Do you want to turn the world upside down?
By Sister Cynthia S.
Do you want to meet women who do that every day of their lives?
Then go looking for some Roman Catholic sisters in your neighborhood, at your school, or in your church. Take some time to talk with them. You might be surprised by what you learn about their lives.
You might know a sister who teaches all day every day, and perhaps after school or on weekends as well. But do you know that she may also be deeply involved in advocacy on any number of social justice issues? Ask her about the death penalty, about immigration, or about what’s happening in Darfur. See how her responses turn inside out what you might have thought about nuns.
Did you know that sisters talk all the time about their call by God to be of service? More than any other group I know we talk and read and reflect. We dig far enough and hard enough to learn the truth that sometimes hides under politics, or racism and sexism. We talk about what we have learned. Then, most importantly we go do something about it. That’s why these days you can find sisters in courts of law as well as in community shelters for homeless people. They don’t look for fame in either place. They look for improvement in the well-being of those whom much of society would like to ignore, knowing that this is the best test of our country’s own health. That’s how they turn the world upside down.
We devote our energies to serving others in whatever way God chooses. We pray to hear God’s voice, and to be obedient. We are so serious about this that we take a vow of obedience to God, a vow to listen really hard and then to act on what we hear. We recognize that the resources of Earth are limited, and that we need to share and take care of each other, especially the least among us. So we take a vow of poverty: we put all our money together to see what we can do to make a difference. Our work lives often balance each others. While some of us work as hospital administrators, others are on out the streets befriending immigrants. While some run colleges, others are doing volunteer literacy training.
Our commitment to those on the edge is grounded in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, who turned everything upside down, from ideas about who God is, to oppressive religious laws, to debilitating diseases, to tables in the temple., Catherine McAuley, the founder of the Sisters of Mercy, turned her part of the world upside down by putting her house in a neighborhood of wealth, taking her sisters to the streets, demonstrating and teaching that women have a place and a voice in the world. She turned herself inside out to make a difference in her world.
We try as hard as we can to be Mercy every day, visibly, right out loud, wherever we can, whenever it matters. We wear our faith in God’s loving providence with pride and joy. And we happily join with others who are on the same path, lifting little by little, block by block that part of the world which just might be the crucial corner edge to turn the whole thing over and allow a new world to emerge – a world where everyone has what they need and people work together in mutual respect.
The Sisters of Mercy have been turning the world upside down for more than 175 years. We invite you to come with us to the streets, to turn yourselves inside out for the sake of God’s reign, for the health of God’s people, for the love of mercy.