Quondam's 28th Year       Stephen Lauf


Sitting in my car while JP's food shopping at the Save-A-Lot which was an A&P when I shopped here as a kid.

"I see sham pane, but no glasses"
It was Sunday night (May 6th 2007) when Adam Joseph of AccuWeather (on Action News) said sometime about the latest snowfall for Philadelphia on record was 10 May 1861 (I think).
1812 May 4th, Monday
Much rain in the night. Wind NE. Temperature 44°--it began soon to fall and at 9 reduced to 40°. Hail mixed with rain falling plentifully. Before 10 it became a heavy fall of snow. Temperature at 38°. The snow continued till afternoon. When the ground being covered, the grass and grain hid under a white carpet. The air moderated a little. The snow turned to rain and that fallen melted. About sunset temperature now to 40°. The wind now to NW. Clouds and symptoms of clearing appeared. I have this day recollected another similar season. May 3rd 1774 a heavy snow: here are two similar at the distance of 40 years apart.
A champagne toast. To weather and calendrical coincidence.
Don't tell me you can't find the agitators because they're buried in snow.
Well, not really. It's more that we prefer to bury our heads, and everybody else's if we can.

"I see sham pane, but no glasses"
A month ago I spent most of the day within the archive of the Medical Mission Sisters, going through their material on Ury House. The Medical Mission Sisters were the last owners/residents of Ury House, and indeed Sister Jane and Sister Carmine, who now work in the archive, both lived in Ury as novices. Sister Jane is now a retired MD who worked in various parts of Africa, Uganda (under Amin) and the Gold Coast. Sister Carmine was a nurse in various parts of India, and she obviously misses her work now.
There is a distinct architecture to the mission of the Medical Mission Sisters, and at its core is the issue of health issues entwined with women's rights. As I traced the contours of what was once Mier's Fisher's farm, and crop fields that Sister Carmine remembers working herself, Sister Jane related the history of their Order. Apparently Vatican II brought much hopefulness for missions dealing with health issues and women's rights, but that didn't last. I think Sister Jane was genuinely surprised I knew about (the mission of) Melania the Younger, and my mention of Church Fathers, Independent Virgins definitely raised her eyebrows.
I'd like to go back and hear more, but I don't know if I ever will.

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