Saturday, March 12, 2016


Chapel of Community of St. Mary
This rainy day in south Louisiana, I read that the sun is shining on my second home in Sewanee, Tennessee, and my thoughts center on an event that will take place there soon after we arrive for the spring and summer season. At Sewanee, we worship in a chapel of the Community of St. Mary, a community that has been a presence on The Mountain for over a century. We're also on the Advisory Board of this Community and associates of the Order of St. Mary, and I often preach and “deacon” at services held in St. Mary’s chapel. This year, the Sisters, Board, Associates, students, and friends are hosting a spring gala entitled “Heaven, Hope, and Hurricanes” in support of an Organic Prayer Internship Program that includes young men and women who have helped expand the ministry of St. Mary into the community and the larger world.

Sister Madeleine Mary, Mother Superior of the Community of St. Mary, writes that “these interns have experienced intentional community and Benedictine practice and spirituality, as well as learned about the organic relationship between care for the body, the soul, and the earth,” and she’s excited about hosting this first gala event sponsored by the Community. It will include dinner, a silent auction, and a program of music given by our long-time New Iberia, Louisiana friends, Brenda Lowry and Joshua Murrell.

Brenda and Joshua will feature songs of hope and healing that they’ve written and recorded for their “Women at the Well” program, a collection of songs written from the point of view of some of Christ’s women disciples. They have presented the original music in parish halls, churches, private homes, and retreat centers throughout the country.
Brenda and Bubbs, songwriters and performers

These talented musicians will also present selections from a recording they made as “Blue Merlot,” their “B&B on the Rock” signature, many of which are based on hurricane recovery after Hurricane Katrina. Brenda writes: “When you’re sitting at your kitchen door, watching the water rise and realizing that there’s not a thing you can do about if, you learn something about surrender. And at some point, you laugh because the alternative is too ugly. Then that night, when the wind and rain have finally calmed, you see the Milky Way like never before, because there are no lights anywhere…and the beauty takes your breath away.” Those feelings inspired the music for special selections Brenda and Joshua (aka “Bubba”) will perform after intermission at the gala event.

I realize that many of my blog readers aren’t in Tennessee, but some of you may wish to help sponsor this event, and donations can be made to the Sisters of St. Mary, 1100 St. Mary’s Lane, Sewanee,TN 37375 so that the interns can continue to live, work, study, and pray at the Convent. They will help the gardens to flourish, worship to be enriched, and can engage in the life of a Benedictine monastic order. $1,000 will allow eight people to attend and participate in this benefit. The gala is scheduled for the evening of April 9, 2016 in Cravens Hall at Sewanee, and if you need more details, write to Sr. Madeleine Mary at the above address.

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