Notes from the Field: 24 November, 2014

The Week in Review:

  • It’s been a rough week here. A whole variety of issues popped up one right after the other, which left very little room for breathing space.
  • A person from my past–who has commented on this and other blogs before–has resurfaced. He is a 40-something father and husband who grew up in my hometown and used to attend the Baptist church in which I was raised. For whatever reason, he carries a vendetta against me and follows my online presence–blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc.–and trolls. At this point, I don’t pay any attention to him. He’s a very hurt and hurting individual who so clearly needs love in his life. He comes from a very fundamentalist Evangelical world view, one which clashes with my own very frequently. In any case, he emailed all of my nuns the other day in an attempt to discredit me. The Sisters asked me who he was and why his email sounded so off base. We had a conversation and I explained the whole story. One of the Sisters said in a later email, “I’m so sorry (or maybe I mean mad) that this is happening to you.” I anticipate more people like this in my life–detractors flock to places where truth is spoken and love is shared. It’s very comforting to know that the people whom I love–those whose opinions really and truly matter to me because of the relationship we have and the respect they’ve earned–support me unconditionally.
  • My young scholar-friends at Patchwork Quilt have finally realized that fighting against my writing exercises on Friday afternoons will not work. While a few have always been eager to write, the others have at least stopped complaining before, during, and after our writing sessions. I feel as if these kids are giant icebergs. They’ve only begun to express themselves in writing–one scholar-friend wrote about the respect she has for her brother following their cousin’s death, another wrote to gangbangers and told them in no uncertain terms to stop killing people. These kids are deep and they’ve seen a life’s worth already. I’m fighting against dominant culture, I realize, in asking them to go within themselves and feel rather than think or do or something else.
  • Congratulations are due to my friends Blake and Amanda who are newly engaged!
  • Sister Mary Virginia and I went grocery shopping last week. While I enjoy spending time with the Sisters as a whole, I absolutely love spending time with them individually. I baked cookies with Sister Mary Margaret a few weeks ago. Sister Mary Frances and I went on a field trip to the local liturgical supply store about a month ago. These women are great. I feel bad for those who don’t have nuns in their lives.
  • Speaking of nuns, the Sisters renewed their vows at Mass on Friday. It was a very beautiful liturgy with Sisters-guests from the Visitation in St. Louis. After all of the nuns renewed their commitments of poverty (life in community), celibacy (love), and obedience (to God alone), the rest of us were invited to renew whatever commitments we had made in life. I renewed my promises to the Sisters and to the northside. Kayla renewed her baptism. So on and so forth. The Sisters from St. Louis were also a great–Marie Therese and Mary Grace–a couple of Irish sprites!
  • I spent last Saturday evening with some of the finest people in existence. We celebrated Friendsgiving with a terrific Thanksgiving-themed potluck. We feasted and had a great deal of fun. I’m grateful to have these people in my life, although I don’t see them nearly as often as I’d like. Many of us were classmates during college and share many of the same experiences. We also experience some of the same nostalgia. It’s nice to know that I’m surrounded by such a creative, supportive community.

Photo credit: Amanda Afton Gay


  • I began reading Silence by Shisako Endo, which was given to me by a friend. It’s too early to give much of an opinion. That said, I very much enjoyed the forward, written by the translator, which described in some detail the history of Christianity in Japan, focusing especially on those who died refusing to apostatize.
  • We’re still chipping away at Letters of Spiritual Direction. I’m more and more intrigued by the use of letter writing as a medium for very intimate correspondence. The letters between Jane and Frances, though both very much loyal to their vows, were positively tender.


  • Joe Coffee from Trader Joe’s. It’s medium-roast, low-acid, and very inexpensive ($4.99 for a tin of whole beans.) Again, I usually drink Peace Coffee, but TJ’s was more readily available when I needed caffeine. For less than $5, it’s a fine cup of coffee.

Listening to:

  • Soweto Gospel Choir
  • Bob Marley’s “Roots, Rock, Reggae”
  • “How Great Thou Art” and other hymns sung in Lakota. My friend Malena posted these on Sunday morning and I listened on my way to Mass. It was a beautiful, foggy day here in Minneapolis. Perfect for contemplation.

2 thoughts on “Notes from the Field: 24 November, 2014

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