Kentucky Ice

    I know this is a looooong time coming! You know…life in a monastery is not a constant leisurely stroll in the cloister.

We keep busy around here!  🙂

Busy for the Kingdom!

    Dear Lord, have mercy on us! The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. We accept good things from the Lord and should we not accept evil?

Our once beautiful big pine bowed low with ice

    I had a bad head cold and was spending that fateful day tucked away in my cell…The above prayer is what I wrote in my journal as through the evening and night of Tuesday, January 27 I (and many others in the tri-state area) heard tremendous popping and crashing sounds. This was the sound of trees, tops of trees and very large branches completely covered in ice, breaking and crashing to the ground in the woods surrounding our monastery.

What a mess! and the walking trails are impassable

By the time these photos were taken much of the ice had melted

    The next day brought a devastating beauty as everything was covered with 1 1/2 inches of ice and we began a 5 day odyssey of no electricity. By the way, today is day 18 for many people in our area still without power. Thankfully we have had mild temperatures these past couple of weeks which helped warm up the homes of those who have roughed it out without a generator.

Can you see tops of trees are gone, some trees broke right in half

     We are very blessed to have a generator that kept one refrigerator and freezer running plus the treatment plant. Some electrical outlets worked and we made good use of our flashlights. We have gas stoves and ovens so we had hot water and hot food – what a blessing those 2 things are!  But we had no heat! How very, very blessed we were that our chaplain Fr. Ray Clark and Msgr. Powers came to stay in our guest quarters, which, considering there are no outside walls in this area, is the warmest place in the monastery. We had 2 priests and daily Mass!  We converted our parlors into a cozy chapel, for as you can imagine, with all those stained glass windows in the main chapel, it was freezing in there!

Sr. Mary Veronica and Shannon return from walking to our chaplain’s house to invite him to stay in our guest quarters…couldn’t make contact through his cell phone

    We had trouble making contact with the outside world for the first days as landline phones and cell phones weren’t working too well.  In fact, that coming weekend we were to have a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat in our Guest House. We thought surely others realize what we are going through and will know it is cancelled but, low and behold, when we finally were able to get through to Fr. Ben Cameron, CPM at his Generalate (The Father’s of Mercy) which is about and 1 1/2 hours from here, had know idea what was going on here and was still planning the retreat!  (By the way, we thank the Lord it was rescheduled and will end on Divine Mercy Sunday!) It was kind of freaky how all was well in that area. Dear Fathers of Mercy, God reward you for your prayers! Also, Nashville fared very well and so one of the Rachel’s Vineyard team members from there (Phil Trevathon) showed up! He graciously left us his bottled water, vitamin drinks and granola bars. God bless you Phil!

Recreating during the meals – by candlelight!

   On Wednesday we received a call from a friend that there had been a break in the water line and that the Whitesville waterworks was turning off the water! Well, we began to fill every container and bucket we could find with water for we did not know how long this was going to be for. It turns out the anticipation was worse than the actual fact. We were only without water for a couple hours in the afternoon! 

    It was interesting to see the various coordinations of clothing each Sister put together to stay warm. I personally was up to 7 layers of clothing by the final day! Mother lifted the fast and the abstinence from meat and we took our recreations during our meal time (meaning we talked while we ate). We joked that we were “fasting from heat”!  We even had and AME (After-Meal-Entertainment) one evening, by candlelight of course, which drew belly-aching laughter.

Liza and Henry try to mend the bucket!

        These days certainly spoke to us about living without computers, light, heat, outside contacts (we didn’t have mail until the next week!) survival and dependence on Divine Providence.

     This was just an amazing and unforgettable experience. Yet, we were sobered in recalling that many poor people and homeless people live like this in a daily basis. We also thought much about those persons who live in hurricane areas (many of you!) and how this was somewhat similar to that.


Wow, do we have a lot of clean up to do now


Jesus, have mercy on us!

Jesus we trust in you!

Jesus, we offer these inconveniences to you for many intentions, especially for an end to abortion and for respect for all persons, the disabled, the elderly, the immigrant, etc.

 Special thanks to St. Joseph’s men…

  •  Jim Cecil – who checked in on us sometimes twice daily to see if we needed anything (batteries!)
  • Steve Mills – our groundskeeper who was without power for almost 2 weeks!
  • Tony Lanham – for kindly helping us keep our generator filled with diesel fuel
  • And those others whom I am momentarily forgetting!



13 thoughts on “Kentucky Ice

  1. Yes, I think it was something of a horrifically beautiful experience! We were fortunate in that we took off to Nashville before the worst of the ice hit and we stayed in a hotel room for several days until our power was returned. We did lose our little bird Snowball and that was sad, but all in all we fared very well compared to most people (including you sisters)! Considering what our yard looked like, I can only imagine what your cleanup job must be like. Wow. So much work to do. I will keep you all in prayer. I was thankful that we had some nighttime wind a few days ago that (hopefully) knocked some of the broken branches that still remained in the treetops. Pray for more wind! It is surely very dangerous in the woods. Be careful!!! Love your story. I will share it with others. My out of state friends still don’t have a clue as to just how horrific this whole thing was. But we Kentuckians have a fighting spirit, right????? (And you transplants do, too.) 🙂 Many blessings to all of you. Thanks for sharing this. It’s a time that will live in infamy!!!

  2. Great comment Lisa! Thanks. And thanks for posting us on your blog – You’re a gem! (scroll down to February 15, 2009)

    Yes, the woods are off-limits right now for us Nuns as having a limb the size of a small tree fall 20 -30 ft and hit someone would cause serious damage. We are not looking to have any funerals due to that!

    Pax and prayers to all still without electricity…

  3. Hey, you need to contact FEMA, or maybe your county emergency management office, because FEMA has promised to help with cleanup. My understanding is, if you can get the brush hauled to the edge of any county road, they will pick it up. You ladies might be better off tossing it into a pile somewhere because it makes great habitat for birds. I hope you can get the help you will need. Would love to come help out! I could only supervise, though. If you need a superviser, I volunteer! haha Thanks for the link!

  4. Thanks Lisa for the “heads up”.

    Also, I wanted to say that if anyone else would like to share their “Ice Adventures” just leave a comment here; our readers would be interested.

    God bless you and Mary keep you close

  5. Pingback: Nuns in Kentucky Ice | The Anchoress

  6. Continuing prayer for you during this trying weather. God blesses us in both adversity and plenty by granting us the privilege of “offering up” our sufferings with Christ of the Passion.

    God bless you, dear Sisters!

  7. Sister – Glad to see you and the other Sisters made it through okay!

    In the line of “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade”, if you have any hardwoods on your property, the Lord just gave you next year’s supply of firewood. 😎

    God bless and keep all of you!

  8. Wow, sisters! That really was quite the storm. Deo gratias you all stayed safe and well-taken-care-of.

    Those pictures of icicles dripping from Our Lord’s wounded head are breathtaking! Especially the last one. Thank you for sharing them!

  9. Dear sisters I was wondering how you all fared. We were spared the worst where I live (Bowling Green), but people around us were not so lucky. Lots of people came here to buy generators, lanterns, candles and such, and some stayed in the motels for a few days. We had large crowds of refugees at Mass the Sunday after the ice storm.

    I’m happy to see you are all O.K.

  10. It seems that the gratuitous inconvenience ice/snow storms gives us is somewhat made up for when looking at the white, luminous landscape.
    As if the storm knows somehow the damage it caused and wants to appease the situation!
    I am very happy to see you happy though. I live in Dayton, Ohio and we had a horrible windstorm last September, some people being without power for more than a week. Our little village of Yellow Springs became a place of comfort, understanding, and cooperation. It seems, (judging only from your pictures!) that this happened to you as well. All of you seemed to have been having loads of fun, admidst the hardship. It is amazing how crises pulls us together. It is kind of beautiful in its tradgedy.

  11. Dear Sister,

    I love to viist your website and watch the video of the Professions. It is the best!! The sisters truly are doing wonderful for so many young people will be able to view it online.

    Is there a book about your foundress that you could suggest? I would love to read one………if so, where can I get a copy?

    Many blessings on your Holy Week & Easter!
    Prayerfully JoAnn

    Dear JoAnn, Greetings during this Sacred Week! You can obtain a booklet of the spirituality of Mother Mary Crucified of Jesus called Put Your Feet Where I Put Mine from

    The Passionist Nuns
    1151 Donaldson Highway
    Erlanger KY 41018-1000

    Mother Mary Crucified was founding Superior of the first Passionist Nuns Monastery – hand-picked by our Founder St. Paul of the Cross. You can find more information on our Founder at

    May the Passion of Christ be ever in our hearts!

  12. Pingback: The Anchoress — A First Things Blog

  13. Pingback: Heaven-Stormers Unafraid of Storm Sandy!


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