Archives for posts with tag: memories

65b5e049e3dec536c3f8c18434e9adea--beach-wallpaper-landscape-wallpaperInterns at work

September 24, 2002

“From the Indiana Dunes on the southern shore of Lake Michigan last week, to this side of Lake Michigan today, we interns meet again in Hyde Park. It is fitting to reunite so soon after sharing our life stories at an intense opening retreat. The calmness of the Lake and beauty of the Dunes in Michigan City, IN, helped the in-depth process move smoothly. We are learning by doing spiritual direction with one another, and we will do so each Tuesday.  Lunch time finds some of us meditating by the lake or soaking up the shimmering sun glistening on the water …

“I spend my first evening with the women tenants at Brand New Beginnings (BNB) in a support-group setting. I tune in to their past struggles (most revolving around drugs) and take notice as they share their positive energy in turning their lives around, not only for themselves but for their children as well. Their faith in God is their salvation and deliverance, and they want to give their children the love and attention that they themselves lacked.  I offer my service of one-on-one spiritual companionship with the intent of getting to know them better.  They accept me  as they do Della (the director) and Sally (the social worker) without hesitation … “

Prayer Walk for Change

The tenants of BNB help organize a phenomenal walk around their neighborhood. We invite surrounding churches to join us, and we hand out the following invitation.

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Prayer Walk for Change   

Washington Park Neighborhood, 45th  to 60th Street

Join us on April 18, 2003, Good Friday, Noon until 3 p.m.

WALK IN SILENT PRAYER BETWEEN PRAYER STATIONS

We walk around our neighborhood in faith and silent prayer for…

  • our children, threatened by gangs or are members of gangs…
  • our brothers and sisters who are bound by drugs, dealings, addictions, and violence…
  • our family members who are victims and  perpetrators of domestic violence…
  • our children who are subject to abuse…
  • the lack of affordable housing.

We pray for elimination of these problems and for a safe and peaceful environment in which to live.

We are the Tenant Council at Brand New Beginnings who built a solid foundation for a positive future and are taking necessary steps to achieve our goals.

We are willing to redirect our energy and intellect to create safe and positive homes for our children, and to be good neighbors in the restoration of peace and harmony in our neighborhood.

Our vision and our true foundation is God.

We invite you to join us in our first of seven prayer-vigil-walks around the neighborhood, patterned after the fall of the walls of Jericho as God so instructed Joshua (Joshua 6:1-5).

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Each walk is unique in that different people show up. The neighborhood has over fifty churches. Some ministers choose to follow while others choose to lead, until Della makes it clear that BNB is in charge. Children like to walk the walk; the Franciscan Sisters with whom I live join us, plus a van full of Clinton, Iowa Franciscans show up. The oldest Sister insists on walking the walk and refuses the police officer’s offer to ride in her cruiser. However, near the end of the walk, we hear a siren and see lights flashing as the officer pulls up with the Sister waiving out the front window!

Social Analysis

At the end of my first year pre-novitiate educational goals, I am asked to put together a social analysis of Brand New Beginnings. It allows me the opportunity to take a step back and look at the overall picture in order to receive the insights of the Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) group. I admit that the surrounding neighborhood, as it is, makes me realize the need for a Prayer Walk for Change that was born out of both my social analysis project and Della’s vision for BNB. Such a cooperative venture offers BNB tenants, the neighborhood families, and the surrounding churches support one another and work together.

Key Growth Areas

A primary key growth area for me throughout my ministry site experience is recognizing when and how to be flexible.  I learn repeatedly that relaxing into the flow of what is happening lends to greater awareness of the situation than trying to “figure out” what is going on and trying to “fix” things according to my norms. It is yet another image, that of giving birth:  in knowing when to push and when to breathe during the birthing process; in allowing the body to adapt to the baby’s movements; to be “out of control” and into the rhythm of nature.

Big City travels …

Hyde Park pic

Compliments of the free encyclopedia … Wikipedia

August 22, 2002

“Today Paula and I do a dry run, via the Chicago Transit Authority, to Hyde Park, situated on the shore of Lake Michigan and located seven miles south of the Chicago Loop. The trek requires two buses — the first one stops on our street corner, and the second at Midway Airport. From door-to-door, the trip takes one hour and forty-five minutes.

On our return trip we manage to catch an express bus back to Midway, hoping it will be quicker. The lady driver reminds everyone who boards that it is an express bus, which means it doesn’t stop at every side street. She also blows her horn frequently, reminding me of New York City. Paula and I are eventually the only passengers, and the driver shares her frustrations and struggles with us.

‘People just don’t listen when I remind them that stops are more infrequent… and I feel bad when they get mad at me.’

As we listen and converse with her, she reveals several of her difficulties. Her mood becomes much brighter. She says we are the best thing that happened to her today; we return that she is good for us, too, because this is our first ride on public transportation since we moved here a month ago. Her response, ‘You mean you aren’t from Chicago? NO WONDER YOU ARE SO NICE!’

We chalk that experience up to bus ministry. Our street ministry consists of meeting the neighbors on our daily walks. Needless to say, this close-knit Polish neighborhood knows much about us and asks questions, like, ‘Who has the small bedroom?’ Paula immediately responds, ‘That would be me!’ Most of the neighbors lived here forty-plus years and knew the lady who lived in our house until she died. One even asks how we like the Jacuzzi (another story coming down the road)!”

Let me step back in time to share some of my history.

My roots sprouted in the International land of Northern Ohio and thrived over the next sixteen years. Each set of my grandparents originated from European countries. Great Lake Erie was my playground, as was the Metropolitan Park system in that it preserved the land’s natural beauty. Euclid Beach Amusement Park provided fun for all ages, from amazing rides to homemade taffy, candy kisses, and their famous popcorn balls.

Accessing downtown Cleveland was an adventure: we traveled by bus or by the Rapid Transit that dipped underground in spots and ended underneath the Terminal Tower, a 52-story “skyscraper” built in 1930. Shopping experiences encountered huge buildings with revolving doors, elevators, escalators, and crowds of fast-walking people. As a child, I found the blustery winters difficult to maneuver. Mother taught me how to angle our backs against the wind and snow as we turned each corner,  then lay into the fury an inch at a time, and walk backward until we reached the next store.

More than fifty years later, Chicago becomes home. Its well-known nickname, “Windy City,” does not speak of the wind off Lake Michigan. In fact, it was coined in reference to Chicago’s braggart politicians who were deemed to be “full of hot air.” Since I was raised in a big city, my enthusiasm is high, and I feel secure knowing how to battle the forces. The truth be told, Chicago is the third-largest city in the United States while Cleveland ranks forty-fifth.

Regardless of the largeness of Chicago, I navigate the city without a problem, love riding the “El” above ground, and treasure my two-year stay. Navigating my old Toyota Corolla around town is a cinch; however, parking is not and the car incurred several indentations.

And, at no time do I ride another bus.

Gypsy_Journey_Cover_for_KindleNumerous thanks to all who delved into Gypsy Journey, and to those who shared their thoughts with me. It is hoped that you enjoyed re-reading the excerpts and their related pictures on this Blog. Now it’s time to move on and delve more deeply into the life stories.

The most noteworthy and overwhelming part of my life journey was my husband’s illness and death. Consequently, I was inspired to navigate my life into one more deeply spiritual. Several years down the road, after having bonded with the Franciscan Sisters, I made the move to Chicago. It was a decision my adult children supported, knowing it wasn’t a wild dream that Mom just dug up, more like an itch that wouldn’t go away.

The first chapters of Gypsy Journey speak of that move to Chicago where I spent two years contemplating whether or not to join the Franciscan Sisters. Mature women, such as mothers and grandmothers, divorced or widowed, who enter religious life as a second vocation, are referred to as Sister Moms. Those who enter a community to discern religious life are called Novices; that would be me and another woman named Paula.

After my Lexington house sold, I willingly gave the money to my children and donated my furniture to the Franciscan Sisters for the new house in Chicago. Relief settled in my soul. I didn’t want to own things. There’s freedom in that.

This sequel adventure is entitled Windy Cities and begins promptly.

Please reply via the blog should you have any comments, questions, or just want to chat.

P.S. If you haven’t read Gypsy Journey, copies are available at amazon.com.

Peace and all good!

Pat

 

 

 

 

blue-spruce

Come visit my 1950’s childhood Christmases in Cleveland, when I was smitten with the snow !

May peace prevail on Earth!

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