Thursday, August 9, 2012
by Sister Francis Bangert
The Feast of St. Clare has typically been the special day on which most of our Community members have professed their religious vows. On or near this date every year, we gather to celebrate with the jubilarians and to remember our own profession day. This year we happily and gratefully celebrate the lives of four dedicated women: Sr. Louise Hunt, 70 years; Sr. Joanne Kinjerski, 60 years; and Srs. Monica Bongert and Maria Drzewiecki, 50 years. Their combined 230 years of ministry to God and the Church are cause for joy as family and friends gather around the Eucharistic table to celebrate and "taste and see the goodness of the Lord."
What keeps a person faithful for a lifetime faced with the challenges, obstacles, dark moments, and setbacks that keep company with the blessings, freedom, graces and growth one experiences? What keeps anyone faithful today when our culture ridicules commitment? Today's readings provide that wisdom. Elijah sets out on a journey to the mountain of God and is told to eat or the journey will be too long. Paul encourages the reader to "Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you." Jesus reveals "I am the living bread come down from heaven ... whoever eats this bread will live forever."
Like our patron, St. Clare, our Franciscan jubilarians have journeyed their whole life into the heart of God. The journey has invited them to live the heart of God in kindness, compassion, and forgiveness. Their nourishment on the journey has been the Living Bread -- Jesus. In receiving Eucharist, they have become eucharist for the countless men, women, and children. They have served as educators, as missionaries, as ministers to the elderly, to the sick, to immigrants, to those living on the margins. To each of these women, to the Holy One who always provides for all our needs we say THANK YOU!
Let us pray today for all the People of God journeying in the desert of life that they will seek out the Living Bread that sustains them for the long haul.
Rooted in the Cross, Word, and Eucharist ... compassionately responding through prayer, presence, and hospitality.
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