How Lent Looks at The Woods
By: Andrea Beyke
The Church all over the world marked the beginning of Lent this week with Ash Wednesday, and it was no different here at The Woods…indoors, at least. The word “Lent” comes from an Old English word in the 13th Century that means “spring” or “springtime.” In this way, it looks nothing like Lent here…outdoors.
Photo Credit: Sisters of Providence
Yesterday, some students and the campus minister gathered for a faith-sharing group during dinner. The planned activity was to pray the labyrinth. Upon waking up on Thursday morning, this was the feared outcome…
Needless to say, we decided to try finger labyrinths and paper labyrinths instead. Therefore, we were able to stay indoors and warm, and we were also able to write on the paper labyrinths the baggage we wanted to drop on the way toward the center and then write the virtues we wanted to pick up on the way back into the world with God. This exercise was just as effective, if not more so.
With this amended group sharing, I discovered how Lent looks on the inside of The Woods. Lent looks like a pilgrim journey, bending and curving around the obstacles. Lent is naming the obstacles and what we can do to remove them. Lent is finding and following the path that makes us our best selves. This is exactly what’s happening here.
On Ash Wednesday, the student body gathered with some Sisters of Providence for prayer and to receive ashes. The beautiful service, led by Sister Jan Craven, SP, brought students together: Catholic and non-Catholic alike. One student posted later Wednesday evening, “Even though I myself am not Catholic, I am very thankful for all the opportunities I have at St. Mary's to learn and participate! Tonight I attended my first Ash Wednesday service and I gained a new perspective on what it and Lent itself are all about thanks to Sister Jan. Never miss an opportunity to broaden your perspective and have new experiences.”
Snow on the ground, grey days, frigid temperatures, and slippery sidewalks have nothing on us here at The Woods! I’m reminded of the old saying, “When it is dark outside, the light that makes the stained glass window beautiful comes from the inside.” Lent may have a snowy beginning per the natural world, but from where I stand, the warmth within the walls carries us through this journey. Before we know it, the outside will follow suit, bringing spring, and the growth that we experience on the inside will manifest itself.
So, how does Lent look at The Woods? Like this…
Photo Credit: Sydney Wilderman
"So let us be marked not for sorrow. And let us be marked not for shame. Let us be marked not for false humility or for thinking we are less than we are but for claiming what God can do within the dust, within the dirt, within the stuff of which the world is made, and the stars that blaze in our bones, and the galaxies that spiral inside the smudge we bear." Jan Richardson