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Friday, February 20, 2015

Letters from Mother Katherine

For some months or longer, I have been corresponding with Mother Katherine of Zoar Farm, located in Otego, New York. Mother Katherine works and lives in a monastic community for women of the Orthodox Church in America.

But what brought us together is our love of sheep, and shepherding them. This is her in this image, which is on a card she sends often wen she writes.

And in many other ways, she shepherds me in our now frequent correspondences. This is the part of the internet that is glorious, open hearted and can inspire and teach.

Mother Katherine and I are currently having an ongoing discussion about taking sheep cross narrow foot paths and roads, and how they might perceive darker shades of ground differently than we do, they might perceive a drop off when there is none, for example. The farm also has two guard dogs-Great Pyrs- and we have shared discussion on that and she has given me a couple ideas about my White Dogs .My post this week on boundaries sparked some interest, but it led me back to her site where I read an essay by one of the other Sisters on boundaries.

When I get an envelope from Mother Katherine, I am touched to see a couple of $5 dollar bills tucked in, sent with a simple, "Mother K". The humble offering of a shepherdess to another shepherdess. Such was the case this week. Mother Katherine is guardian to her working flock, but is also caretaker to many elderly sheep there. We have many back and forth stories with one another about the heart break, hard work-but good work- of caring or these elders.

My father was a letter writer and into his last years in his eighties, had letter writing friends all over the world. That was back when a stamp was your app. I love getting mail, infrequent as it is, but I also love corresponding in genuine ways like this with people like Mother Katherine.