Monday, July 14, 2008


It's been almost a week since we've updated, and this afternoon, Mother Frangelico said to me, "For goodness' sake, at least go write SOMETHING!"

I think the summer heat and humidity is getting to all of us. Although the monastery is still pretty cool, there is no air conditioning or central air so on hot nights, we suffer. Thank goodness it's been a cool summer for the most part so far! But it's only mid-July, and it can get bad in a hurry up here!

Yes, for you southerners...we get your heat. Although even though we also get your humidity, we're close enough to Canada that the northern air often pushes the stream back down your way!

Anyway, I'd meant to tell you what happened on the Fourth! We all actually had invites to different places, and some of the same, so Mother Frangelico and Father told us to go ahead and accept our invites, although if we were going to all go to separate places at separate times, we'd have to arrange for rides. That wasn't a problem for any of us.

I went to spend time with friends at the parish we go to for Sunday Mass most frequently. They always have a family gathering and invite other friends, cook out, and it's just a good time. I knew some of the kids as they'd been at VBS, and some of the women had new babies so I got to hold them, and was happy to! They were so sweet!

But it made me sad, sort of. Because I was thinking that I'd always wanted to be a mother, and there I was holding a baby that would never be mine. They even emailed me some pictures of me holding their babies, and I look so happy with them. In one, she's grabbing my hair, in another, I'm holding the pacifier and the little boy is reaching for it....

I know that in choosing religious life I'm giving something up, and I'm giving up motherhood. I wonder if maybe I made the wrong decision? But then again, I haven't made any decisions.

I still like guys! I do!

But maybe I'll write about that later. Something happened that's a LOT more important and explaines some of our silence.

That night, we all actually met back at the monastery because we could watch the fireworks in the town from our "backyard", and it was wonderful...but for the mosquitos! For the rest of the weekend and week we were busy, so I'm skipping ahead to the latest news.

This weekend:

On Saturday, we had work to do, but in the evening we cooked out, and I actually had Sister Maxine prepare the vegetables. Because then all she had to do was cut them up and I had set out measuring cups and spoons and stuff for the olive oil to be used, and the quantities of things like garlic and chopped onion. She did a really good job!

Brother Brit actually handled the grill, we ladies just did the prep work. Brother Gus "took orders" and helped Brother Brit at the grill. We all really had a good time, and it is clear we all feel like we are all really a family!

Anyway, when dark fell, we had some firecrackers, several boxes. Brother Gus was in charge of those. He did mess around with them a bit, and used the light of the campfire to read some of the labels. Father told him NOT to do that, but he said he'd be fine, he just wanted to read the label. But just after he said that, as he was walking towards the fire with a box in his hands, he tripped and fell, almost landing in the fire himself!

The ENTIRE BOX hit the campfire, and what we didn't know was that it was stuff his family in Wisconsin had given him...stuff you can't get in Minnesota! Brother Gus's head was almost in the fire, and actually, when he landed, he DID touch a hot log and burned his hand TERRIBLY!

But it was like Father anticipated the entire thing. No sooner had Brother fallen then Father was there, and then Brother Brit jumped up, and they both DRAGGED Brother Gus away from the fire JUST BEFORE THE BOX EXPLODED!

Stuff went everywhere, and some coals landed on the OTHER boxes about 20 feet away! We ran away from the fire, Brother Gus was screaming...I won't tell you what his hand and arm looked like!

The city ordinance demands that a hoseline be near a campfire, and Sister Perpetua had grabbed it and started trying to put the fire out while I was running to get the first aid kit and Sister Maxine went to get ice. Mother Frangelico had a bucket of water also nearby, but things were SO out of control that she feared the monastery was in danger...the roof COULD catch fire, the trees could catch, the's been dry lately. She and Sister Perpetua had to leave the area...a hose wasn't enough against exploding things!

Mother Frangelico called 911, then ran to make sure they could come through the gate. And she asked for an ambulance for Brother Gus.

You would NOT believe the racket! Things exploding EVERYWHERE!

I was inside, in the livingroom with Brother Gus. I've been trained as an EMT and when I saw his hand, I was TERRIFIED because I could barely remember anything I ever learned, but Mother Frangelico was very calm and helped me remember just because she was calm and logical. Sister Maxine was trying to be helpful and brought butter and was about to put it on the burn but I really fast slapped her hand away and shouted at her not to do it.

(I'm sorry Sister Maxine...I was just excited, not angry, and I overrreacted!)

Anyway, Brother Gus was in TERRIBLE pain, and he was really scared, so Father was trying to keep him calm while Mother Frangelico and I took care of the burn. We had some saline solution and some gauze, so we wrapped it up and poured the saline over it, using a foot pan (the kind made for soaking feet) to catch any runoff. I saw that Brother Gus's hair was singed a little, but he was OK.

Mother sent Sister Maxine to let the Medics in and Brother Brit brought the firefighters back to the fire, which he'd been watching with Sister Perpetua. By then it was actually out, but poor Brother Gus!

The medics were really nice (and REALLY cute!), and one of them was about my age. (I actually think he was in my class back then...I can't remember his name...)

But they took Brother Gus to a local burn unit, and Father left, too, following in the car. We all told Brother Gus we'd be praying for him, and went to the chapel once the Fire Department had gone.

We are near to another church, and Father had called his friend there, and he came to pick us up and take us to the hosital to be with Brother Gus.

He is terribly burned and needed a skin graft, but won't lose any fingers. We are so thankful! What's so ironic is that he wasn't being goofy, he was being really careful and just was clumsy! I feel so bad for him!

But he'll be fine and everyone is helping him. Father spent a long time with him, and was home late, but I couldn't sleep so I was in the chapel. He came in, too, and I got up and sat next to him because I needed to tell him what Brother Gus had said to me. I thought maybe he talked to Father, too, but I wasn't sure.

So I told Father that Brother Gus was afraid, if he lost his hand, that he wouldn't be able to be a priest. And when he said that, I didn't know what to say because I didn't know! And I'd never thought of that a priest, his hands are REALLY IMPORTANT! And I was suddenly so terrified for Brother Gus, to be eliminated from the priesthood because he was clumsy.

Father said he'd talk to Brother Gus, and that it might not even be an issue, and he told me not to worry about it. But I do!

Brother Gus is home now, came home today, and they have him on a lot of drugs so he's mostly just hanging out in the livingroom. We are all trying to keep him company. He's so used to just running around and doing stuff and it's so hard for him to have everything done for him.

Brother Gus might be a joker, but he's not lazy and so he feels really bad.

I hope he gets better soon!


montigrande said...

sisterI am a layperson who's wife is the youth minister at our church. due to a "lucky series of events" actually blessings in disguise, I was able to attend a Franciscan youth conference with her and the group. on Sunday, the homilist made a statement that me really think about those who live the consecrated life. He said that he was from a large family and one of the major issues in his discernment was having children. Now he indicated all of us with a grand sweep of his arms and said that we were all his children. I submit to you that you should not feel loss at your vows, that you can consider all children yours and receive much joy in the bargain. Additonally, being espoused to Christ Jesus has so many blessings associated with it as he is the perfect spouse. Also as the father of a 5 month old, a 12 year old and a 16 year old, I can tell you that there are times when you will have the advantage of handing the joyous bundle back to his/her parents and go merrily on your way.

God Bless You

Sister Mary Martha said...

Too bad you didn't think to just pour beer on the whole thing.

Pray for the intercession of St. Bartholomew, the patron saint of losing your skin.