Most people who have spent much time at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods have a favorite season here. Mine is winter. Actually, in January, it’s winter. In April, spring will be my favorite. In July … well, you get the point.
Recently, I had the opportunity to spend some time at Luking Hermitage at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. As I looked at the trees that circle St. Joe’s Lake, I wondered if Mother Theodore had seen and admired those very trees.
I watched the snow fall one morning and wondered what her vantage point had been when she wrote, during the last winter before her death:
“The weather is a little milder, and yet a thick mist has frozen on the trees, which are all white as snow this morning and give our Forest an air of purity and innocence which it is a pleasure to see. What will Heaven be like if our earth is sometimes so beautiful!”
Whether we are full-time residents of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods or able to visit only for a few hours or days at a time, we are fortunate to be surrounded by such beauty. It is grace to be able to walk these grounds where Mother Theodore and her five companions walked before us, grounds made more sacred by their presence and by the presence of many hundreds of holy ones who came after them.
It is also grace to have the words of Mother Theodore in her “Journals and Letters,” to be able to share her reflections on the ordinary events of her days. There is much to be learned from the way she saw the hand of Providence in all creation and all persons, trusting always that the future would unfold as it ought and that God’s plans were plans of prosperity and not harm.
As this new year continues, may we all strive to walk as she walked, to see as she saw. May we grow into a deeper appreciation of God’s good gifts to us and a more complete reliance on God’s Providence.