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Reflections on a Quilt

August 24, 2010

By Sister Phyllis Z.

While on retreat last week I was reflecting on the quilt that I was making, “Grandmother’s Flower Garden”, which reminded me a lot of my own life and Mercy Spirituality. Over 5,000 hexagons, one by one, are stitched together into a magnificent whole – every flower uniquely different from each other.

The pattern reflects the infinite variety of services boldly developed by Sisters of Mercy around each of the spiritual and corporal works of Mercy in order to meet the needs of the poor, sick and uneducated throughout our history.

The center hexagon is the pivotal point. Each smaller hexagon sewn to it becomes the foundation for the next piece. For Catherine McAuley service to the poor was central to her spirituality and our hallmark as her daughters. At the same time she cultivated a deep spirit of prayer in the midst of her many activities for the poor. She encourages us to do the same and reminds us that “our hearts can always remain in the same place, centered on God, for whom alone we go forward or stay back”. Only with God as my center can I be empowered for ministry which will continue and bear fruit.

In the making of one hexagon flower each piece builds on the other and does not stand alone. When I reflect on my life in ministry the same is true: each work, study, experience, relationship, hardship has built on one another to facilitate my ministry as a NYPPAW vocation director. Past teaching skills enable me to do class presentations and program planning. Spiritual direction skills are used in the Busy Person’s Retreats on the college and university campuses. Clinical social work and psychotherapy skills for assessment and interviewing are of great benefit while mission experience stretches the imagination to ask the difficult questions in living religious life in today’s society.

As I muse at the dozen hexagon flowers and a thousand small linking hexagons to be sewn I am reminded of all that has been in my life and all that will be which has and will impact the living out of my calling as a religious woman of Mercy.

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