* sigh * Sorry.
But now that I am back, I have been busy helping Mother Frangelico around the Monastery. We found some armor-like clothing that had an insignia with ‘MI’ on the front. Next to the clothing were old books with ten inches of dust on top (okay, maybe not ten inches, but it was a lot!). There was also a portrait of this man with glasses and a book. He must have been in jail because his clothes were black & white striped. Why would anyone paint a portrait of a jail-bird? Anyway, it had M.Kolbe on the front of the portrait. I was going to ask Mother Frangelico who M.Kolbe was but she ran out the door calling for Father.
I commented to Mother, just before she ran out, that there was enough dust around this side of the Monastery to gag a maggot. When she had returned she was out of breath, but she had no problems handing me a damp dust rag & said to start cleaning. *sigh* Leave it to me to open my big mouth! Mother does not want me outside at all anymore and it has been so beautiful lately. I have been asking God to use this as Reparation for the sins of abortion.
Shhhh! What she doesn’t know is that I found another secret door when she was gone. I’ll tell Sr. Perpetua & Sr. Caprice – maybe we can sneak back here after dark & see where it goes.
My trip – the Come-and-See Week with the Sisters of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT)
Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity is a mission order. They are located in many countries including Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Italy, and Belize. In the United States they are located in Kansas City (MO), Robstown (TX), Corpus Christi (TX), Holman/Bosque (NM), Seattle (WA), Belcourt/Dunseith (ND), and migrant work in Kentucky, Nebraska and Wyoming. I was at Belcourt, ND for my Come-and-See Week.
The SOLT Order is both a contemplative and active community. Their charism is ecclesial or family teams, serving with the SOLT Priests and SOLT Laity, thereby witnessing how the Trinity lives, three persons in one God, they live as three vocations in one family.
“The Society of Our Lady began serving the native people of Northern North America in 1995 when Bishop James Sullivan of the diocese of Fargo, North Dakota asked the community to shepherd the people of St. Ann's Parish in Belcourt, the only town on the Turtle Mountain Indian reservation [located in north central ND, with Canada bordering to the north]. The ten thousand people on the reservation are predominantly Catholic because the Chippewa Indians intermarried with French fur traders over one hundred and fifty years ago. Today the Society of Our Lady is also responsible for St. Anthony Catholic Church and St. Louis Church with its mission, the Immaculate Heart of Mary in nearby Dunseith. In the summer of 2003, the Society was also given the parish of St. John and its mission, St. Benedict. In nearby Dunseith, is situated a convent where the Sisters have a house of formation for the initial stage of religious life. They help to serve in the parish, school, and have a visitation ministry.”
Sr. Mary Emmanuel is the Director of Vocations in the United States. We talked quite a bit about the SOLT Order, their Charism, and Apostasy. She also asked me many questions on how I knew I was being called, what I was looking for, where I see myself in 5 years, my background, and my family & the Church. We mainly stayed in Dunseith, just outside of the Reservation. But she also gave me a tour around the Reservation and showed me around St. Ann’s Mission, the elementary school located on the Reservation, which enrolls about 325 Chippewa Indian children. We then went to the local Nursing Home and visited some of the home-bound. Most of their work is in the 3 Parishes off the Reservation, visiting the elderly, home-bound, and sick. They also serve with many of the Parish’s ministries, and of course, teach at St. Ann’s.
We had to get up at 5:30 am to get ready for morning prayer at 6:00am! The sun wasn’t even up yet! Then we did some spiritual exercises, although it seemed a bit quirky to me. Mid-day we had prayer, again, and the Rosary, then spent a Holy Hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament. I think I fell asleep a couple times (I hope I didn’t snore!). Holy Mass was around 4:00pm and then we ate dinner. Evening Prayer was at 6:00pm, Night Prayer & Liturgy Preparation was at 8:00pm. By 9:00, I was ready for bed! Every day, the same routine! It is so different there than it is at the Monastery.
I also helped them get ready for their 50th year Anniversary (July)! The main event will be held in Corpus Christi, TX, but because all of the Sisters, Priests, Brothers, and Laity can not attend, they were going to have a celebration in North Dakota. They even have a blog! http://www.soltsisters.blogspot.com/ They showed me pictures (posted on the blog) of their visit to NYC, when they attended Mass, celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI, at Yankee Stadium. You can see their excitement in their faces! How awesome!
The Reservation has decreased greatly in size due to allotments of land being sold in the 1930’s. Many Chippewa Indians live just outside of the Reservation and throughout northern North Dakota and into Montana. There are about 70 families who live on Turtle Mountain Reservation that make a living through farming (6,000 acres is dedicated to farming). There are a large number of families who are unable to make a living from the land, who follow seasonal employment, mainly migrant workers. Each year, however, there is less demand for the seasonal employees and unemployment continues to rise. Some work on railroads, some in the Turtle Mountain Jewelry Plant, others are working at the North Dakota State Tuberculosis Sanitarium (in San Haven) and others have found employment in Rolla and surrounding areas.
Because of the increase in unemployment and declining visitors to the Reservation, alcoholism has increased, as well as trying to find ‘healing’ in other places other than God. Thus, the need for the SOLT Sisters, Brothers, and Laity. They have their hands full…but God increases the strength in their hands.