Volume 8.13 | July 13, 2020
In this Issue:

New Additions to Motherhouse Grounds

Canticle Farm and COVID-19

Communion Service at St. Anthony's Hospital Convent

House of Prayer for All People

New Additions to the Motherhouse Grounds
The Motherhouse Sisters have been enjoying the new gazebos and the remodeled Memory Garden during these hot July days. A pergola was built over the Memory Garden so that the Sisters in the St. Francis Community will enjoy the outside without the hot sun directly shining on them. New chairs and umbrellas have been added, as well as being surrounded by a variety of flowers. It didn’t take long for the birds to find a safe place for a nest to begin a new family. The Sisters daily check on the status of the nest and the new life soon to come!

The newest (larger) gazebo is being well used by the Sisters in the St. Clare Community. Supper was enjoyed outdoors on the 4 th of July! This gazebo is more easily accessible for many of the other Sisters, also, who find long distance walking to the front gazebo a challenge.

These two newest additions were possible through the generosity of Ellenanne Caldwell Oszewlski (RIP) in memory of her sister Rosemary (Sr. Anne Caldwell, OSF). Both are enjoying their heavenly reward! How blessed are we because of Ellenanne’s generosity!

The first gazebo built three years ago continues to offer a beautiful view of the “Enchanted Mountains” of Allegany! Needless to say, though we remain in “lockdown”, we make the best of it all!
Canticle Farm and COVID-19
By: Melissa Scholl OSF, Canticle Farm President
To say that this year has been out of the ordinary is a major understatement. Grants and donations funded updating of the farm, which began during the winter and continued this spring. The updated Wash Station, an additional High Tunnel, and the rebuilt Greenhouse are almost completed. Additional grants and donations, contributed to 31 shares of produce that Canticle Farm is now distributing to 7 assorted food pantries, hot meal programs, and supportive living programs in the Twin Tiers for the 17-week summer season. This was all in process and development before the end of February when this tiny region of the world became aware of the potential onslaught of COVID-19.

Canticle Farm Staff immediately prepared and began protecting Market guests in early March by wearing masks made by Sr. Eva, using hand and surface sanitizers, and promoting social distancing in our winter Market. It was all hands-on-deck (four staff members) from 12 – 6 p.m. for the Tuesday Markets. I was the 5th member of the crew for the first week until the staff told me that I was appreciated but not wanted due to the risk I might be to the Sisters at the Motherhouse. Their generous dis-inviting was quite humbling.  In the snow, rain, and mud, the volunteers took care of the rapidly instituted drive up, beep, and order curbside service.  The Market guests joined the Canticle Farm crew in following all the state mandated precautions which most likely will continue for quite a while.

Fresh, safe, naturally grown produce became essential to many who were doing their best to keep families and themselves healthy. Canticle Farm’s concern and consideration for their safety during this time was greatly appreciated and was expressed on the op-ed page of the newspaper and the gracious thank you as guests left with their purchases.

The Farm, now in full summer mode, includes 12 farmers, four St. Bonaventure interns and two volunteers. High tunnels that in April were filled with spring greens now nurture tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and more. The fields are nearing capacity with produce for the summer offerings. Fall planting will begin at the end of July. Planting, harvesting and the perpetual weeding is keeping everyone very busy, well-tanned, and fully appreciating the joy of watching their labor bear food for so many of their neighbors and families.

Safe and fresh Canticle Farm produce continues to be in demand. The Canticle Farm Summer Market is now open to the public on Tuesdays and Fridays at Canticle Farm, and on Saturdays at the REAP Farmers’ Market in Olean. The CSA is in full swing with 2 pick-up days a week. Masks, hand sanitizer, and social distancing continue to be the new normal everywhere.

I am privileged to work with and for such people as we find in our surrounding communities who, right now, right here, are God’s hands, eyes and heart in the Allegany hills.
Communion Service at St. Anthony’s Hospital Convent in St. Petersburg, Florida
By: Margaret Mary Foley OSF
As the Churches closed due to COVID-19, we began to have Communion Services in our convent chapel as a local community. Every Sunday at 11:30 a.m. we (sisters Marita Flynn, Jeanne Williams, Mary McNally and Margaret Foley) meet for an enriching Communion Service. We have prayer, music, take turns reading the scriptures for the day, and have faith sharing. Then we share Eucharist with each other, which gives us inspiration to live out our Franciscan Sisters of Allegany mission.
House of Prayer for All People - July 2020 Update
By: Kathie Uhler OSF
It has been a long 15-year journey for yours truly. I felt the call of God to establish a House of Prayer (HoP) for all faiths and spiritualities in the 2000s while I was serving among the Palestinian Muslims in Hebron with Christian Peacemaker Teams. In the fall of 2014, I began rehabbing a home in Jericho that a friend donated for the HoP. This work came to an abrupt end when the Israeli Government gratuitously denied me reentry into Israel/Palestine for five years. This occurred at the Jordanian Border. I had just met a newly arrived HoP Core Member at the Amman Airport. To make matters worse, she, who had just flown in all the way from Dubuque, Iowa, received the same ban simply because she was with me.

Back in my long-time base community, St. Anthony’s Convent in Soho, NYC, I continued to search for the “location, location, location,” as they say. In 2017, for example, I toured through the ideally diverse neighborhoods of Brooklyn, but the rents were too high. Around that time I learned that an underused synagogue in the City was signed over to a church; and I took courage from that. Yet nothing turned up - until it did. Fast forward to the fall of 2019: A life-long friend contacted me to say that she thought her pastor might be interested in housing the HoP on church property. I contacted Fr. Stephen Moore, pastor of Trinity Episcopal Church in Gulph Mills, PA. Fr. Stephen was most welcoming and expressed a great appreciation for the mission of the HoP.

The next several months into 2020 included Fr. Stephen and I submitting a proposal to the Episcopal Diocese for a grant of $30,000 to remodel the building for the HoP. We were denied that grant, however, in late May. So we proceeded with Plan B.

Following the contractor’s more recent estimate, the remodeling will cost some $50,000. Thus Plan B consists in:
  • Grants already secured from these sources: $10,000 from Trinity Church; $10,000 from the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, NY (my religious congregation); and $10,000 from an anonymous donor.
  • The remaining $20,000 will come, hopefully, from fund raising efforts by the HoP Board, grants and Friends and Supporters of the HoP.

As I mentioned, I have believed from the start that the HoP is of God. I am merely an instrument for world peace and reconciliation in this particular manner. I plan to reside at the HoP permanently, and there is room for one other Core Member. A third Core Member may also commute from the vicinity to form part of the HoP community. Additionally, Fr. Stephen and I are looking for places nearby where male Core Members could board. Please find the full description of the HoP and Core Membership in the attached Project Statement .

I owe a debt of gratitude to each of you. Over the years, your sustained interest, promise of prayer, suggestions, donations of time and resources. Above all, I am grateful for the childlike belief in the beauty and vision of the HoP project – all this has meant so much to me and kept me going.

May we continue our efforts:
  • Please consider becoming a Core Member and/or encouraging others to do so and live at the HoP, as described in the Project Statement.
  • Please continue to send your comments and suggestions for the HoP life and ministry.
  • Financial contributions are always welcome, payable to: “House of Prayer.” The HoP, a New York State not-for-profit corporation, has filed for IRS tax exempt status.

As ever, let me hear from you!