Years ago the Monastery adopted a hibiscus plant. When it outgrew its first room it was moved to the Community Room near south-facing windows, where it grew and grew until it outgrew that space, flopping over a piano on one side and tickling the ears of Sisters reading newspapers on the other. Its blooms were lovely but sparse.
So a year ago, it was cut it back sharply and its long, spindly limbs reduced by two thirds. After the initial shock, it began to grow again but more compactly, and this morning we were delighted to see a long-awaited first blossom. The plant remains half its size but has three times the number of branches. Since a hibiscus flower develops at the end of a growing branch, it will give many flowers to brighten our grey winter days.
Jesus told his disciples about their own need for pruning. “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful” (John 15:1-2). Jesus knew that an unpruned vine grows too much leaf and not enough fruit. It lives for what it can get for itself and not for what it can give to others.
Don’t be afraid of spiritual pruning. It hurts at the time, but will rid you of everything that is diseased or broken, that keeps you self-centered or fruitless, so that you can grow into a fruitful vine and serve God with good zeal and joy.
Sister Therese Carson
Therese was born in Detroit, Michigan and spent many years as a microbiologist in Harbor Springs, Michigan before coming to Duluth. She had heard a call to vocation since she was young, and found the courage to surrender to it when her faith in God caught fire and became deep love. She made her First Profession on August 31, 2014, at St. Scholastica Monastery in Duluth, Minnesota, and looks forward with joy to becoming a perpetually professed Benedictine. She believes with Albert Einstein that, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is.“