The Ursuline family around the world celebrates the feast of our foundress, St. Angela Merici, on Monday, January 27. We thank God for the gift she is to our church and world and for the blessings of belonging to this 2020 global community!
Earlier this month, I attended the National Conference on Faith-Based Service held in Cleveland, Ohio. One hundred plus people gathered as community to share, deepen and expand ideas and dreams about service that can change our world. It was a great gathering, and so much continues to resonate for me:
- We don’t do service to make us feel good about ourselves. We do service because Jesus says, “feed the hungry, comfort the sorrowful, . . .”
- “Service never sleeps” –We must build allies for social justice and stand together with the marginalized. Diversity and inclusion are so important.
- Our baptismal promises bring us together to encounter and accompany the vulnerable.
- God creates out of chaos. A single individual can be enough for hope!
Having shared that, I am happy to announce our Ursuline Summer Service program for 2020. We will work at an amazing place in San Antonio, Texas, Haven for Hope, where persons experiencing homelessness are helped and strengthened. Housing will be at Our Lady of the Lake University. It will be a week of community, service, prayer and fun with the Ursulines, all steeped in the culture of beautiful San Antonio. Applications are welcome!
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.