Part 20: Alma Mercy
Originally Published: Sunday October 20th, 2013
I arrived in Alma on Monday afternoon at about 4pm, completely missing the motherhouse at first seeing as they are spread out up and down Michigan Ave. It was then grab a quick cup of tea before being thrown straight into the routine with Holy Hour.
I was then fully into the routine with morning prayer being at 4:45 am or 7 am (depending on the day).
It was days filled with lots of chapel time, chores, helping out with the seasonal chores, like processing millions of apples, raking leaves and mowing lawns, attending a couple of classes with the novices and postulants and alternating for dinner between the Postulant, Novice and Convent house. Half of Wednesday was spent at the multi-specialty medical clinic the sisters run.
The official retreat started on the Friday afternoon when the other three retreatants arrived with Sr Mary Hanah, the Vocations director of the Mercy Sisters. It was a really relaxing retreat over all and I felt truly at home with the sisters here. This post is just a quick of what I did when. I’ll be posting over the week about what was going on internally too.
It was a later start for me today! With morning prayer with the Postulants scheduled at 8 am in St Thomas Chapel followed by Mass at the clinic and two hours of Adoration in the chapel there. I had St Catherine of Siena’s Dialouges and reading the one on prayer. It’s not an easy read since it’s stream of conscious but she made a lot of sense in talking about the progression to contemplative and mental prayer.
It was a quick lunch in the break room at the clinic and then back to the postulant house. Sr Gabrielle Mary enlisted me in mowing the lawns. So I got the hand mower and did all the nooks and crannies over three hours of their huge block. Then it was holy hour and dinner with the Postulants. There are four of them, Sr Brandy, Sr Nealy, Sr Jennifer and Sr Maria. They have a year for Postulancy which is made up of classes, weekly spiritual formation, and learning about the life and rhythms of the Mercies.
It was then bed and another early start for Thursday!
It was an early start with morning prayer and mass. Today I had the morning to myself. It was an apostolic lunch back at Our Lady of Grace and after lunch it was a scripture class with the novices and postulants. One of the retired bishops whose name I have forgotten taught the class. He was an incredibly smart man but also even in his 80s clearly loved being a priest. During the break he pulled me aside for a chat and he was so lovely! It was one of my most special moments on the whole week!
It was dinner that night with the novices and we I got invited to hell! Not literally, but I tagged along for the last of a series they were watching on Dante’s Inferno, it was the Last Circle of hell that night so that was fun. It was then crash into bed for a merciful sleep in tomorrow.
It was then lunch with the whole convent in the Postulant house. All the guest sisters were there, There was a carmelite a poor clare, two missionaries of charity, and two sisters of the holy spirit (They are cloistered order and their habits are pink!)
After lunch it was a tour of the clinic by Mother Mary Rebecca. They have a multi-specialty clinic, with Mother Mary Rebecca as a general surgeon, Sr Marisha a psychiatrist, three more physicians and a physical therapist. It is an amazing project. Mother Mary Rebecca also begun a specialised wound clinic that specialised in chronic wounds. Another Sister in Knoxville has just put together a mobile clinic to go to the Appalachians. The sisters are also canon lawyers, theologians, and teachers.
It was then dinner at the convent with the fully professed sisters. We spent the dinner learning about the history and the charism of the Mercy sisters. Hearing their stories and was wonderful as was some of the work they were doing. It was then an early night for me and I crashed hard…