One of the perks of being up north for a Florida girl is getting to experience actual Fall weather. I love the colors of the leaves as they change. I have been so fascinated by how quickly and intensely this happens! This past Tuesday all 6 of us novices and our Madre took a much needed outing to take advantage of this cool and beautiful weather. Three of our seminarian friends graciously guided and hiked with us at a local park. One of those three was just ordained a deacon on October 22, so he was all decked out in his new clerics….and his Cleveland Indians gear.
When we arrived at the park, I was struck by the sea of fall colors. This was definitely a nice change from the inner city environment of the west side of Cleveland. After exploring the abandoned “castle” (http://www.clevelandmetroparks.com/Main/Squires-Castle.aspx), we began our hike up some big hills (Note: remember, our habits are white, so I felt like a rebel or something). Initially, there was a well marked path as we ascended. Two of my Sisters decided to take a more challenging route as the rest of us followed the path that was covered with red, orange, and yellow leaves. At one point these two Sisters got a little stuck, but our newly ordained deacon and our other two seminarians literally ran to help them across the hilly terrain. After our group was reunited, we continued the follow the windy path.
There must be something about being in the woods that taps into our “primal” human behaviors. Suddenly, our beloved deacon began to break branches against tree trunks, throw rocks over ledges, and high jump over fallen trees. I recalled my cross country running days and really wanted to run up and down the path we were following. Several of my Sisters were very amused by the big black squirrels we would occasionally see. Madre took lots of pictures with her phone. I sensed a free spiritedness among my companions.
When we began our descent, I was walking alongside our deacon and he asked some “deep” questions about our community’s formation. As I answered his questions and offered some of my own reflections, I overheard one of my little Sisters behind me say to the seminarian next to her, “We are walking this path together.” This really struck me. I believe she meant something much deeper than being on the literal hiking path we were all walking on.
Since being adopted by the seminary community, my Sisters and I have come to realize that we go through a lot of similar things that our seminarian brothers go through. Though different, there is a complementarity between religious life and diocesan life. Since our community is intensely Eucharistic and Marian, I think there is a unique and beautiful complementarity between us and our diocesan priests, deacons, and seminarians. They pray for us, we pray for them. They offer support for us, we offer support for them. They want to become saints, we want to become saints. We really are walking this path together!
You all are in my prayers. Please pray for us!