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Despite the rain that fell Sunday, the Sisters of St. Francis, associates, friends and representatives of the WNY Land Conservancy gathered to offer a blessing and handing on of the Stella Niagara Meadow.
Reflecting on the past, Sr. Edith Wyss, provincial minister, said, "For 108 years, hundreds of our sisters have treasured and cared for this land. We carry memories of long walks, picnics and quiet moments spent by the river or praying by the grotto. We remember watching the construction of the peace memorial envisioned by Frances Flanagan and the stories of our history depicted in sgrafitto on the ceiling of the little chapel. We remember with gratitude special times spent with others or alone in all these sacred places. Now the time has come for us to pass on to others the gift that came to us. It is time for us to hand over this meadow to those who will tend it, share and love it as we have."
Through tear-filled eyes, the crowd watched as Nancy Smith, executive director of the WNY Land Conservancy, embraced Sr. Edith and presented her with a gift of monarch butterflies and milk weed, which will find a home in the Stella Niagara Preserve.
Then the sisters offered their blessing, "O God, we thank you for entrusting us with this land where we have seen your beauty, and these shrines which we have treasured. We now return them and pass them into the hands of others who will care for and share them. We ask you to bless those who will tend it and all those who will set foot here to visit. May they find where what we have found: peace and gratitude for your abundant love revealed in all creation."
Sr. Edith accepting a gift of butterflies.