radiance of words

Star Flower

Walking around the block a mile this evening, I thought upon the Russia- Ukraine war. How despondent and sad I become. At the same time a memory comes forward of a time in the early 1990s on Long Island New York. I was visiting with the Poor Clares and the Franciscan Brothers. I corresponded with Sister Philomena for years. She told me once,

“It is best you join the world again. Meet someone, settle down, get married and have children.”

And so, I did.

As I was walking, I looked and saw a star blossom upon the ground I said to myself,

“Star I see you within this flower.”

I thought instantly of the Canticle of Brother Sun and Sister Moon by St. Francis of Assisi.

Once years ago, I awoke to an invitation one morning to join in the reading of this with the Brothers and Sisters. How lovely it felt to be there and feel such radiance of words.

The point of my memory and experience tells me this. That we live in a contrary world of both beauty and heart ache. It is up to us to balance these two extremes the best we can.

“Praised be You my Lord through our Sister,

Mother Earth

who sustains and governs us,

producing varied fruits with colored flowers and herbs.

Praise be You my Lord through those who grant pardon for

love of You and

bear sickness and trial.”

Sister Philomena

Sister Philomena

W. Somerset Maugham : You see, my dear; goodness is, after all, the greatest force in the world.

The Razor’s Edge Quotes by W. Somerset Maugham  

There are times in one’s life where one touches upon a goodness. A time of change the place of liminality. I have been awakened at these times to realities beyond myself. This is one such time. Before the internet or handheld devices there was mail correspondence. I ran from something to eventually find something. I was privileged to find the Poor Clare’s and the Franciscan Brothers. Whose goodness cannot be denied as a place or religiosity but continues to endure to help others. Help and holiness.

Now at 65 my life has come to be very contemplative and small. I think somehow, Sister Philomena knew this. Funny how when we are young life seems so desperate. Now it is very real, forgiving, and reflective.  

I continued to receive St. Clare’s Monstrance until Sister Philomena passed away. The correspondence lasted for years.

Be praised, My Lord, through Sister Water; she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.    

~Canticle of the Sun.

After I abandoned Al and Flipside Fanzine for pursuing other men, there was something else that really inspired me away from the Punk Scene.

It was the contemplative life. I was in correspondence with the Poor Clares of Long Island for many years. They were part of my journey.

I stayed with the Poor Clares for some time. Their orderly life seemed very pleasant, and adjacent to their closure were the Franciscan Brothers.

I attended their early Morning Prayers with readings from the Canticle of the Sun.

Sister Philomena had a small newsletter called The Monstrance. She was a good friend, and it was a dream come true to visit with her.

One story I remember her telling me was before she joined the convent. As a young woman she enjoyed the Coffee Frappe while living in New York City.

At that time, it was not a poplar drink as it is today. She would go to the Italian corner store and drink them. Now every time I get one…I think of Sister Philomena.

I will never forget, as a brother drove me away to the train station, seeing her outside the car window …waving to me in full Habit and holy clothing… as the wind blew, her smile still affirms to me that a life with children was the best choice for me.