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The Total Eclipse of the Sun: A Celebration of Darkness

As I sat reflecting in a comfy chair, I found myself trying to rationalize my behavior prior to and during Monday’s total eclipse of the sun.

Sister Anne Therese Falkenstein (right) with Sisters of Providence employee Starla Murphy.

In preparation for the event, I purchased inexpensive items from the internet: A planetary bracelet, astronaut earrings, and a T-shirt depicting the solar system.

I also attended a planning session and learned about the path of the eclipse, the time that it could be seen, the best gathering place for it and where I could obtain safety glasses.

In other words, I was ready!

When the day of the eclipse finally arrived, I witnessed two of our Sisters, Corbin and Emily, and a Providence Associate, Diane, very early in the afternoon transporting Sisters to the gathering place via golf carts.

Others could be seen walking or driving amigos there. It was a genuine pilgrimage to the pasture!

Providence Associate and Sisters of Providence employee Diane Weidenbenner drives Sisters of Providence to the location of the eclipse viewing party.

I followed the crowd, took a few pictures and then drove to the cemetery where others positioned themselves for the great event.

The sun shone brightly, everyone waited patiently and I was antsy. Neither place was just right for me.

The crowd gathers

After a while, the heat was getting to me and I decided to go back indoors.

I kept thinking that the movement of the eclipse had to be more exciting than it seemed. After all, it was advertised everywhere.

There were even total eclipse hamburgers, cupcakes, donuts and pies!

Certainly, there was something more about the eclipse that for some reason I was not experiencing.

So, I went back outside to a more secluded part of the campus. In a brief period of time, darkness came and there was a fleeting chill in the air.

It was a special private moment of my soul and then it was over and I went home. As I contemplate the experience, I realize that it was a celebration of darkness, and thus, an extraordinary event.

It is a reminder to me that in all the elements of our lives whether they be good, bad, easy or difficult, God is with us and that all of life’s experiences make us the people we are today, and therefore, are worth celebrating.

In all things, Providence prevails!

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Sister Anne Therese Falkenstein

Sister Anne Therese Falkenstein

Sister Anne Therese Falkenstein has known the Sisters of Providence she was an infant and entered the Congregation in 1979. She served for many years as a professor at Providence University in Taichung, Taiwan. She currently ministers as a General Councilor for the Congregation.

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  1. Avatar Deb on April 11, 2024 at 7:46 am

    Oh yes. Thank you. The awesome moment for me was when the temperature cooled and dusk began to settle. The horses went to the barn, thinking night had come. It was a reminder of the awesomeness of Providence.

  2. Avatar Marilyn Schaaf Rausch on April 11, 2024 at 7:57 am

    Thank you for sharing your reflection Sister Anne Therese. Like you, I thought that I was prepared for the eclipse. We stayed at home with a perfect viewing spot on our back deck, avoiding the many celebrations that were conducted around us. There was a palpable change in the energy surrounding us as the temperature cooled and the light dimmed, even triggering the solar lanterns in the yard to turn on. There was a feeling of serenity and surrender. We could do nothing to cause, prevent, speed up or slow down what was happening. And suddenly, with all the chaos, noise, and confusion that is happening in our world, God aligned the heavens perfectly and the only response could be silent awe. Your reflection on the celebration of darkness rings true. In the darkness is silence, and in the silence is the voice of God,

  3. Avatar Paula Katherine Modaff on April 11, 2024 at 3:04 pm

    Thank you, Anne Therese, for this deeply personal reflection of your experience of the Eclipse. I also wanted to be relatively alone and silent during this extraordinary demonstration of the Holy. And you are so correct that all is worth celebrating, especially the gift of Providence always present and active in our lives.

  4. Avatar Mary J Gates on April 11, 2024 at 7:39 pm

    Thank you all for your thoughts. I too thought I was prepared but time kept creeping along. I picked the front yard but moved to the backyard with my dog. Time still was creeping along. I set my alarm for every 15 minutes and raked, pulled leaves – activities to make time speed up. But as it became darker and cooler and I think quieter, I could see the changes better and just a minute before totality, I felt the awesome power of God in the heavens and on the earth. I found “How Great Thou Art” on my phone sung by Carrie Underwood and played that into totality. Just my dog and I away from others celebrating the wonder and majesty of God. I have no words to explain those few moments but nothing has ever been so breathtaking in my life.

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