A Group to Belong To

diocesan jubilee celebrationUntil this weekend, I had never been to Warren before. As I turned off of 422 and onto the unfamiliar local roads, I followed the directions on my GPS and spotted the tall steeple of St. Mary’s Church in the distance. “The sisters are downstairs,” the nun at the door told me, and I followed the direction of her gesture to a room full of people I didn’t know. I was so relieved when I found Sister Norma and Sister Julia amidst the crowd, and as I gave them each a hug, I felt welcome in this new place. I knew I had a group I belonged to.
Sister Julia looked beautiful with the single-flower corsage pinned to her shirt. Ever since my two-month stay at the Motherhouse last summer, I have gotten to know Sister Julia from our many games of Scrabble and our trips to the local Dollar Store. And on one of my visits this winter, I had the opportunity to pray with her. As we sat in the quiet chapel with the Companion to the Breviary in each of our laps, I felt her love and faith in God shining forth. This weekend at the Jubilee Celebration, I felt so proud to see her recognized for her 65 years of commitment to the Gospel.
This weekend, I enjoyed seeing the Ursuline Sisters who I’ve gotten to know so well, and the event also gave me the opportunity to meet sisters from other religious orders. As I made my way upstairs for mass, I spotted a young woman with braided blond hair who looked like she was about my age. Her name was Stephany and she told me that she was a Postulant. She was quiet but had a nice smile, and I told her about my experience as a Companion in Mission of the Ursulines. She invited me to come visit her sometime, and as we traded email addresses, we promised to keep each other in our prayers.
Another one of my highlights was listening to Msgr. John Zuraw give a talk early in the afternoon. In light of recent events, he talked about how the Catholic Church has been the focus of much attention and scrutiny. Some journalists criticize the Church for getting in the way of progress, but historically, the Church has inspired some of the greatest insights in science, art, music, and literature. As an English major and aspiring writer, I felt a surge of energy each time he mentioned the word “literature.” In terms of contemporary Christian writers, Sister Darla recently introduced me to the work of Joan Chittister. Her most recent book talks about her call to become a writer, and I felt inspired by her message and the beauty of her words as I try to find my own voice.
To conclude his talk, Msgr. Zuraw invited us to think of someone who has been an example of faith & compassion and whose presence has changed our lives. I couldn’t help but think of my experience with the Ursuline Sisters this past summer, and I felt honored to be with them on this day of celebration.
Reflection offered by MaryAnn our Companion in Mission