Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A shout out to the Sisters!

It has happened to me before, so I should know by now. You simply cannot outdo women religious in hospitality and generosity. My most recent encounter with that kind of gift-giving was time I spent over a period of three days, talking to the Religious Hospitalers of St. Joseph here in Kingston.

That community is discerning, as are many religious communities, how their mission and their charism are going to be lived in a world of decreasing numbers and aging members.

I thought I was to do the giving, but instead I came away so humbled by what they gave me. The sung blessing over me and my wife before we left, will stay with me always. The cheerfulness, the laughter, the camaraderie were reminders of the beauty of community life, even in the face of uncertainty. They were also reminders that ministry never ends, never takes a rest. I felt ministered to, and I go away feeling a bit more intentional about doing the same to others. The opportunities to be Christ to other people are not limited to formal structures or to liturgical celebrations. They are everywhere. In that sense, something I said to the group seems even more compelling now: the mission and the charism of this community may evolve in their manifestation, but they will never be outdated. The world desperately needs what the members have to offer. Every moment of the day. Thanks, Sisters! We will try to live up to your wonderful example.

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