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“I do not want to sound like I am singing the praises of Mariandale, because then you might think I am doing public relations for the Center when all I really want to do is share from my heart. I flew into NY yesterday from Israel, arrived in a pouring rain to the warmth and grace of Sr. Linda who received me in her office.
When I asked for a key to the room I would have, I was shocked when she said ‘we don’t lock doors.’ And I thought to myself, ‘She doesn’t know there are thieves in the world? How naive of her!’
After only 24 hours here, I am beginning to understand that she is not naive. This is a center run by a community of women where love is the law. This is a center where grace and goodness make this little world go round. Here the doors of my heart creak open to allow in this light.
The light comes to me in many forms and aspects here, for example the chef employed by the sisters. Even though I was the only guest (aside from one other woman), this chef came out to discuss the meals he would prepare for us and then while we ate, came to see if the food was good and to our liking. When I mentioned this to Sr. Linda, she said, “Yes, we were worried about you. When the retreat is not full, we don’t make big preparations.”
But this attention to the meager needs of two guests is in my mind big!
Yes, there is so much that is big here in a quiet hidden way. I took a walk this morning and saw women gardening and met Sr. Bette Anne who explained to me that they were taking out mugwort to encourage the growth of milkweed, which would encourage butterflies and pollinators.
Who is this world of self interest and greed cares about butterflies and pollinators? Why, the same women who know that rooms don’t need keys.”
“I was able to pause and reset. I felt welcomed and able to have alone time with God while other are taking care of my basic needs.”
“Thank you, Sr. Nancy, for everything. Love all or the prayer sheets from our activities. They provide guidance and focus in the silence. ”
“Everything was excellent, including the meals and the snacks.”
“The Creativity Room and resources are a tremendous inspiration! Thank you.”
“All of your efforts are evident: the retreat nourishes us body and min, and the quality of the food nourishes us as well!”
“The grounds are simply majestic!”
“I felt very much at home and at peace.”