What an interesting morning. Awhile back a good friend handed me an article from the Catholic Review about nuns in Baltimore County who help two bee keepers bottle honey collected from more than 600,000 bees. These nuns have learned the ins and outs of beekeeping world, and they yearly sell over 300 pounds of bottled honey, with profits going back to the order and the beekeeping operation. I told my friend this was a "Where's Marty?" no-brainier and thus began a journey that took me Wednesday to the All Saints Sisters of the Poor in Catonsville!
Meet left to right, Sister Margaret, beekeeper Clem Purcell, Mother Emily Ann and Sister Deborah Rose.
The sisters have 100 acres near the Patapsco State Park. Three years ago, when contacted by neighbor Clem about establishing honey bee colonies on the property, the sisters said sure. They were already gardening and caring for some animals.
And as Mother Emily Ann told us, it very much fits into a monastic lifestyle, which is its own colony. She also told us the sisters live in a different daily timeframe than a fast-paced world, and that bottling, labeling and distributing honey is not a fast process. For them, it is a time of silence, reflection and peace.
The label is an image of Our Lady of Walsingham, one of the earlier apparitions of the Virgin Mary, and is very important to Anglicans. (The Sisters came to the U.S. in 1972 as a branch of an Anglican Women community in England.)
They do not make enough honey for mass distribution. It is, though, sold locally around Catonsville. The bees feast on the trees in the area, and the honey has a distinct color and wildflower taste. I bought two bottles, one each for myself and K2. I am Jewish, and Sunday night begins the New Year and beginning of the holiest period of time for us. Traditionally, after a large family meal, we have as a dessert cut-up apples and honey. And you guessed it, the honey this year at our Rosh Hashanah dinner will be from these wonderful Catholic women. Perfect.
Speaking of religion, Mother Emily Ann asked me if I could use this platform to post the organization's website. To find out more about the All Sisters of the Poor, go here.
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