Sunday, September 5, 2010

Festival De La Pana

Flan de Pana
Today Sister Vivian took her mom Luz, Ashley and I to the Festival de la Pana in her hometown, Barrio de la Mariana. It was the 23rd Annual of this festival where everything sold (at least food wise) is made with Pana. Pana is a fruit that grows on these tall green trees and depending on the size can almost pass as a green basketball. Also depending on how ripe the fruit is, it can be bitter to very sweet. Ashley and I tried sushi made with Pana, Flan de Pana, pastries made with Pana, and I bought a cocada con Pana. To be pretty honest, I cannot explain the taste of Pana. For example, the sushi had Pana instead of rice, but it tasted just like sushi with a slightly different taste. But nothing out of the ordinary. My apologies if my explanation sucks, but thats how I feel, I cannot explain it.
After the festival, Sister Vivian took us to Palmas del Mar which is a private resort outside of Humacao. The location has an amazing crystal blue beach on site and the homes there look like the "Suburbs". Beautiful, big homes that over look the beach. I was very surprised for some reason when I saw this place. Even though it is very very beautiful and elegant, it would be a shame to travel all the way to Puerto Rico and judge the entire Island based on this tiny private resort. I feel that I have experienced and seen more of Puerto Rico living in the monastery than I ever would staying at a resort. 
  Any ways, going back to some of the things I have done this week include going grocery shopping with Sister Rufina and helping her make the salad for dinner, celebrating my birthday, going to school and assisting Ashley as we both taught about 18 kindergardeners the A-B-C song and danced all around the class room, and attending Visperas (evening prayer). I'd like to mention that Sister Rufina is allowed to give us "the body of Christ" during evening prayer. Sister Mary Ruth explained that she is certified to do that and that Sister Carmen whom is the Prioress is automatically allowed to do that because of her position. There is something unexplainably powerful about having a woman take this role. I understand Sister Rufina cannot bless the wine or the bread like a priest can and she cannot hold mass either. But the simple fact that it is her, presenting the Body of Christ to me, make me feel as if patriarchy is nonexistent for those 5 seconds in the Catholic Church. I am surprised Saint Benedicts Monastery does not practice this, but I am sure they have very good reasons why they do not. the Sisters from the Monasterio Santa Escolastica do this out of necessity because there are only two Priest in this area. I just waned to mention, that I love it!


  1. I am so glad I met the two of you as you started your journey from MN. Our Benedictine world grows with happy surprises. I will be following your experiences with the Hermanas.
    Mary in Utah

  2. Daisy, I'm not sure what you mean about Eucharist. The Sisters and even laypeople here are Eucharistic Ministers and serve eucharist to people at Mass. They also give Eucharist that is "reserved" or set aside after it has been consecrated, such as on Good Friday when there is no consecration, or in the case of visiting the sick. That happens regularly at Catholic churches. It is only that they can't consecrate the bread and wine, as you say, but the Sisters at St. Benedict's Monastery also definitely administer it to others.

  3. Susan! You are so right. I was just overwhelmed here because it is only about 9 of us here most of the time. Like Ashley said, "It just feels personal here" because of our small number. S. Rufina is a Eucharistic Minister. I was simply surprised because there wasn't a male in the room and I myself, don't recall receiving eucharist when a Priest wasn't around at St. Ben's. That's why I was so surprised.