Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Since Mother Frangelico and Father are NO WHERE to be found, Sr. Perpetua, Sr. Caprice, and I started rehabbing the shed in the back into a make-shift barn. We talked with some of the neighbors in the area and they gave us names and numbers of people that we could contact for hay and feed for the horse. Many offered their services free since we are non-profit and promised we would pray for their intentions. Sr. Caprice actually knows how to handle horses! Who knew??? Seems that Sr. Caprice had family that raised horses and she used to visit them often.

We contacted the Schmidt’s and Mr. Schmidt (Horace) came over with his 3 boys (Harold, Harvey, and Harry) and helped us renovate the shed. Sr. Caprice named the Lippizzaner ‘Lucky Lipps’ (LuLi for short) and has been working with him every day. Sr. Caprice has Luli running through barrels and over hedges. How she stays on him, I don't know. She said he's 21 hands high - but he looks a lot more like 8 feet ... and WHY do you measure horses in 'hands' rather than feet???

Sr. Perpetua has created a design for the yard – where to put the benches, size of the track, fencing, etc. I have been calling companies and businesses to get free advertising for the Dog and Horse show. There will also be a circus in a nearby town that week and I was hoping we could get some advice regarding rodeo clowns. I thought that might be fun for the kids.

Sr. Caprice and Sr. Perpetua will send an update when they can. We’ve all been very busy – by the time we are done with chores and clearing the yard, we are exhausted & usually go straight to bed. Let me tell you, it’s been awfully nice to get away from the BINGO scene! If I hear one more person yelling … BIN…oh! Don’t say it!!!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Vocations Dog and Pony Show!

I was just reading the blog for Fr. Kyle Schnippel in Cincinnati, he's the Vocations Director there, and thanks to him, I have just gotten a COMPLETELY BRILLIANT PLAN!

Here's what he said to give me the idea:

Well, homily ideas for the weekend are always appreciated, too; but I think it is the Vocation Dog and Pony Show, so don't expect too much. 

It seems as though Cincinnati is having a Dog and Pony Show to raise awareness for Vocations.  I'm sure they have a budget and everything, but why can't we do the same thing, but on a smaller scale?  

I love horses and dogs, and around here, there are all KINDS of people who love animals. We don't even have to limit it to dogs and ponies, although maybe that might make it easier. Because if we let in cats and dogs together, the dogs would chase the cats and really upset everything. 

Anyway, I don't know what they do over there, and I might send an email to see how they set up their thing, but here's what I think WE should do:   ask the people in the churches here if they have horses and dogs, and we can maybe get some space at the Fairgrounds, or if not there, maybe one of the local farms will donate their arena.  Then we can have people show their horses and ponies, and that can raise money for the Serra Club and the Seminary and and...the Laboure Society!   Or maybe set up a separate endownment or easement or whatever it's called, for Vocations!   

I LOVE this idea!  Let's get started!  I'm going to see if someone will lend me a horse to show....!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor...

As Adoro stated in her response to an earlier post, the Corporal Works of Mercy has nothing to do with the linens at Mass. Thank you, Adoro! I would have been completely lost if it not for your comment.

Since Sr. Perpetua came back, she and I talked and she gave me a book from the Monatery library regarding the Corporal Works of Mercy. How little I know about our faith!

The seven practices of charity toward our neighbor, based on Christ’s prophecy of the Last Judgment, that will determine each person’s final destiny:
1) Feed the hungry
2) Give drink to the thirsty
3) Clothe the naked
4) Shelter the homeless
5) Visit the sick
6) Visit those in prison
7) Bury the dead

And Sr. Perpetua has helped to start this in the prison in South America. It sounds an awful like the Beatitudes. I have so much to learn!

Sr. Perpetua - can you teach me?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Imprisoned and Free

Greetings, everyone!

I apologize for my long absence. I was supposed to be back a little after Christmas, but there was a delay in the legal system that kept me in San Salvador.

Here's what happened:

There was a group of us on a couple of buses headed from El Salvador to the state of Chiapas in Mexico. We weren't there to be political, but to help on medical missions and other types of missions that were in place to work with the people in those countries. The buses we were on weren't for missionaries, but were just average routes. I spent part of it holding on to a bag of chickens for the campesina who sat across the aisle from me!

Anyway, just before we passed into Mexico, a couple of tourists got on board, and shortly after that, the bus was stopped.

A group of armed men boarded, all wearing black, wearing black berets, holding really big guns. The woman next to me smarted off to them, and when they responded, she told them that she didn't have to cooperate because she was an American citizen.

They hauled both she and I off the bus, along with a few other people, and took everything we had. We watched the other bus go by, and I saw Mother Frangelico watching.

There ws nothing she could do to help us. The bus didn't stop.

The woman I was with, even though I didn't want to be with her, kept pulling me into her trouble. Neither of us spoke a lot of Spanish, and finally (Deo Gratias!) we were separated. I think I managed to convince them that the stupid blonde (um, sorry Mother Frangelico_ and I weren't together.

Nor were either of us criminals. If she'd kept her mouth shut, we both would have been passed over, but she made a scene, and she kept making a scene. I don't know who she was with, but in any case, we both got sent to a prison in San Salvador, in chains and shackles and the whole bit. It was terribly dramatic. One would think we were both horrible terrorists.

Everyone goes into prison that way.

I was really angry at first. I couldn't get word to Mother Frangelico, or to the group we were with. The prison had a chaplain, but I couldn't get a message to him or the bishop.

Well, there was a woman there who could help, and she knew the system and got a message through the guard to someone who was visiting someone else. That person took a message to the local parish priest, and he took the message to the Bishop.

The Bishop himself came to see me, and we talked about many things. He couldn't get me out, so he advised me to do what I could while I was there.

And again, at first I was really angry. I didn't care that the Bishop came to see me. I was angry that he wasn't doing anything to get me out. At least from my perspective. I even YELLED at him! And he didn't do anything. He wasn't anything but nice to me.

After I was taken back to the prison yard, I had some time to think, and he was right. So I started looking around, and there were all kinds of people in all kinds of situations. Some were there because they were supposed to be there. But so many were there because they'd offended this or that "authority". Some really awful things happened to some of them. I'd rather never speak of it, although maybe one day I'll have to, and I'm grateful those things didn't happen to me.

When they finally came to get me out, I didn't want to leave. That was true. It wasn't because it was so great there, but I didn't want to go and leave those people behind. They finally explained to me that I could do more for the prisoners if I left, and if they could, they'd find a way to send me back in a different way.

Well, the authorities wanted me to be in SOMEONE'S custody, so they allowed me into the custody of the Bishop, under the condition that I had to remain in his household or the associated convent. He placed me with the Sisters who lived there, a couple different communities. There was a lot I didn't understand, of course, although I'd learned a lot in prison, most of it things I shouldn't have been saying!

The Superior there was constantly in shock, even though I didn't know what I was doing wrong! But there was a novice there who spoke some English and was able to explain to Mother Superior that I really wasn't so profane, just had learned prison Spanish and didn't know any better. She was charged with teaching me proper Spanish so whever I said something I shouldn't have, she corrected me and if necessary, even wrote the phrase, even though she was blushing madly when she did it.

So over the last few months, I've really gotten to know the Sisters, and their work, and they do a lot of amazing things for the poor there. The Bishop has been wanting to start a prison ministry, and so had the Sisters. I became a link as I'd come from there.

I WAS supposed to come back here, but since the government of El Salvador wouldn't let me leave yet, the Bishop persuaded them to allow me to work with the Sisters, under their supervision, and they started a prison ministry.

For now, I'm back here in the US for further discernment, but I may be going back to El Salvador, to join the Sisters and work with them. I already feel like they're family to me.

But as Mother Frangelico, Father, and the Bishop have said, it's important that I have time away since the experience as a prisoner has tainted my own discernment. They want me to be around what is familiar, to be, well, maybe "deprogrammed".

I still have nightmares of a lot of things, and the things that happened to others, things that I saw. Not all of them while I was in prison, but some while working with the Sisters.

So for now, I'm back here at the Monastery, still discerning...happy to be back with my Sisters and Brothers.

And Dang it, where ARE the Brothers and Father?


I had the worst nightmare last night....

I dreamt that I was locked inside of the Monastery and no matter where I went, every door was locked! I felt as if someone was watching me because the hair on the back of my head was standing on end. I kept hearing these noises - eerie noises.

I'm glad it was only a dream.

Sr. Caprice - have you seen Father or Mother Frangelico?
Do you think they went down to see Sr. Perpetua?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

Since the New Year's fiasco, Mother Frangelico has ensured that I am kept busy at all times of the day - from wake up to lights out. She has also signed me up for daily 'classes'. They are like a Catholic Catechism, but for religious.

My first assignment - the Corporal Works of Mercy.

At first I thought it was related to the military (you know, 'corporal') - but there is no connection.

Can anyone help me?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The New Year - Sr. Maxine Style

I'm in big Trouble - with a Capital 'T'! Okay, so that's not unusual lately.

It all started when my Uncle Max came to visit and Mother Frangelico and Father allowed me some time out of the Monastery to visit with him. We decided to travel to a nearby state to a small town and celebrate the New Year (and no, Sr. Caprice, not the 'state of confusion!').

Mother Frangelico and Father have been visiting and speaking at nearby Churches & cities within the state to increase the visibility of our Monastery and the Catholic Faith. Because of this, they have been extremely busy and away quite often every week.

Uncle Max and I decided to go out for lunch New Year's Eve to Circus Circus, a place he frequents when he goes on vacation. As we were walking around, we saw a sign for one of the shows that evening called the 'Flying Elvis'' and low and behold, our waiter was Elvis #9. He has been flying since he was a teenager and was taught by his father who retired from the show. He told us that his father actually met Elvis. (way cool!)

Manuel, our waiter, gave us tickets to the bulls-eye seating. We hope that Manuel's aim is good and he is right on target. My uncle and I couldn't wait until that evening to see Manuel in his uniform. Manuel talked about his first attempts at skydiving and some of the wonderful experiences during his career. He is only a waiter for fun - he enjoys meeting people and telling them about the show to get a bigger crowd.

That evening, my uncle and I took our seats. It was so exciting to see each of the men leap out of the plane, watch them as they dance in the sky with the flares, and land one by one in the target zone. One of the Elvis', I think it was #5, waved a sign on the way down promoting his Elvis show on New Year's Day. It was so fun to see how he landed with this huge sign on his back.

This gave me a great idea....and I looked at Uncle Max, he looked at me - we both had the same idea! What a way to help Mother Frangelico and Father promote the Monastery! After the show, we had to talk with Manuel!

It was all planned - the site, the sign, the plane. Uncle Max and I would both jump with Manuel and some of his friends. Each of us (5 total) would carry a sign on New Year's Day. We were so excited! Manuel talked with his friends and the company, they would all offer us their services free of charge because it was for such a great cause - God!

Uncle Max & I met at the skydiving company at 10:00am. We had to take a class to prepare us for what was to come. The more we learned, the more excited we became. Mother Frangelico would be so proud of us! Manuel's friend, Boris, was making the signs so they would be ready by 3:00pm, the time we would start our adventure.

Everything was going as planned. The class went well, the signs were made, the plane was ready, and our skydiving packs were prepared. Now we had to get into our suits. They took us one by one into a back room to help us get our suits on. Uncle Max came out wearing a black suit with a bright blue stripe down the sides. Manuel wore a dark blue suit with yellow markings. I went back and was horrified. The only suit they had left for a girl was bright pink! I grudgingly put it on and walked out to the lobby looking like a big pink Easter bunny! My uncle took one look at me and tried to stuff the laughter, but the tears that came out of his eyes were dead give aways.

We all entered the plane and took off for our adventure to help the Monastery.

As we reached 15,000 feet, the assistant opened the side door. Manuel exited first with his camera so he could film everyone coming down with their signs and would post it on his website to promote the Monastery. Boris went next, followed by Uncle Max, then me, then 2 of their friends.

The day was beautiful - and the sites - you could see everything from up there! It was so peaceful! I could understand why people enjoy skydiving! It's only God and you!

I saw Manuel's parachute open, then my uncle's. 5 more seconds ... and I could pull mine. The parachute opened and I was slowly sailing down toward the earth. I pulled the cord to open the sign attached to my back and practiced turning and flaring. I could see the five of us drifting with our signs flying behind us. As we drifted toward the DZ (drop zone), there was a crowd waiting for us to land. How wonderful! The signs apparently worked - but I was so amazed that they would work so quickly.

We all landed safely, I flared just at the last moment and landed on the ground like I was walking down a set of steps. The canopy drifted down behind me. Several people from the company met us so they could get us unhooked and the packs off.

We waited in the lobby as Manuel and a friend of his reviewed the video and prepared one for me to take with me back to the Monastery. I couldn't wait to see the look on Mother Frangelico's face when she saw how we helped her and Father build up the Faith and interest in the Monastery.

Manuel handed me the video but said the viewer in the lobby was broken and we would not be able to see the video but said it all came out so well. He would post it on his website that evening.

My uncle and I returned to the hotel. We had such a wonderful surprise! Mother Frangelico and Father were there! They just happened to be visiting and decided to travel a bit during a break from the mini-retreat given by several Archbishops regarding evangelism and the Catholic Faith. But I noticed neither one of them were smiling. At first I figured that it was that the retreat was not going well, but then when they were asking me about the event, actually drilling me is more the word, it seemed they were getting more angry the more I explained.

They asked how I came up with such a lame-brain idea and about the signs, so I explained everything. I handed them the video that Manuel made us and they wanted to see it immediately. Father talked with the manager and was able to find a room with a TV and DVD player so we could all watch.

The music starting out was wonderful - Handel's Messiah, Alleluia Chorus. My uncle still tried to hold back bouts of laughter when he saw my pink bunny suit, I think I saw tears in Mother Frangelico's eyes as well. *sigh*

Manuel had close-ups of each of the signs. The first one - 'Come Visit the Monastery'.
The second - 'Call: 866-555-1234 Come-and-See'. The Third - 'God's email - Prayer. Pray Often'. I couldn't see why Mother F. and Father were getting so upset. The signs were great! But then the last signs were shown. We were all horrified!

'Catholics - a Closer to God'
'Meet a Nun and Have a Fiend for Life'

I am now not allowed to exit the premises of the Monastery unless Mother Frangelico or Father are with me. Mother Frangelico and Father are now trying to get the video off of the internet. They have received so many calls that they are unsure of how to handle this entire fiasco.

My only duty now - Bingo!