“We come to share our stories. We come to share our lives. We come to share our memories of this holy place.”
So went the centering mantra that was used for the Leave-taking Prayer Service at Villa St. Joseph in Oconomowoc, WI, on Saturday, November 3.
Nearly 50 sisters made the drive down the road leading to the Villa, assuredly with mixed emotions, said SM Julie Weckwerth. “For it was a road traveled originally by orphans, children who were court referrals, day care attendees from the center in Milwaukee, followed later by sisters, priests, brothers and laypersons on retreats, family gatherings, vacations or for use by myriad pastoral groups.”
Before the service began, SM Carolita Turzinski set a succinct historical context for Villa St. Joseph, for example, how the sisters came to purchase the Manor and its extensive property.
Perhaps the heart of the prayer service was the sharing of memories, the sisters looking back on their most memorable experiences, and sharing either in dyads or with the group at large. The reading of The Prayer of the Woods (click here to view) was another way of recognizing the GIFT that this Villa has been with all its surrounding beauty.
SM Ellen Pollack and SM Beatrice Knipple will stay to accommodate the final guests, as well as the convent closure and a farewell blessing at St. Joan of Arc Parish on December 2.