What an interesting morning. Some time ago a good friend gave me an article from the Catholic Review about nuns in Baltimore County helping two beekeepers bottle honey collected from more than 600,000 bees. These nuns have learned the ins and outs of the beekeeping world and sell over 300 pounds of bottled honey annually, with profits going back to the Order and the beekeeping. I told my friend that was a “Where’s Marty?” Easy as pie and so began a journey that took me to the All Saints Sisters of the Poor in Catonsville on Wednesday!
From left to right, meet Sister Margaret, beekeeper Clem Purcell, mother Emily Ann and sister Deborah Rose.
The sisters have 100 acres near Patapsco State Park. When contacted by neighbor Clem about starting honey bee colonies on the property three years ago, the sisters said sure. They were already gardening and taking care of some animals.
And as Mother Emily Ann told us, it fits very well into a monastic lifestyle that is a colony in its own right. She also told us that the sisters live in a different daily time frame than in a fast-paced world, and that bottling, labeling and distributing honey is not a quick process. For them it is a time of stillness, 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 United States in 1972 as a branch of an Anglican congregation in England.)
They don’t produce enough honey for mass distribution. However, it is sold locally in the Catonsville area. The bees feed on the trees in the area, and the honey has a distinct color and wildflower flavor. I bought two bottles, one each for me and K2. I am a Jew and Sunday evening begins the new year and the beginning of the holiest time for us. Traditionally, after a big family meal, there are sliced apples and honey for dessert. And you guessed it, the honey at our Rosh Hashanah dinner this year will be from these wonderful Catholic women. Perfect.
Speaking of religion, Mother Emily Ann asked me if I could use this platform to publicize the organization’s website. To learn more about the All Sisters of the Poor go here.