I drove to the highest point of the oldest Catholic cemetery in Dayton for the view but found an unexpectedly beautiful set of statues going beyond the usual Sacred Heart and angel ones. First up is a Holy Family and St. Anthony, who goes beyond helping find my frequently mislaid objects (including a high sentimental and financial value pair of diamond earrings for a sister in kickboxing last week). He has also helped me find a path to live my intertwined vocations and this depiction is so tender that it can compete with my usual favorite of book in one hand, baby in the other--the perfect symbol for my ministry as physical and spiritual mother, theologian, and spiritual director!
Since two of our four are in heaven I was especially moved by this statue of a little boy lost in the late 1800s. Apparently it vanished for a long time and an estranged extended family recently found reconciliation by chipping in to replace it.
Next is my lovely new infinity scarf, bought at the church supply store in the ten minutes between a heavenly massage and noon mass at my favorite downtown parish. I was hoping for a mantilla in that style, which she didn't stock, but this was even better cause it's got lavender, pink, and butterflies as well as wonderful phrases like "embrace your truth" and "unleash your joy." The store owner delighted and honored me by remembering me from several years back before our move out of state--both to offer the ministry discount and to say how beautifully the last phrase summed me up! The three pictures show the diversity of wearing it doubled as a scarf, as a subtle veil for mass or Confession, and then single which is also meaningfully reminiscent of a stole. The latter symbolism came to me that night when I first unwound it to protect it from drips at Red Lobster during a long conversation which became a real time of giving and receiving healing ministry. I offered in depth sacred listening to a deacon friend's painful story of spiritual abuse and then we took turns interceding for each other with laying on of hands in the car.
Next is the Katie and BFF before picture, taken before leaving for my retreat time in Columbus. I stopped by his house to drop off the bag of candy she had forgotten (hence the blue Airhead "tongue" she is sporting). I had a great time hearing the adventures from them and his sister, who declined being photographed. It was a well balanced visit with a teen heaven arcade experience with his Dad one day--Katie the princess of double black diamond rollercoasters made them feel better by shrieking her way through the horror maze--and a museum trip featuring a Grandma Moses expedition with his Memaw the next.
Next three are from the table area at the Columbus Women's Conference. I did a double take when I went upstairs toward the prayer room and recognized Jen Fulwiler whom I had thought would be broadcast to, not from us! I left her alone though cause it was coming up on her talk. The first two are from a ministry to families with children who are born still or live only briefly after birth. They provide beautiful clothes for pictures and the burials they help parents access--you can see how tiny some of the babies are from the pink crocheted gown on the left in contrast with that on the right. Then it's Mercedarian novice Sr. Katie with Our Lady of Ransom, their patroness--unusual because it shows toddler Jesus holding a monstrance. We and the other novice whose name I forget shared our faith and vocation stories for a really long time before Sr. Katie gave me the last holy card of OLR (different image) and kindly prayed with me for our marital healing process. I also got to have a long and wonderful conversation with an older Dominican sister and lay associate in modern dress--a beautiful reminder of the diversity and unity among us Catholic sisters.
Next two show the prayer room where the Blessed Sacrament was reserved. I was moved by the fact that the official photographer didn't just genuflect at the door before taking her pictures but remained kneeling throughout. The third is a slightly distant picture downstairs of one of the most gorgeous images of Mary I have ever experienced, the African woman behind whom I had knelt before Jesus for my Confession preparation time. She had a gorgeous head wrap, matching skirt, long overrobe with a picture of "Marie, Reine de l'Universe," and a lively bright eyed toddler patiently looking at me from the wrap on her back.
Final two pictures are the after version of BFF and Katie at the house and then our last celebration with soup in bread bowls at Panera. It shows the hair surprise that greeted me at the end of the visit. Simon's mom is a gifted amateur stylist who has done most of Katie's few trims and began this to clean up a recent Fantastic Sam's cut. She had bleach leftover from BFF's sister's latest multicolored do (she is an artist I am praying aced her recent audition for the magnet school) so gave Katie the joy of revisiting her typically Grimes blonde youth as well as a first step toward the teal to which she wants to transform on the next visit in a few months.