challenging circumstances.". Pat Tracey/Rosalind | "I have 'goose bumps' thinking about Bernie's plans! I have seen this book and it is lovely." Carolyn/Marita | I heard the bittersweet news that Sister Breckhilda is being transferred to some mountainous terrain in Massachusetts where she will be learning how to become quietly contemplative. Let's show her our sisterly solidarity on January 9th 2011 at 9pm by pausing a moment to light our cupcake candles and praying for her as she begins her new life at the monastery. Meet you then in prayer, Sister Garnie Sr. Garnier Fructis Ventris TuiJesu Lakewood, NJ Novitiate | TYRINGHAM | ,
18: Last call ... | All Aboard for ... | Glassboro NJ | Brigantine NJ | Ocean View DE | Wilmington DE | the OCEAN | A Soul Sisters gathering at Flo and Patsy's
19: TYRINGHAM, MA | and...Chicago IL | Visitation Monastery | Me and my Shanty ! | Sr. Mary Charles & Cathy reconnect. | Subda & Shanty - together again! | Sr. Mary Emmanuel - Directress of Novitiate and my prayerpal | A place of peace - a sanctuary from the world-inhabited by 16 of the most joyful women I've ever met. | Mont Deux Coeurs | Sr. Bernadette | A view from the train
20: Niech bedzie pochwalony Jezus Chrystus.! Even though she was 94 and had been failing through the past year, Mom passed away quite unexpectedly. We were just making plans to have her evaluated by hospice, but on the morning of June 24 God, with compassionate mercy, brought our dear Tillie Home most graciously and peacefully...right after she enjoyed one of her favorite breakfasts, French toast! She simply fell asleep in our good Lord's arms. It seems like such a cliche, but it is so true: words just can't express the deep gratitude I feel for all of you. Your prayerful support, kind words, cards and stories of Mom offer deep consolation. The garden plant is beautiful. In the midst of a variety of plants there stands a contemporary-looking angel. On the angel's garb are the words "Supportive...Kind..-.Nurturing...Special...Beautiful". From the angel's hand hangs a little heart that reads "Mothers fill our lives with love." These words can also be said of all of you, my soul sisters. My family and I are also grateful for the donation made to St. Francis Breadline in Mom's name. Beth DeLucia and Jean Getz kept all of you in mind for me during the wake and funeral services. It is not by coincidence that we reconnected. Deo Gratias! Pax et Bonum, Pat/Rosalind | Warm greetings from El Salvador I wanted you to know that I decided that the appropriate recipients of your generous gift would be the small hard-working charismatic community here in the parish. They are truly humble and holy people. They live in sector 3 of the parish and use a small chapel dedicated to the Sacred Heart that you see in these photos. They planned the liturgy for the Sunday that we celebrated that feast. Afterward, chairs were moved and the servers came out with tamales, rolls and coffee. A blessed time was had by all. Your gift was given to help with the celebration and to use for someone in the group who might need it. Patti Ann | Barb, I loved the picture of you and Subdah! - a little off center... like the two of you. :-) Mary Ellen | Off center indeed!!! I had my camera in the car but wasn't going to take any pix. Then I said to Bernie - "If ME finds out we spent the day together and didn't take any pix...I'll be in big trouble..." Barb/ Audrey (I love being Mother Foundress!) | Remembering that at any moment during our 'train ride' any one of us could be in need of help, it is comforting to know we have our sisters to surround us with supportive understanding - ever reminding us that we are the daughters of a loving Father. Thank you, Beth, for uniting us in such a meaningful way...through your "Candles for Shanty". And to Bernie /Carmen for suggesting that our 9pm 'prayer meeting' become part of our daily journey together. | Thank you so much, Mary Ellen, for bringing us together. It was so wonderful seeing my sisters after so many years. What a blessing!! We all went on so many different paths but our center is Jesus. I truly feel that our sisters are very holy! Theresa/Inez | I received this from Jean after I gave her copies of all the e-mails I had received from our Terri/Janie before she passed away.: "Only you would think of doing such a nice thing. I sat on my porch ....with a glass of wine.... a tissue... and memories. I read them all and re-lived that part of her life. How she wanted to live. She had such hope, but most of all, she had your friendship and the friendship of her GRONO. And....that helped her so much on her final journey. Thank you so much. Jean/Eugenette
21: I’ve been busy visiting many poor families meeting valiant women in Nicaragua who are working in small businesses in rural areas. It was a great privilege to be a woman among these struggling sisters who face greater obstacles than I ever did. They shared their horrific experiences during the “scorched earth policy” in the civil war running with babies in their arms, starving, losing children, etc and finally returning home to find everything burned! Not even a tree was left standing. My friend Olga works... but the little money she earns goes for food. It just doesn’t stretch far enough to fix her rusted leaky roof or provide beds. Thanks to you soul sisters, the boys have bunk beds, and the house is now dry! | Dear Soul Sisters, Much appreciation for your thoughtfulness in memory of Kitty. I am still finding homes for Kitty's seemingly in exhaustive legacy - a lot of this, a little of that, and then some! As a young mutual friend put it, "There's a void in the community." The room is ready and waiting for God to send the right person. I keep promising myself more computer time to keep up and go on the site, but time goes so quickly...so much to do with Mary's Pence communication & committee meetings, "urgent action notices for folks in ElSalvador who are receiving death threats, etc. One of these days... Keep up the great prayers and good works. Love and gratitude, Patti Ann | As I was looking for something today, I came across the FIRST Soul Sisters book that you did. I remember looking thru it when you gave it to me and I was thrilled to get it. But, Today I REALLY read it from cover to cover. I dwelled for long moments on the joyous pictures and meditated on the written words ...especially the last two pages. I can't begin to tell you what a mantle of peace settled over me as I indulged in the JOY that all of the love portrayed in everyone reconnecting gave me. I so look forward to us being together again. Bernie/Carmen | I feel so proud and privileged to be sharing this part of my 'Train Ride' with all of you - my dearest soul sisters. I have enjoyed adding to your baggage with so many memories, just as each of you has enriched my own journey, filling my baggage to over-flowing with unforgettable moments of joy... not to mention all the goodies you stuff into both me and my bags. You are all such generous and amazing women. I don't know what stops remain on this ride and what they hold in store for us, but I do know that we are truly blessed to have such loving and supportive traveling companions along for the ride. I don't know what I would have done this year without the constant encouragement and support of all my soul sisters. You are my Angels! Your soul sister always, Mary Ellen | Diana finished her year of study and has begun her last year of high school. Without the Soul Sisters Spirit Fund this would not have been possible. She is hoping to go to university to study business admin. Oh, I almost left out the latrine you ( the soul sisters) provided for an elderly woman who lives along the tracks. She would have to use the ‘facility’ next door. Now she has her own “throne”. May God bless and guard you always. Patti Ann | My love and prayers to each of you. The Sisters feel like they know all of you. They can’t believe how we found each other and re-connected, and the bond that we have. They always love to hear news of the “Soul Sisters” so keep those cards and letters coming! Seriously, though, please know that I pass along each and every one of your prayer requests – and they are prayed for - DAILY!! Thank you also, dear sisters, for the generous gift you sent for my birthday. What a surprise! Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. Know that you are all prayed for daily, and I love all of you very much. Sr. Bernadette | Olga & sons | Diana | " I am so touched by the wonderful results our 'little bit' of sharing what we are so blessed to have with others can do. DIG DEEP ...so we can leave a legacy of humanitarianism and blessings to these poor people. God bless them, us (the soul sisters), and our Patti Ann." Bernie/Carmen