Thursday, May 27, 2010

Congregation of Mother Co-Redemptrix


 The first Station of the Cross in the Peace Garden at Congregation of Mother Co-Redemptrix.

This morning had a feel of “before DH retired” about it. After a restless night due to sticky humidity, DH hit the floor early so he could visit Lowe’s to gather supplies for a trip to his elderly parents’ farm in Kansas tomorrow. I begged out since I had seen plenty of Lowes during the bathroom renovation! But dear DH’s truck had not hit the corner stop sign before I had my bike out for a ride. I did not rack up a lot of miles or callous up my bottom with this one ride, but hopefully, it was a start on a good summer habit.

I would love living near the Katy Trail as I love riding on a stretch of road like that path. I am getting a little old to fight off dogs and dodge cars as swiftly as I once did. However, OLO (I still think of this property as Our Lady of the Ozarks, which is how I heard it referenced when I first moved here.)is only a few blocks away. I am content to ride its circles and oval drives over and over again to avoid traffic. The Vietnamese that now own the property are generous to walkers and riders. I hope they never close off the grounds to the rest of us in the community.

These grounds are only a few acres, most of a city block and have a history that started in 1924 when the Methodists built what was to be named Ozark Wesleyan College. However, the Depression hit and the college suffered closing its doors in 1933. Then near the end of WWII in 1944, the Catholic Oblates of Mary Immaculate bought the land and buildings to be used as a minor seminary. For about a quarter of a century, the priests ran a print shop and college classes here before closing in 1971. We moved here in 1972 and found it sad that such a gorgeous set of buildings and chapel constructed of native stone stood empty.

Then in 1975 when the boat people of Vietnam were being settled all over the United States, what was left of a small seminary of Vietnamese priests bought the complex and renamed it Congregation of the Mother Co-Redemptrix. Over the years they have added a retirement home for aging priests, bought additional land making a drive through Stations of the Cross, and poured a few miles of concrete streets and paths through the property. At Christmas they erect a drive through Night Light Display and once a year in August they host a gathering of about 40,000 Vietnamese from all over the country to pray in Thanksgiving for their deliverance to America. It is like a gigantic family reunion for some of the families who plan all year so they can attend this event.

Riding around the oval on the northern set of roads, there is no shade. This morning this area was very hot already even though it was early. Going into the southern piece of property is like riding your bike into a lovely private park. The huge oaks, walnuts, and maples provide a great deal of shade. The heavy fragrance of honeysuckle hangs in the air. The Vietnamese have set up the Stations of the Cross in white marble which glisten in the sunshine. A small water fall, gold fish pond, and flower garden surround a huge cross jutting out of mounded boulders and rocks reminding visitors of Calvary. This morning I saw they had added two new angels--beautiful statues. A light meditative music of piano and flute float throughout, although the bird song and squirrel chatter are music enough. This morning I saw a Cooper’s hawk fly into the tree tops, and I have seen deer when I have ridden here before. However, with houses building up around the grounds, I fear the deer days are numbered.

I hope I can repeat this ride soon and often this summer!


irishoma said...

Hi Claudia,
What a beautiful photo essay. Thank you for sharing your lovely day with us.
God bless,

BECKY said...

Claudia, I wasn't aware of most of this. How beautiful it all is, and thanks for all the info. I DO live near the Katy Trail, and I really should get a bike. I would enjoy doing that....whenever I could find the time!!

Jenny said...

What a fascinating post! I saw you on Becky's blog with a question on the Saturday Centus meme. If you choose to participate (which would be fun!) after you hit publish, you click on the title of your post. That will change the URL displayed at the top of your page. Then you copy and paste that into the linky on my blog.

And n ow, you are probably totally confused!

If you want to participate and need some assistance I would be more than happy to help you out!

Happy Memorial Day!