St. Jerome With the Blue Dress On

We drove down to be with the city sisters for Pentecost. Beautiful liturgy, sermon, appetizers and dinner. “Our last Pentecost in this house,” said a sister. And then she burst out crying. Empty closets, piles of debris to sort, save, dispurse, recycle, throw away remind me everywhere of the upcoming move to the green convent further uptown.

We celebrated Mother Ruth’s vision, the brilliance of choosing the Holy Spirit as patron, the founding of the order, sisters who participated for part of their lives and moved on to other things, and by name the faithful departed sisters, and we celebrated the Spirit working in the community, in friendship, in the house, in the charisms of the individual sisters, in all of us. Mysterious. Breathtaking. Breath giving.

The farm sisters drove home again and here I am with the sisters for a week to take a summer course at General Seminary – Praying With Mary led by Deirdre Good and Jeanne Person.

The garden will be a shock when I get home. I want to use the word rampant. Unfurling, changing, blossomming, growing as if in spurts with no end. But a spurt implies a sudden start and then a stop. But the garden flowers just spurt. Maybe sprinting into June. Spurting toward winter when the growth spurt will stop for a season. I’ll miss the garden this week. I put lots of myself into it. And so did some saintly guests put themselves into the gardens as well.

I can’t resist putting up a picture of Saint Jerome from the Belles Heures de Jean de Berry by the Limbourg Brothers which is visible at the Met until June 13th. You can also see the exhibit online. http://blog.metmuseum.org/artofillumination/

The story goes that a monk replaced Jerome’s habit with a woman’s dress, which he put on sleepily before Matins, to the delight of his brothers. The note says that this practical joke was one reason Jerome left Rome and went to Jerusalem. Clearly the Limbourg brothers had fun with the story, giving Jerome a lovely full beard. It’s too bad Jerome didn’t think it was funny. It might have made him more lovable.

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