This Saturday I paid a visit to my great-aunt Sister Pat – seriously the most wonderful little old lady you could ever meet – at her convent in Sinsinawa, WI. I haven’t been down to the Mound (what her order calls their motherhouse) in over a decade, so she took me on a tour and, like Pat, it was delightful.
I know this may seem like an unusually religious post coming from someone that isn’t particularly fervent in her faith, but the Sinsinawa Mound is beautiful in a historical and architectural way. Plus, my aunt is very proud of this space and I want to show it off for her to a generation that is under 60 – and I mean that in the best way possible.
The space above (with my two lovely aunts looking on) is Pat’s pride and joy. It’s impossible to get a good photo of how pretty it is, so you’ll have to deal with what I’m giving you here, but know that it’s a stunning round room surrounded completely by technicolor stained glass panels designed by one of the sisters in the early 1960s. For a chapel, it’s pretty rad.
From there, Pat took us all over the complex, and I do mean complex; it’s got another chapel, apartments, housing for nuns, an auditorium, a library, a bakery (shoutout for the best cinnamon bread), a labyrinth, and wayyy more. In its heyday, this place housed hundreds of nuns so it had to be big, and it had to accommodate all of these ladies’ needs from spiritual to intellectual to physical.
My favorite part of the whole tour was the original St. Clara’s Academy and old chapel, built in the 1860s. This imposing and beautiful sight was what my aunt first saw when her mother and brother brought her to Sinsinawa. Just imagine being dropped off in what I’m sure felt like the middle of nowhere at a place like this.
Isn’t this some real Trouble With Angels type scenery? And if you haven’t seen that movie – Catholic or not – you have to; it’s got Hayley Mills and some perfect 60 vibes.
All this church talk might be sort heavy, so I have to share you a little story with you. Pat’s been having some problems with her cell phone. It could be that she’s in southwestern Wisconsin (notorious for bad cell service), it could be that she’s not very familiar with the technology, or it could be that she’s using a flip phone from 2005. Whatever the case, Pat didn’t know how to operate its camera. So when I asked if she’d like to see a picture of my tree that I had on my phone, and she said, “Sure. Do you want to see one of the inside of my pocket?” And we all had one of those great laughs that families only have on sitcoms.
Well, I hope I haven’t lost all of you on this one. I’ll be back soon with some craft posts and a fun announcement!