Day 15 – Many Delights

The first delight was an early morning with the sun fully shinning. It seemed like it had been a long time since we saw such a clear day.

We rose early so my driver could take Dixie over to a scheduled road check up (it was just at that mileage where it’s recommended). He walked back from the service station to meet our friend who took us to a delightful breakfast in the St. Rose Convent dinning room. As you can well imagine, everything was delicious and our conversation was fortifying as well.

By the time we had enjoyed our breakfast, the car was done at the service station, so we set out to see the sights. Our friend took us out to St. Joseph Villa where one of their Sisters has built and maintains a fully functioning, self sustaining greenhouse. Unfortunately, she was not available to give us a tour, but we marveled at the workings, the solar panels, and the self-circulating water system. The plants growing inside looked healthy and loved. The Sisters have also created their own Green Burial space on their grounds and the place is covered with wild flowers. Peace and quiet surrounded us as we walked through the gardens. Bees delighted in flowers; butterflies stopped for nectar; crickets chirped merrily and the sun shone brilliantly. Further down the road we saw some of the hermitages the Sisters have for those who want to retreat from the business of the daily grind. There is no disputing, this place was delightfully peaceful. A place not only for quiet and prayer, but also for communing with nature. The vibrant green of the grasses; the stunning blue of the sky; and the varied color of wild flowers made us grateful for a Creator so skilled with a color pallet.

To add more delight to the morning, we traveled the short distance to Granddad Bluff overlooking the town of La Crosse, Wisconsin which is situated on the Mississippi River. There was a little haze in the distance, but the views were remarkable. This is at the point where the state borders of  Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa meet, but it is only possible to see with such an incredible vantage point as the bluffs.

Following another delightful meal at the St. Rose Convent cafeteria, we met with another Sister whom we had met some years ago when she was traveling with our mutual friend. She told of her parish work in northern Michigan and how now, in her retirement, she is leading the charge to eliminate homelessness in La Crosse. The story is astounding and inspirational, giving witness to the fact that one person can make a difference by motivating others, at every level, to join her in such a worthy cause.

We took an afternoon walk into downtown La Crosse and returned for another delightful meal with the sisters at St. Rose. Another delicious offering! Our friend told us affectionately that St. Rose is the best restaurant in town. I have to believe her.

After supper, as the locals say, we were treated to a walk through the St. Rose Convent Archives. It may more appropriately be named a museum of the history of the convent and the many talented and inspiring women who have lived and worked from here. I marveled at how many paintings, vestments, and crafts the sisters have made over the years. Truly, beautiful things!The evening was spent sharing pictures of our family and talking about the “old times” when we first met and had worked together 40 years ago. In some ways it feels like a long time ago, but in many ways it feels like it was just last year. This enduring friendship is one of the graces that came out of that year of teaching so long ago.

It was a delightful day; a delightful visit; and a delightful friendship rekindled. And we are grateful.