Dear Friends of St. Anne's Shrine,
In recent weeks I have been thinking of the cycle of life from its beginning to its natural end noting how it repeats itself from year to year and how it plays out in our daily lives. From the time we celebrated the birth of Christ as light of the world the days have gradually become longer since the winter solstice. Although we are in the middle of winter with artic air and frequent snow, the promise of new life is inviting us forward into spring. Nature’s cycle of life and death mirrors our own in many ways. During this time of a lethal pandemic, reflecting on the fragility of life is necessary to appreciate the gift that life truly is.
Our liturgical seasons reflect the mysterious cycle of life journeying towards death being transformed in the hope of rebirth. Lent is a guiding season to frame our journey. Each year we hear the story of Jesus entering the desert to die to self so he can be life to many. He is energized and motivated by God’s presence to leave the desert fortified with courage and conviction in his mission to preach the kingdom of God. His forty days in the desert can model for us what we can do in Lent. We too can enter a special time of prayer and preparation for what is to come and do so with hope.
Like all families, communities and institutions, the Shrine has been dramatically impacted by COVID-19. All our planned retreats have been canceled and the Shrine is desolate without women and men of all ages experiencing a time away to pray and rest. Yet at the same time our maintenance staff is busy addressing items of deferred maintenance in old structures and fixing things that break under normal wear and tear. We are hopeful that as more people are vaccinated the Shrine will once again come to life welcoming retreatants and pilgrims in the early Spring during the Easter season.
This Lent please consider making a gift to help us sustain our operations during this dormant time of the pandemic. The preparations and repairs we are making to our buildings and grounds will ensure that we will open with zeal offering our customary Edmundite hospitality. Your financial assistance helps us conduct this ministry. We simply cannot do it without your help.
Please submit your petitions so that we can remember your intentions. Thank you for your support and please be assured of our prayers during these holy seasons.
Rev. Brian J. Cummings, S.S.E.