Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My Aunt Helen; Sister Maureen Therese

Silo & Wildflowers

My sisters and I took a 5 hour road trip to Adrian, Michigan to visit our Aunt Helen, better known as Sister Maureen Therese. A devoted nun with The Dominican Sisters for over 60 years.
   As we crossed over the state line from Ohio to Michigan, red barns, wild flowers, silos and cornfields line the road that lead us into Adrian. 

Vickie, Theresa, & me with Aunt Helen
Period architecture lends the downtown and campus of the Adrian Dominican Sisters a distinctive turn-of-the-last-century atmosphere, with graceful homes in the Queen Anne and Greek Revival styles. Siena Heights University, founded in 1919, is noted for it's fine arts program.
Heavenly Door- 
has a halo :)

   We stayed at the Weber Center (a retreat and conference center on campus) which also houses the old selection of the academy. As we were eating lunch, I noticed a series of illustrations (drawn in pencil) that encompassed the room. My Aunt Helen explained the drawings were originally from a book (now out of print) titled, Amid the Alien Corn, based on the Book of Ruth from the old testament. The drawings depicted the history and daily routines of the first Dominican Sisters.  Looking more closely, the scenes were drawn realistically in contrast and details and yet, had an abstract quality defining angles and depth as each one told its own complex story. The subjects were relevant to the time; an vintage iron and ironing board, a ladder-back chair adjacent to a vase of lilies, nuns dressed in the traditional habits, but more intriguing was the subtle symbolism that was worked in to the pieces; an opened window graced by the wind. 

A brief summary, The Book of Ruth:
Sit for a while...
There was a famine in Israel. Naomi was forced to emigrate to Moab. There her sons were married to two Moabite women: Ruth and Orpah.  Naomi's husband and her two sons then died leaving her a widow with two daughter-in-law who were Moabites-the traditional enemies of the Israelites. Naomi decided to return to Israel. She advised Ruth and Orpah to stay in Moab and remarry people of their own kind. Orpah remained in Moab and disappeared into history. Ruth, on the other hand, decided to follow Naomi. She implore...

Amid the fields     (passing by in a car...movement blurs photo for a painterly effect)
16 And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee,
or to return from following after thee:
for whither thou goest, I will go;
and where thou lodgest, I will lodge:
thy people shall be my people,
and thy God my God:

17 Where thou diest, will I die,
and there will I be buried:
the LORD do so to me,
and more also,
if ought but death part thee and me.

Naomi and Ruth had to glean for a living, as it was in the middle of the barley harvest.  Ruth worked so hard that she attracted the attention of Boaz who kept her save in his field. Naomi, playing the matchmaker, encouraged Ruth to sleep at the feet of Boaz at night while he guarded his harvest. When Boaz married Ruth, the Moabite, he introduced gentile blood into the bloodline of Christ.

I began to understand the the correlation between the Adrian Dominican Sisters and Ruth...symbolically, they too are amid the cornfields committed to harvesting the word of God.

Orange you blessed to know that someone is always praying for you?

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