During the course of this year, 150 trees have been planted on the Villa de Matel property in honor of the Congregation’s 150th Anniversary.
Then, on October 4, 2016, Sisters Elizabeth Ann Hayes, Rachel O’Keeffe, Miriam Therese Miller, Brenda Prejean, Villa de Matel Director of Facilities Services, and Peter Selever, Supervisor Maintenance; with great care and love planted the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word 150th Anniversary Live Oak Tree.
On Sunday, November 20th, 2016, the afternoon before the meetings for the Assembly began, and when many Sisters were at the Villa de Matel, it was officially blessed by Sister Kevina Keating, Congregational Leader.
Blessing of the Sesquicentennial Tree: Jesus, Word Incarnate, bless this tree which will remind us of the growth and graces of these 150 years. May it blossom anew, grow strong and beautiful in our midst. Raising its branches in praise of you, may it offer shade and respite to all forms of created life. Just as the earth is renewed and sustained with each new planting, may our life in you be renewed on this our sesquicentennial year and may we be a blessing to the multitudes of sick and infirm of every kind who seek relief at our hands.
Let this tree grow and flourish even as you fill us with new and abundant life. We ask this in your Holy name, You who live and reign with the Father and Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.
Why are trees so important? We have known for a long time that they are the “lungs” of the world; they help remove the carbon dioxide from our polluted air, and they provide shade which helps off set the very hot days in many parts of the world. They are soothing by their nature and thus help us humans to relax in their shade. Fr. Fames McKarns in the booklet: Living With Christ in Today’s Good News, on September 7, 2016, shared a beautiful reflection: “Trees are inspiring. Like church steeples, they lift our vision to the heavens, where we can spend some time in prayer and meditation as we ponder the hidden mysteries of life….” Joyce Kilmer’s famous poem, “Trees” is worth quoting in its entirety here:
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth’s fl owing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lift s her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
In his reflection, Fr. McKarns continues: “Trees often found their way into Jesus’ parables and other discourses. He used the fig, olive, cedar, and palm trees to teach people to be productive and to live together in peace. Trees teach me how to endure the storms of life by bending, but not breaking. Today, notice the trees around your home or workplace, and then lift your human limbs to pray.”
Let us take time today to ponder God’s wonderful gift of creation as it is shared with us so graciously by a tree.