Preparations begin, of course, with the beginning of Advent. Every Wednesday morning, we have a short prayer service in our main corridor for any of our employees who wish to join us. We take turns preparing the prayer services and gather at 9 A.M. around this Advent wreath which is situated in the center of our main corridor.
Our employees also organize a Christmas outreach, lovingly named Hilary's Christmas Outreach in memory of one of our employees who organized it for many years. Donations are made all through Advent for one of the ministries in which our are involved. Suggestions are made by the employees and chosen by a vote from the employees. This giving tree is set up each year in the corridor right outside our communication office. Each decoration indicates a donation made by an employee.
The giving tree
For the past two weekends our spiritual center has held Advent retreats each of which runs from Friday evening until late Sunday morning. The spiritual--beautifully decorated at any season of the year--is especially festive during this season.
Table where visitors to the spiritual center sign in and out
Table outside spiritual center welcoming guests.
One of the tables in the spiritual center lounge
Inside the small chapel within the spiritual center
Most of the center's programs are held in Bachmann Hall and like the rest of the center, the decorations are exquisite.
Nativity scene at one end of the stage
And a tribute to Mary at the other end.
The joy of Christmas atop the piano
Now let's go back to the main part of the house--to the main entrance.
Right inside the front door is a small crèche.
Before we move into the main corridor, we find an illuminated plaque with the final line of our Mission Statement and above it hangs a beautiful bough of Christmas evergreens--pretty significant, I'd say!
Simple but elegant--resting on a small table in the hallway.
Two of the windowsill decorations in the corridor!
This large tree stands in the Blessing Room--which connects two of our meeting rooms, the Assisi Room and the Copper Beech Room. The "walls" separating the rooms can actually be moved to make one large room either for meetings or, when needed, for use as an extra dining room. We call it the ABC Room!
Now before we go into chapel, I invite you to stop by the second floor area where I live with four other sisters. Sunday afternoon we decorated our area--enjoying Christmas music while we did the job. After the tree was decorated and the various ornaments set in place in the community and kitchen, we had a beautiful prayer service blessing our tree. Then we ordered takeout from a local deli and enjoyed supper together.
Our Christmas tree and the Nativity scene above our TV
Sr. Geralda with whom I live is a fantastic baker. Want to sample her scones and Irish bread?
Now, let's head back downstairs and visit our large crèche and chapel. Both scenes remind us what this season is all about.
This crèche with its life-size figures is in an open room in our main corridor where anyone walking down the hallway can pause for a visit. I understand that the stable was made by one of our former chaplains, Fr. Farrell.
Right inside the chapel door is this beautiful bowl of evergreens and holly.
Our Advent wreath is situated in the back of chapel.
When I arrived in chapel this morning, work was still in progress preparing for Christmas day. In the choir someone was practicing music and down below the chapel itself was being readied.
Jeff and Kevin, two members of our grounds crew, are setting up the tree in the sanctuary.
Sue, a member of our housekeeping staff is making sure the pews glisten!
Hopefully this virtual tour of our motherhouse will entice you to come for a real visit. We'd love to have you and there's lots more to see--not just at Christmas. Our home and our grounds are beautiful during every season of the year!