Chilling with the Raccoons, the Moon and a Dear Friend

By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

My first bonfire of the season was spectacularly attended by … me.

Well, okay, there were a few racoons too, but no other Sisters.

They often come out when they see it reflecting in the window of the dining room, just off our patio. We laugh and enjoy each other’s company.

This evening, however, was quiet and contemplative. The moon was spectacular, and the fire blazed merrily. I loved it … mostly.

But it was my first year without Sister Cabrini, one of my wisdom-mother figures here. She died quite suddenly last fall. While it was perfect for her, it was sure hard on me.

Sister Cabrini rarely joined us at the fire, but she always rapped on the window of the chapel overhead when she saw us. She would be ending her Eucharistic Adoration and, walking past the row of windows, see us gathered around the fire. She would rap and wave. I was acutely aware of her absence.

I listened to the young crickets, felt the breeze, celebrated the big, beautiful moon and realized: Sister Cabrini was here with me now. What a healing moment that was for me.

Since that first night, many Sisters have come out for our weekend fires. And each night, I believe we’ve been joined by our wise elder.

I’ve ended each bonfire night feeling great peace. In fact, “peace” was how Sister Cabrini signed every note she ever wrote to me. Peace to you.

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