Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross in Green Bay, WI
Reflection for Jan. 19, 2020

Reflection for Jan. 19, 2020

Taking the long view

The occasional glimpse at the fruits of God's work can surprise -- and comfort -- us

As we move through the cold, dark days of January, I like to look back at the Christmas season and hold its special memories close to my heart. But this past Christmas, for several reasons, does not stand out as one that I will especially cherish. However, as I reflect upon the past month, the event that held for me all the joy and wonder of Christmas actually happened at a funeral I attended two days before Christmas.

Sister Margaret Mary Halbach died unexpectedly the week before Christmas. She was a woman who dearly loved our Franciscan Community and who shared her love for God’s people in so many beautiful ways. She taught me to be a parish woman, to recognize that my ministry extended beyond the classroom and into the hearts and homes of all the people in the parish. In his homily at the funeral Mass, a former student of hers, Father Michael Betley, pointed out how many lives she had touched, and expressed his gratitude to all of our Sisters for the impact they have had on the Church in our diocese. I was humbled and awestruck by his remarks about the influence our Sisters have had on so many people.

In the first reading for this Sunday’s liturgy God speaks through the prophet Isaiah, telling him that it is not enough “to raise up the tribes of Jacob and restore the survivors of Israel.” Rather, God declares that instead, “I will make you a light to the nations".

Sometimes we underestimate what God can do through us. We attempt to let our light shine in a confined corner of the world. Then one day we suddenly realize how far-reaching our influence has been, and we humbly open ourselves again to the Spirit, who continually kindles the spark that keeps the fire burning.

Reflection questions
  • Who are the persons who have deeply touched your life?
  • When have you been called to step out of your comfort zone and let your light shine in new places?
  • When and how have people pointed out the influence you have had on their lives?


Sister Donna Koch
01/17/2020 7:07 am

Thank you Elise. Positive questions to ponder.

Irene Whatley
01/17/2020 9:32 am

There are so many people the touched my life that at 92 I would need a book to name them. They started in school, nursing school and married life. I am forever grateful. Going from a small town to Chicago just out of school was scary but the people there were so kind and helpful. My parents supported my dream.

Marie B
01/17/2020 7:01 pm

Sr. Margaret Mary was a light to so many people. I remember how well loved & respected she was when she was principle at St. Jude. She will forever be in the hearts of so many people.

Kathy Bergstrom
01/17/2020 9:12 pm

Thank you, Sister Elise. This was written in a spirit of humility, which truly moved me. I am grateful for your light.

Peter Schumacher
01/19/2020 8:35 am

Thank you for your support at St Matthew Grade School and later in my dental practice. I have been so fortunate to have you be such an important part of my life. Reconnecting with so many of you after my college days was a fun blessing. Love your reflection Sr Elise.

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