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Which Souls have left memorable “footprints” on your life?

November 2, 2009
By Sister Claudia Ward

Some people come into our lives and quickly go …  some stay for a while, leaving footprints on our hearts … and we are never … ever … the same. –Anonymous

Today many Christians throughout the world celebrate All Souls Day, a day of remembering, and praying for, the “faithfully departed” souls.  What Souls have left memorable “footprints” on your life?

As I think about my time recently at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, attending the “Bridging the Gap between Policy and Practices” conference, I am particularly struck by last week’s Gospel reading: “Master, let me receive my sight.” (Mark 10:51)  We did, indeed, receive sight … in our eyes as well as in the expansion and transformation of our hearts.  Sister Deirdre Mullen, RSM – director of Mercy Global Concern (Mercy’s presence at UN Headquarters) facilitated our activities.  She offered us a variety of perspectives and helped us to look through the lenses of our foundress Catherine McAuley’s experiences and insights as we discussed and learned about Mercy’s presence and position at the UN.  We also learned about and experienced a variety of world-wide Mercy ministries in action.

All I can say is “wow” … how truly humbled and proud I am to be a Sister of Mercy – to witness and support the wonderful work and response being offered to those most in need, especially to women and children.  Sister Deirdre encouraged us to “have our tent space stretched” and, as Sister Carol Rittner, RSM (Chair of the Board – Mercy Global Concern) suggested, “We have only two choices:  We can turn away or we can turn toward.”  I say: “Master, let me receive my sight.”  And let me not stop there – let me share that sight with others.  Let me share the gifts given and received with others, with those most in need!

And, so, where are we, as Sisters of Mercy – as friends, as companions – called to focus, to see, to share, to offer insight?  Catherine McAuley paved the way.  She educated.  She facilitated.  She advocated for reform.  She connected and “bridged the gap” between the rich and poor.  Many friends, including myself, were touched and moved to partner in this ministry.

We say thanks to Catherine – and to all of those foremothers and forefathers – who have left their footprints in our lives, motivating us to respond and serve God’s poor.  May we continue to advocate and work for justice at all levels: at the UN, at NGO offices throughout the world, in our ministries, in whatever venue available so that we may continue to challenge and address the needs of all who are oppressed, abused, and marginalized!

What are your thoughts?  Where would you see Catherine ministering?  In what governmental activities would you think Catherine would be involved?

This post is dedicated to Sister Gerrie Naughton, RSM; one of our newest members in the community of saints, who went to God last week.  Sister Gerrie’s life and dedication to education, especially women; founding Project ARISE (A Resource in Serving Equality – a grass-root organization supporting immigrants in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas), empowered countless others to follow in her footsteps.

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