Summer has ended, and we’re gearing up for a new retreat season. This weekend, we welcome our friends from the Diocese of La Crosse’s Deacon Formation Program and Lay Formation Institute. We also welcome a group of youthful Confirmation candidates from the Catholic parishes in Blenker, Hewitt, and Auburndale. Welcome, all! The house will be packed to the gills – so much joy and learning for all!!

As the retreat season gears up, the life of our community murmurs on with reassuring constancy. Tracy made a batch of corn bread over the holiday weekend and left a note on it inviting all to help ourselves to “yummy cornbread.” Never were truer words spoken (or written, as the case may be): that cornbread was yummy, indeed. Thank you, Tracy!

We’ve also been enjoying the bread that Jain baked to share with all. Thank you, Jain!

Fr. Bob has returned safely from his travels to visit friends. Welcome home, Fr. Bob!

Just Bob has begun the process of replacing the grass in our marshy front yard with native wetlands species. Thank you, Just Bob, for helping to make our home more beautiful and more ecologically healthy!

Marge continues her breaker-box-identification-and-labeling project. What greatly needed work this is! Thank you, Marge! Once Marge has finished making her maps and labels, we’ll be able – for the first time in anyone’s memory – to restore power quickly and confidently to any given circuit that has tripped. Currently, our search for the occasional tripped breaker is an adventure of epic proportions: just one of the joys of living in a house in which electricity was installed after the fact. Records kept on file at the Marathon County Historical Society in Wausau suggest that our house was not plugged in to the conventional power grid until at least 1938, but records kept by my predecessor, an anonymous and most eloquent Brother Chronicler, make it quite clear that certain parts of the house, at least, were served by electricity in 1931. Dear Brother Chronicler tells a tale of several brothers who inadvertently knocked down the power lines running from the house to the barn in October of 1931. This mishap occurred when the good friars decided to move the tower that once supported their water tank from the side of the barn to the river bank, where it would serve as a support for their newly built windmill. It seems that, in their enthusiasm for carrying an entire tower several hundred yards from barn to riverbank, the brothers all forgot about those pesky power lines. According to Brother Chronicler, a few of the brothers involved in this incident reported feeling a slight shock or tingle when said tower made its unceremonious contact with said power lines. Brother Chronicler also tells of the power failing midway through a concert in the spring of 1931, leaving the concert hall (currently St. Anthony’s bookstore) in darkness. Our current community members have put our heads together to ponder the discrepancy in historical records: one which indicates that no electricity was available here in 1931, and one which indicates that electricity was clearly available here in 1931. We’ve concluded that the Capuchins must have had a generator and battery system to power the house before they joined the conventional grid in 1938 ish. I will continue searching for House Chronicles and combing through them for evidence of the day when St. Anthony’s joined the power grid in Marathon. What a worthy adventure it is to explore the history of this house!

Our autumn flowers are in glorious bloom, and our early 20th-century air conditioning (strategic opening and closing of windows, transoms, and interior doors) is working marvelously well during these cool days and chill nights. The sparkling-ness of blue sky pops magnificently against white clouds and green leaves concealing a hint of red-yellow-orange. Chipmunks dart covertly close to the exterior doors, hoping to sneak inside for the winter. Hummingbirds pay the occasional visit to the feeder, but have clearly begun to seek warmer climes. The Earth and all of its creatures are cloaked in loveliness, even when preparing for the dying-ness of winter.

Deo gratias!