Friday, 24th June should have been a normal day. Sr Joan left the Center with her sister Bette to go different ways – Sr Joan to go on a pilgrimage to Assisi, the journey of a lifetime for someone who has lived the Franciscan way of life for much of her life.

Having left, the Center experienced a dreadful storm at 7.30 pm which caused winds of 120 mph. While the house is relatively undamaged – the assesors still have to determine that, we lost our garage with two trees falling on it, and also lost 90% of the trees on the property. We live on 57 acres of forest and swamp, so the forest is a significant part of our Center. In the winter it is bare apart from leefless trees, pine trees and snow, but in the summer it is a beautiful place – a home to animals and birds, and something beautiful to behold! The insects, mosquitoes and flies can carry you away, but it is a small price to pay for being surrounded by nature at its best. We had just marveled at the spring rains which together with the melting snow had filled our swamps and lake, bringing frogs back for the first time in several years. Then came the stright line wind which turned into a tornado.

None of us have been able to get home yet, but luckily our maintenance man John Freese and his team, together with friends and neighbors have gone in, and cleared the access track, checked the house which has been without power for nearly a week, and are now clearing trees. We are awaiting the assessors report of damage, but we already know that we will be without that magnificent view for many years to come. Someone optimistically promised a spectacular view of the lake in front of the house, so we can be greatful for small mercies!

I’m not praising the “Lord of wind and storms” for awhile! Photos are available here!