Summer, June–August, 2017
From centuries ago, the words of our founders still resound, full of wisdom and insight for today. Saints Elizabeth Ann Seton, Vincent de Paul, and Louise de Marillac invite us to deepen our relationships with Christ and hiss gift of the Holy Spirit, with those around us, especially those in need, with all the members of the Body of Christ, and with God’s glorious creation.
Charity Wisdom From Our Founders
SAINT ELIZABETH ANN SETON
He will direct your heart to that prayer of the Spirit which neither occupations nor pain
can drive from it — though it may not be active, still it is there.
Heart of Jesus, receive me.
Spirit of Jesus, enliven me.
Goodness of Jesus, pardon me.
Beauty of Jesus, draw me. (excerpt from Mother Seton’s adaptation of the prayer, Anima Christi)
All nature speaks to us of heaven — the delights of the morning — a flower of the field.
SAINT VINCENT DE PAUL
Since God is satisfied with our good will and honest efforts, let us also be satisfied with the outcome He gives to them.
Let us endeavor to grow more and more in the confidence that in whatever state we are placed by God we shall be secure, although we may think that we would be better off somewhere else.
Live together as having but one heart and one soul so that, by this union of spirit, you may be a true image of the unity of God….Pray for this to the Holy Spirit, who is the union of the Father and the Son, that He may likewise be yours and give you profound peace in the midst of contradictions and difficulties.
SAINT LOUISE DE MARILLAC
They [the Sisters] should be the image of the Most Holy Trinity; and even though they are several, they should form but one heart and one mind.
I trust [our hearts] will be in complete harmony in the Heart that contains them both, and that is the Heart of Our Lord.
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CHARITY WISDOM FROM OUR FRIENDS
We were able to get in with the people, go where others couldn’t go, and do what they could not do. We weren’t a threat to anybody….blending in, and not thinking myself any better than those I live with or those I meet…seeing them as equals. (Sr. Loretto John Meehan, SC – dec. 6/5/17 – on her 1996 retirement from Good Shepherd Home Health & Hospice Agency, Hayesville, NC, reflecting on her 25 years of service)
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If we are to be capable of dreaming new dreams, we will need a continuing openness to new ways, without allowing fear to paralyze us. (Sr. Constance Fitzgerald, OCD)
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We, as followers of Jesus, are sent into this world to be visible signs of God’s unconditional love. Thus we are not first of all judged by what we say but by what we live. When people say of us: “See how they love one another,” they catch a glimpse of the Kingdom of God that Jesus announced and are drawn to it as by a magnet.
In a world so torn apart by rivalry, anger, and hatred, we have the privileged vocation to be living signs of a love that can bridge all divisions and heal all wounds.
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Today, I would like to add one more icon, in this Church. A woman. I do not know her name. But she is watching us from heaven. I was in Lesvos; I was greeting the refugees and I found a 30-year-old man, with three children. He looked at me and said: “Father, I am a Muslim. My wife was Christian. Terrorists came to our country, they looked at us and asked us our religion and saw her with the crucifix, and they asked her to throw it on the ground. She did not do so and they cut her throat in front of me. We loved each other so much!” This is the icon that I bring here today as a gift.
I do not know if that man is still in Lesvos or has managed to go elsewhere. I do not know if he was able to get out of that concentration camp, because refugee camps — so many — are like concentration camps, because of the crowd of people who are left there. And the generous people who welcome them must also continue to bear this burden, because it seems that international agreements are more important than human rights. And this man did not have rancor: he, a Muslim, had this painful cross, carried on without rancor. He took refuge in the love of his wife, graced with martyrdom. (Pope Francis, 22 April 2017, homily with Community of Sant’Egidio in memory of the martyrs of the 20th and 21st century)
Thank you so much for sharing Charity Wisdom. Eash of the words of Wisdom from our Founders and Sister Loretto John are just what I needed today.