It is Pruning Time for us!

Sr . Marie Elizabeth's first time experience of thinning and pruning grapes.

Sr. Elizabeth and Sr. Marie Paul Therese cutting some false branches

What do you think? Can these grapes already reach full maturity?

Summer time in Belgium seems very short this year. We had had really warm sunny days in July but this month the weather is more like in autumn, not much sun and gets dark easily. We could not sit outside at the terrace during recreation like in the previous years.

On the other hand, it seems that the changing weather favors our grapes because they seem to be growing healthier. The novitiate spent time pruning them, cutting false branches and thinning, sacrificing some fruits which cluster so close to each other so that the others can grow bigger . We also sung to the grapes as we learned that it can help. Hopefully, we will be able to harvest from our little vineyard this year. Well, it is not the quantity that matters but the quality. Whether it will yield much or not, the time we spent there is worth it because it enabled us to contemplate our Vine-branch relationship with Our Lord, Who says: "I am the Vine and you are the branches. Remain in me and I in you. And we shall be one in love". That is also a hymn that we love to sing while taking care of the grapes.

Our little adventure last Sunday...

climbing the 121 steps to the belfry

Sr. Aloysia explaining how the fire extinguisher works

what could they be peeping through that small window?

who would ever think that we could touch with our bare hands the antique bronze bell that calls us to prayer several times a day?

This tiny room in the belfry was used before for recollection days

the manually-operated clock/bell of old

Last Sunday, we had a little adventure going up to our belfry, led by one of our Belgian Sisters, Sr Aloysia, our Jack- of- all- trade. It was to see the new metal bridge built above the ceiling of the basilica for easy repair and easy access for firemen in case of emergency. From there, we could get an overview of the city of Vilvoorde and of our monastery. We also took the opportunity to see our two antique bells at very close range plus the old one no longer in use.
Oh, what an extraordinary experience for our new Filipina Sisters. After climbing down the 121 steps in the narrow stairway, we had impression that we came from another world.