Today’s find: Place of grace

The ornate ironwork and richly carved hardwood panels left no doubt: This mansion had long been home to the very best that life has to offer—abundance and riches well beyond what my middle-class circumstances could ever envision.

And so I found it ironic, to say the least, that our tour guide was a Franciscan nun—a woman joyfully living out her vow of poverty at her community’s Motherhouse in Mishawaka, Indiana.

Swell place for a meeting with Sisters!

Swell place for a meeting with Sisters!

The mansion—once home to an industrial magnate—now provides office and meeting space for the Sisters. (And a sort of training ground, from what I understand: Novices are asked to keep the mansion’s interior spotless, even to the point of cleaning the intricate ironwork on the grand staircase with toothbrushes each Advent!)

We were visiting the Motherhouse over the weekend—about two dozen cousins and I—to pass along a gift made by our dear aunt, who was once a member of the community.

A chapel so spotless, a reflection of the monstrance appears on the floor!

A chapel so spotless, a reflection of the monstrance appears on the floor!

To a person, we fell in love with the place. But our sentiment had little to do with the attractive buildings or grounds we toured. Rather, we were drawn to the sense of community that the Sisters so eagerly and generously shared with us—how richly they blessed us with their joyful, prayerful and gracious hospitality.

It felt a little like the experience we heard about in the first reading today, from the prophet Ezekiel:

The angel brought me back to the entrance of the temple,
and I saw water flowing out from beneath the threshold…

[and] wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh.

I have to admit, it tends to strike me as odd when today’s feast—marking the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome—comes ‘round each year. What makes a building so worthy of celebration, I’m inclined to wonder.

Of course, the Franciscan Sisters answered that question definitively during our close encounter at their Motherhouse. It’s not the bricks and mortar that make a place special. Rather, it’s the water…and life…and healing…and joy that flow forth from it.

Sharing a song of gratitude...

Sharing a song of gratitude…

Live as if the Spirit of God dwells in you, St. Paul says in today’s second reading, and you will yourself become a temple, a holy place.

We Schroeders saw just such a thing happen, in real-time, last weekend – so many thanks to the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration for welcoming us into your place of grace!

These nuns know how to have fun!

These nuns know how to have fun!

 

Sisters and Schroeders, celebrating the Spirit together!

Sisters and Schroeders, celebrating the Spirit together!

 

 

And thanks for the reminder, Sister, of the two pillars we called Grandma and Grandpa!

And thanks for the reminder, Sister, of the two pillars we called Grandma and Grandpa!

Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.

 

IHS

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3 thoughts on “Today’s find: Place of grace

  1. Sister Dianne Zimmer, OSF (Shirley Zimmer from I.C., Union, MO)

    How heart-warming to hear of your visit to our motherhouse in Mishawaka. Sister Louise and Sister Lois were both filling me in on all the details when I was up there the Saturday after your visit. Rita and I are second cousins as my mom, Esther Zimmer (nee Hoelscher), was her first cousin. Our paths did not often cross when she was in Community, but I know my mom talked about her, and I remember mom and dad Schroeder from Immaculate Conception very well. I always spoke of them as pillars of the parish. Thank you for your visit and good wishes and monetary gift. I will remember Rita in my prayers this November.
    Sister Dianne Zimmer, OSF

    • Appreciate the prayers, Sister…and this insight into our family ties through the Hoelscher clan. Blessings on your ministry, too!

  2. Matthew Schroeder

    Thanks for the prayers Sister Dianne. I will remember your Mother and Dad in prayer too. They always welcomed me in their home on Brown Street in Union!

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