Some people think that becoming a Catholic Sister today is nonsense or irrelevant. But there are young women who choose this life, and find it filled with meaning and joy. Take a look at this story of Sr. Desiré Findlay, who discovered that her passion for dance and her African American heritage could be embraced and fulfilled in new and wonderful ways as a Sister.
I’ve been on the road visiting schools to help young women know what vocation means, to learn to discern the quiet whispers of the Holy Spirit, and to consider the joy of religious life as a relevant choice.
Then I received this wonderful YouTube produced by CARA and America Media, 300 Years of Sister History (in 5 Minutes)/Beyond the Habit, narrated by Cokie Roberts. It says it all so well. Do you know the story? Click on the title and be enlightened!
Yesterday I received an email from a friend in Rome, Italy. I share it, asking that you join us in prayer:
“We would like to involve all believers to pray for the next persons who could be executed this month. The execution of Dexter Johnson in Texas (a man who has had for a long time a pen pal of Sant’Egidio), and that of Stephen West in Tennessee are both scheduled for August 15, the very day we celebrate the Assumption of Mary into heaven. That’s why we seek her intercession, so that 2 lives may be spared without more bloodshed.”
Sant’Egidio is a Christian community born in 1968, in a secondary school in the center of Rome. Today it’s a network of communities in more than 70 countries of the world. They pay attention to the periphery and peripheral people, gathering men and women of all ages and conditions, united by friendship through listening to the Gospel and voluntary commitment to the poor and to peace. While they have long had correspondence with prisoners on death row, they recently sent a “Compassion” newsletter, inviting others to receive a pen pal (member of Sant’Egidio) for friendship and spiritual support. Since then, 100 more prisoners on death rows around the United States have taken up the offer. Please pray for Dexter, Stephen, and all of these.
I was in prison and you came to me.
Last weekend, I saw a video of Oprah Winfrey’s Super Soul Conversation with Melinda Gates. In it, Gates speaks of the many trips she’s made to very poor sections of the world and her need, upon return, to decompress, to be alone, to let in the pain she has seen, to “let my heart actually break.”
Just back from the Texas border and service with immigrants at the Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, I know our group is living with plenty of heartbreak. The broken face of Jesus was everywhere, as was his love and beauty. So we continue to let it in: men in line for belts and shoelaces, women in line for shoes; travelers praying the rosary, tears streaming down their cheeks; children waiting for a simple bowl of soup or overjoyed with a mini tootsie pop; a 15 year old boy with chicken pox, a 14 year old girl with newborn baby; ALWAYS, from everyone, “gracias” for any small gesture or smile.
Our volunteer group was amazing. They sliced dozens of loaves of bread (even when frozen!), and cut watermelons, carrots or mangoes by the crate. They served meals, unpacked and sorted donations, cleaned up after sick kids, employed Spanish phrases, and stood for hours to serve the needs of others.
We continue to let the experience in. And while our hearts have been broken, we are deeply grateful for the privilege of meeting these brothers and sisters who have changed our lives. And we remain in solidarity with those who serve the poorest among us, not just one week a year, but day in and day out.
Bitter sweet feelings as we are writing this. Today, we said goodbye to many of the people who worked with us throughout the week. With their help, we were able to attend to the needs of many, many travelers: preparing food, serving food, collecting donations, distributing clothes, and working with the sick.