Monday, May 15, 2017

L’Arche Across America — Day 6 — Mother’s Day

When a drive through the Badlands at dusk is the second best thing that happened, you know it was a good day.

On Saturday, Jane and I sat in the “way back” while Todd drove, and we talked about St. Catherine of Siena, for whom we each feel affection. I told her there was a St. Catherine’s Church in Luverne, Minnesota, where we were planning to spend Saturday night, and that the MassTimes app said it had a 5:30 Saturday vigil and a 10:30 Sunday morning.

Jane said, Bee-yoo-tee-ful, and it was settled.

But we were late getting to Luverne and so we “settled” instead for the 8:30 am Sunday at St. Mary’s in nearby Ellsworth, which is part of the same rural parish in southwestern Minnesota. We thought the 10:30 at St. Catherine would be too late to allow us to get to our next destination, Custer SD, in good time.

Man proposes and God takes care of the rest.

By the time I had parked the van and come into the vestibule of St. Mary’s, Jane, Doris, and Woody had been welcomed by the greeters, Mr. and Mrs. Dave Ranschau, and pastor Father Tom Jennings had discovered that we were from L’Arche Boston North. He asked Jane and me if we would be willing to speak about L’Arche after communion, and before we had a chance almost to answer, we were escorted to the front pew with the respect due visiting royalty.

It was Mother’s Day, and Doris was treated with honors befitting the day. My heart was filling fast.

What none of us knew or could have known was that Father Tom is retiring soon, and for some years now he has been reading Jean Vanier (“every one of his books”) and dreaming about founding L’Arche in southwest Minnesota.

After we spoke at St. Mary‘s and stopped downstairs for coffee and donuts, Father Tom asked us to come to the 10:30 at St. Catherine’s. We drove back to the hotel, collected our luggage along with Todd and John, and made it to the Luverne church in time for communion. Again, we both spoke; again Woody told his side of the story; and again Doris wished everyone Happy Mother’s Day.

Then we had coffee and donuts for the second time and met several parishioners whose stories strangely paralleled some of our own. The only hitch in the whole thing was that the St. Catherine in question was that of Alexandria, not Siena.

But by the time we headed west across South Dakota toward the Badlands, we were all filled only with gratitude.

We stopped in the shade of a rest-stop gazebo for sandwiches and fruit. As Woody seems always to imply and Jane in fact says, “It’s all good.”

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful way to celebrate Mother's Day. Safe and happy travels to all.


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