SAINT OLGA

SAINT OLGA
MY GREAT GRANDMOTHER, SAINT OLGA, PATRON SAINT OF CONVERTS

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

SHUFFLING TOWARD THE LORD

Traffic outside the apartment complex


Put yourself in my position. I am inside my tiny apartment, trying to lift my heart to the Lord. Right outside the window on the back side of my apartment, painters who will be here for MONTHS having been running a gasoline-powered paint sprayer for the last 3 and 1/2 hours.

In the front of the apartment, in the parking lot, the "landscapers" (and I use that term loosely because they do not seem to know much, if anything about plants and especially how to trim them) are using gasoline-powered leaf blowers to move piles of dead leaves hitter and yon. They're also sandblasting any car that has the misfortune to be parked out there. Thanks be to God, I have a garage.

Where I would LIKE to live.


On the street right outside the apartment, there are several giant road machines, working furiously at smashing the sidewalks and lifting great chunks onto a truck that will haul them away. This project will be in progress for the next 30 weeks. First, they destroy what we HAD (including lovely trees in the median that they just ripped out of the ground and stuffed them into an enormous wood chipper), then they place temporary road surfaces, then they take those out when they're ready to install new types of medians for the new buses which will operate down the middle of the street. OTHER business, with more frequent stops, will still travel on the two remaining traffic lanes. This is a very small city...almost still a town.

My understanding is that the mayor owns stock in one company that is working the project, and his wife's family owns the OTHER company that is working the project.  When residents wonder why on earth we are getting this enormous and unwieldy BIG CITY project in our little town, all we have to do is follow the money.

At the same time that the roads are being ripped up in preparation for a transit system we do not need, the property next door to the apartment complex is LIKEWISE being prepared for the installation of a BREW PUB.  A brew pub.

When I moved here, it was a quiet place to live, placed in a natural setting. My health was also twice as good as it is now.




Now, however, my environment is a nightmare of noise and choking dust during the day, and heavy rap music, motorcycle races and dance music from the country club across the golf course that is on the other side of the ditch from our apartments. I can't get away from it, no matter WHERE I am in the apartment. This is how I can expect it to be for at least another 30 weeks.

While I agree with contemplative and mystic Catherine Doherty that small deserts of silence may be found in all walks of life and that one does not HAVE to live in an actual hermitage to experience communion with the Lord in the desert, there are limits to what I am personally able to shut out of my brain. Consequently, the project of finding a small house to continue my ministries is really heating up.



Since affordable housing is limited to the dangerous fringes of town, nowhere near my church or my friends who are helping me, I have to revamp my approach and just forget trying to find something reasonable in price. Based upon the common rents in the neighborhood in which I need to live, I will have to pay more than half my rent to find a suitable, safe place to live that addresses my lifestyle and my increasingly worrisome health. Since my income is so very low, paying half of it will be a crushing burden, but I have no choice.

Thanks to a couple of friends and well-wishers, I have paid off some oppressive bills. I will also try to sell some of my paintings and my crocheted items. All this is done in preparation for relocating.


All modern ideas about hermits aside, the hermit is typically pictured close to nature. He or she has a residence of some sort, usually very simple and poor, with a good deal of natural setting available to the hermit so that the voice of the Lord may more easily be heard. Contemplatives, in general, are often drawn to more natural environments, not because it is more lovely but because it is more CONDUCIVE to the life of prayer. Unfortunately, the simple, the serene and the natural have become the EXPENSIVE.

I am disabled and becoming more so. I will need access to medical doctors, etc. Some day, I will be blind. Also, I would like to be able to attend church one day, as I have been prevented from doing so for quite some time, due to lack of suitable seating and the distance between the hermitage and the church. Being of poor health puts a big dent in the contemplative life. This is why convents and monasteries do not accept sick people.

Only the monied class can afford to have personal daily access to wide expanses of natural environments. This points back to the era in Europe in which noblemen owned all the land and serfs were essentially slaves on the master's land. Europeans originally came to America because, supposedly, the land was up for grabs. No one "owned" it, which is a debatable point, since the Native Americans have their own view on this. People for whom land ownership was previously impossible suddenly became owners of vast tracts of land.

We have now reverted to the exact same situation we were attempting to escape when we left Europe a few hundred years ago. Since there is no land that is not owned, and permission of someone else is required to live just about ANYWHERE, this has put a big dent in the hermit lifestyle!  Now, if I lived in Austria, there is a town that is advertising for a hermit, and I could live there, but even that hermitage exacts a price:


There is no running water and no electricity. The town has requirements of the hermit, for instance that he does not install any modern amenities and also that he be available to anyone who wants to visit him. It sounds like a job verging on slavery to me, and not in the spirit of the hermit at all. The hermit is independent, most of all, relying upon the voice and guidance of the Lord.

For the last 3 years or so, I have been trying to find a suitable place to live, with very little luck. Most of the rentals that are available in this town are in the grip of corporate management companies, and these sort of companies tend to treat renters as interlopers, even when they DO pay the rent. The corporate model is soulless and certainly does not comprehend or support the monastic lifestyle.

I do not have the funds to PURCHASE property, obviously.

Because this is such a difficult search, limited by very low income and other factors, I ask that you please pray for me, that I may find a house that will address my needs: spiritual, medical, and emotional; one that has a washer/dryer on the premises, since I am unable to cart my laundry to another location; and one that has, at least, a small patch of fenced land for the small service dog. Please pray hard, my friends.




God bless you all.

Silver Rose

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