Tessa Newton, Sisters of Bon Secours Program Manager of Fundraising (and former Sales & Marketing Manager for the Retreat & Conference Center), attended the sister’s blessing of trees around our labyrinth last week. She shares about this circle of life on today’s blog…
When you have 313 acres of mostly wooded land, it comes as no surprise when a tree or two needs to be cut down. We have regular site visits from a local tree company to inspect, prune, and advise on the needs of our trees. Routinely, trees are taken down and new ones planted, it comes with the nature of these beautiful grounds.
But recently, it was determined that 13 Chestnut Oak trees, mostly near the Labyrinth, need to be removed for safety reasons. While we know this is the natural cycle, losing so many trees at once was reason to pause and acknowledge the beautiful gifts these trees provided us over many decades – and maybe even a century.
Sisters and staff gathered for a Ritual of Gratitude for the trees. We stood in gratitude for the homes they created for countless animals, birds, and insects, the shade they provided to those walking the Labyrinth, and the symbiotic relationship with the other trees, plants, and flowers nearby. We blessed the trees and reminded ourselves that everything in nature is created by God’s love and tenderness
Included in our ceremony was the planting of a seedling that sprouted from one of the older Chestnut Oaks. Now in a small pot, it will be nurtured until the time is right to plant it in the soil. We look forward to the years ahead when this small volunteer tree provides shade for us, yet again.
We bless you, our Chestnut Oaks, as you have blessed us all these years.
Over your lifetime you sought the waters deep in the Earth,
Your reach stretched across our land,
Your branches reached into the skies.
You have seen many seasons,
And in those days,
You taught us of the cycles in our lives:
Birth, Growth, Bloom, Decline, Dormancy.
We call to your spirit in thanks,
We call to your spirit in wonder,
We call to your spirits in peace.
We honor you and give thanks for the gift of your life this day.