Hearts with Nature
By S. Georgia Kitt
Patrick Ann O’Connor’s love for gardening began as a young child; her family usually planted a vegetable garden in an empty lot they had next to their home where she loved to get her hands dirty. Now the planting season serves as one of nostalgia, challenge and surely as an eye for her soul. Her garden plot is located adjacent to the Motherhouse grounds on what is referred to as the Compound Area. She has been fortunate to have shared this love of tilling the Earth with friends throughout her life. Her memories are below:
I remember well how my family’s was the last house in Marion, Ohio, before the farm lands stretched for miles. As a young person many of my days were spent in the spaciousness of the farm playing with my friends. After entering the Sisters of Charity I started gardening with S. Jeanne d’Arc Evans when I was teaching at St. Lawrence in Cincinnati; she happily shared her love for nurturing the Earth with me. Many years later, when the late S. Paula Gonzalez finished her planting years, she asked if I would like to use her garden plot. This has resulted in many years of enjoying and sharing ‘the fruits of the land’ with others.
This year has been difficult because of my wheat crop and the rainy spring which delayed the planting of seeds until late June. I had planted winter wheat in the fall to protect and nourish the soil which meant working with the wheat first. To my surprise the wheat grew 3 to 4 feet high, so I had to cut it down and have it tilled four times before I could even think about getting the seeds in the soil. Talk about a lesson in patience!
So far this season’s resulting produce varies greatly. As my favorite vegetable, the green beans have outdone themselves, but my red beets are a mystery. I purchased the same seeds as in years past, but the seeds never sprouted. The bugs have had delightful meals with the zucchini and summer squash; they have found both to their liking. My tomatoes are abundant, but they seem to prefer the color green! They are very slow to turn red.
I have always loved the peace I feel working with the soil; it keeps me in touch with the cycles of nature. The garden gives me opportunities to share the produce with others. Time spent there also allows me the chance to exercise in ways that I can’t do otherwise. A real life miracle for me is the amazing growth resulting from such tiny seeds placed in the Earth! Each time as I leave my garden plot I place it in the hands of my past gardening companions, all of whom now enjoy their heaven – S. Jeanne d’Arc Evans, S. Paula Gonzalez and Associate Rita Wesseling. Gardening has been a great life-teacher, feeding both body and soul.