Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Grace-full place

Thought I'd share some more photos from the day I spent last month at Morning Star House of Prayer, a retreat house in southern New Jersey, near the Delaware River, run by two lovely retired nuns of the Religious Teachers Filippini order.

It rained heavily the night I was at Morning Star, and in the morning I was dazzled to see the trees' newly washed autumn leaves. I snapped dozens of photos; none of them capture the overall beauty of the grounds, but you can get an idea.

The red of this mystery shrub's berries reminded me of the burning bush in Exodus; it also made me think of G.K. Chesterton's description of chastity in "A Piece of Chalk":
Chastity does not mean abstention from sexual wrong; it means something flaming, like Joan of Arc. In a word, God paints in many colours; but he never paints so gorgeously, I had almost said so gaudily, as when He paints in white. In a sense our age has realised this fact, and expressed it in our sullen costume. For if it were really true that white was a blank and colourless thing, negative and non-committal, then white would be used instead of black and grey for the funereal dress of this pessimistic period. Which is not the case.

Of course, no nuns' retreat would be complete without statuary. One of my favorites was the one of Our Lady of Grace.