Thinking, praying, pondering, walking…

 Yesterday, today and tomorrow I am praying, thinking and pondering at the Chiara Center just northeast of Springfield, IL.  This quiet, peaceful retreat center is a ministry of the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis. I have a simple, private room and bath.  I take my meals at the retreat cafeteria…

This is the entrance to the Center.


This was taken from the bench where I spent most of the morning. Several hundred hundred Hospital sisters of St. Francis from down through the last century are laid to rest here. 

I switched benches about 30 minutes before lunch.

This nun had barely started her service.  She died on Christmas day, just over two months into her service.  (A Postulant is nun who is still in the stages of being observed and considered.)
Here’s the headstone of a sister who entered the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis at age 26 and lived to be nearly 100 years old.  Incredible and very inspiring to me. PAX, which is on nearly every headstone is: “The Peace of Christ” or “The Peace of Christ be upon you.”
After lunch I came to the chapel of the St. Francis of Assisi Church.

I was the only one in the chapel as I prayed and reflected on the the decades of my life, writing down the highlights … the changes, the inspirational persons in my life, the blessings, the challenges.
The is the view from my room looking east as the sun hangs low in the last afternoon sky.
 As I prepare for dinner tonight in the retreat dining room, I am pondering this plaque in my room, “Just to be is a blessing.  Just to live is holy.” … Abraham Joshua Heshel

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