Benedict and Rita: Jersey Bound – Day 20

I can’t believe June is almost over!

I could be cruel and just throw a bunch of pictures your way and let you figure out the day’s itinerary.  Instead, I will only give a few clues.

In Buffalo, there is a Carmelite cloister wherein resides a friend of my wife from college.  This young woman, now known as Sr. Agnes Marie of the Eternal High Priest, has devoted her life to prayer, contemplation, and the community.  She is an exception in that her position within the convent allows for her to leave the cloister under certain circumstances.  Karla and I have taken advantage of this once or twice by simply showing up for mass.  True, it’s several hundred miles out of our way but we figure the mother superior won’t not allow Sr. Agnes to visit with someone who’s traveled that far.  If we announce ourselves ahead of time, however, she might.

Karla’s dear friend, Theresa, and Theresa’s husband Matt (and their seven children) had not made it to Sr. Agnes’ final vows a few years ago and so had been given explicit permission to come for a visit at a future date.  In a sense, we sort of latched onto their visit since they were going to be there with permission and Buffalo wasn’t that far out of our way on our return home.

Donuts were involved in our morning visit…

Took a lunch break and visited the National Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima twenty miles north.  Strange place.  Karla and I had been here once before and it’s just as strange today.  The gardens feature a heart-shaped reflecting pool surrounded by a larger-than-life rosary that lights up at night.  Also of note are the statues of just about every saint who was ever popular.

Side trip to the Falls (Niagara, like I had to clarify).  Only problem… Campbell doesn’t have a passport.  She and Karla stayed on the US side while I hitched over to the Canadian side with Theresa.  My purpose in going was to score some duty-free tobacco.  I don’t recall if that’s the reason I told the customs officer.  And the whole time we were there we completely forgot to snap a single picture of the actual falls!

Returning to the State of New York in the Land of the Free we went back to the convent where we were able to visit for several more hours in the gardens with Sr. Agnes.

Finally, we went back to our hotel where the kids swam in the pool, went to bed, and dreamed of happy things while Daddy hit the hotel bar.

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