May 19, 2017

Old Friends

This past month we have had several OCSO visitors.  The first was Sr. Sheryl Chen one of our sisters who joined our foundation of Tautra Mariakloster.  She speaks fluent Norwegian and became a Norwegian citizen.   She came to visit for several days on her way to Los Angeles to visit her elderly parents.  She brought with her a hand painted silk scarf that Sr. Brigit of Tautra Mariakloster painted as a gift for her mother.  The sisters sell these scarves in their gift shop.  Sr. Brigit paints them free style with no pattern or sketch.  Amazing!.

Next was Sr. Mary Ellen from Wrentham.  She came to give our AIC (associates) members their yearly retreat.  Sr. Mary Ellen gave us our community retreat last year.  She is a wonderful retreat director.  Sadly she could only stay 24 hours but it was so good seeing her again.

Lastly, we have Fr. Brendan as our retreat director for this year.  Fr. Brendan is currently superior at Holy Trinity Abbey in Utah.  He was formerly abbot of New Melleray for 30 years. The retreat conferences are on the interior life of a monk or nun.  They are very insightful and thought provoking.

May 13, 2017

The Passing of Sr. Mary Ann Sullivan

Enjoying friends

Sister Mary Ann Sullivan of Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey, died on May 13, at 6:00 PM at the Abbey. 

Sr. Mary Ann Sullivan was born on July 20, 1937 in Washington, DC, the eldest of nine children born to Edward and Marian Sullivan. She entered the Cistercian monastery of Mt. St. Mary’s Abbey in Wrentham, Massachusetts, on September 14, 1957 and made her solemn profession on October 13, 1962. Two years later, Sr. Mary Ann was sent with 12 other sisters to found a new monastery, Our Lady of the Mississippi, in Dubuque, Iowa on October 18, 1964.

Writing icons

This icon of the Annunciation reflects the beauty and giftedness of our Sr. Mary Ann. It is the icon she wrote in memory of her beloved deceased sister, Nancy. Of all the art forms Sr. Mary Ann used in service of the community-- silk screening Christmas cards, water color painting, pastel sketching, calligraphy--iconography was the artistic expression dearest to her heart.
  Of all the art forms Sr. Mary Ann used in service of the community-- silk screening Christmas cards, water color painting, pastel sketching, calligraphy--iconography was the artistic expression dearest to her heart.

A person of keen intellect and an avid reader, Sr. Mary Ann shared her love for our Cistercian Fathers and Mothers by teaching our sisters in formation and by choosing readings for community liturgy for decades. Sr. Mary Ann remembered what she read! When any of us wanted to trace a quote from one of the early Church or Cistercian writers, we would go to Mary Ann.

Sr. Mary Ann had great love for Pope Francis. She read his book of homilies slowly during her last Lent and asked for that book to with her even when she could no longer read.

Faithful to the divine office
Through the years, as community artist, directress of junior studies, cellerar, sacristan, vegetable gardener, and well-remembered portress in our gift shop, the center of Sr. Mary Ann’s life was prayer. If she promised to pray for you, you could be sure that you would have a place on her daily prayer list.

Sr. Mary Ann will be remembered for her deep love of God, her unfaltering faithfulness to monastic life, her humility, obedience and gentle, caring love for others. She could tease with a twinkle in her eye!

There will be a wake service in conjunction with Compline for Sister Mary Ann on Monday, May 15, at 7:15 PM, and the funeral will be in the Abbey Church on  Tuesday, May 16, at  10:00 AM.

Enjoying the grounds

With her flower garden

Learning photography

April 26, 2017

Employee and Volunteer Brunch

 After our Sunday Eucharist last week we invited our employees and volunteers and their families to have bunch with us.  This is a yearly affair to thank our volunteers and employees for their wonderful service to us.  It was a beautiful day with the crab apple trees in full bloom and warm and sunny.  We are very blessed to have such good and faithful people helping in our work.

April 24, 2017

Early Arbor Day

We have lost several trees around the house this past year.  The tall pine in front of the Abbey took a direct hit from lightning last fall and utterly destroyed it.  A few other trees took hit and an oak was cut down because it was diseased.  So on Friday several trees were planted around the            house, most of them decorative.  They are pretty tall so they should grow fast.

April 7, 2017

Sr. Esther's Designs

Sr. Esther and Dale Mueller at the new ambo.
1991 Sr. Esther from Santa Rita Abbey in Arizona came to help us with a renovation of our church.  Sr. Esther was a church designer in Italy before she entered the Cistercian order.  She did the designs for us but never saw the work in its completed form.  We asked her to return to help us design a new ambo as ours was too low and not at a good angle for reading. So a few weeks ago Sr. Esther came and did design and made the changes to the ambo and also raised the altar, put arms on the presiders chair(previously we couldn't use it as some of our chaplains needed arms).  She also designed a new holder for our icon.  She worked very hard and had assistance from a stone mason and our farm manager Dale Mueller.  We love what she did and are grateful to her and her community.


Presiders Chair

Icon Stand

Raised Altar and Ambo

Stand detail