The plains of South Dakota greeted us as we returned home from our travels in Rome and pilgrimage to our founding Monastery in Switzerland. After mountains, valleys, lakes, and musenalps, I was ever so happy to see for miles and miles to our horizons here at home.
Switzerland was absolutely marvelous! First, we went to Marienburg; our Foundress Mother Gertrude established this community after leaving America to return to Switzerland. This house of 13 sisters welcomed us into their semi-cloistered home with much love. We had the opportunity to spend two and a half days with them at prayer and meals. A high point for me was the time to pray at the grave of Mother Gertrude. It is set in within their simple, quiet, cemetery at on the sisters grounds. It was beautiful to sit there and listen to the birds, cow bells, and contemplate our connections to the past and future.
Next, we traveled to Maria Rickenbach set in the Alps not far from Luzerne. We traveled by train and CABLE CAR to reach the monastery! At this community, we stayed in their guest house (the original building that was used as their convent) and ate in the guest dinning room. Despite this degree of distance, I felt as if I was one of their daughters here on the mountainside as well. We prayed and celebrated Eucharist with the sisters, and one evening Mother Andrea had a wonder visit with us through another of the sisters who speaks English. We also traveled up the Musenalp via a second (smaller) cable car.
Amazing...all you could see for miles and miles were the tops of other mountain tops, speckles of towns and villages in the valleys, and the grand 'sea' of Lake Luzerne. Beautiful and Astounding, we spent our time on the mountain in prayerful silence. How could our first sisters have left this for the wide open plains of South Dakota? There is a beauty and grandeur of our plains, but the hill sides of trees, flowers, and cow-bells must have been difficult to leave behind. Our only answer was the one answer we all followed...The Call of Vocation to Seek God. God's grace in following our vocation is the only answer.