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August 2, 2013
Every morning here at Adelynrood, those in residence gather on the broad porches of the old house and greet the day by saying together St. Francis' beautiful hymn to creation. It praises god through Brother Sun, Sister Moon, through the earth, the elements, through kind people, all called Brother or Sister -- even our Sister Death, who appears matter-of-factly, with gentle appreciation.

I slip a shirt over my pajamas and join five other women in the chapel sacristy for the hymn. Back and forth we go through the verses, our voices quiet in the early morning -- these are the first words we have spoken today. A lifetime with this hymn and it has not gotten old for me. It never fails to remind me how completely gifted we are -- we created none of what we have here, and we enjoy all of it. The sun rises every day, and we don't even have to put a nickel in. It looks toward death as I do, as the gentle usher into another life. It is all enough.

The Canticle of the Sun

Most high, all powerful, all good Lord! All praise is yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing. To you, alone, Most High, do they belong. No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce your name.

Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures, especially through my lord Brother Sun, who brings the day; and you give light through him. And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor! Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.

Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars; in the heavens you have made them, precious and beautiful.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air, and clouds and storms, and all the weather, through which you give your creatures sustenance.

Be praised, My Lord, through Sister Water; she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire, through whom you brighten the night. He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong.

Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth, who feeds us and rules us, and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.

Be praised, my Lord, through those who forgive for love of you; through those who endure sickness and trial. Happy those who endure in peace, for by you, Most High, they will be crowned.

Be praised, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death, from whose embrace no living person can escape. Woe to those who die in mortal sin! Happy those she finds doing your most holy will. The second death can do no harm to them.

Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks, and serve him with great humility.

-- Francis of Assisi

Want to see this lovely and prayerful place? Visit
I am leading a retreat on forgiveness. The next one will be held at another lovely place, the Community of St John Baptist in Mendham, NJ,, the
weekend of September 27.
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