Written on: November 20, 2020
One thing of many that I admire about St. Marguerite d’Youville was her ability to adapt, to pivot! She did it gracefully and intentionally. It was said of her that when others came along and began to do a charitable work that she was involved in, if she determined that it was being handled well, she left that work in good hands and hearts to find the next unmet need. When obstacles were put in her way by civil and church officials, she was not reticent.
As Grey Nuns in our day, her daughters, we are challenged to be graceful and intentional in our learning to pivot given our circumstances of life. Perhaps we have left a particular ministry, geographic area, or lost family and friends, and we too must learn to claim our truth in the spirit of love in whatever new circumstance we find ourselves.
We may not have names like Joan Chittister, Simone Campbell, Helen Prejean, Norma Pimentel, or Mary Scullion, but many of us believe and support the efforts that these courageous women religious support. There are thousands of women religious who quietly go about their work of advocacy through letter writing, active ministry, volunteering, contacting authorities and offering financial support. Civil and church authorities do hear from us on issues such as ecological sustainability, immigration reform, homelessness, refugees, life issues and the poor. They recognize that our voices and presence spring from long traditions of helping the underserved in many settings such as education, health care, social work and pastoral care… and they listen.
Marguerite in her day spoke the truth to the Bishop who was accusing her of suspicious management of funds. Her reply reveals her character:
“I am sincere, upright, and incapable of any deception or restriction which could disguise the truth or give a double meaning… What I have the honor to tell you, Your Excellency, is the truth, and I would not tell the least lie for all the goods in the world.”
As her daughters we are called to do the same- holding on to truth, honesty, and love that sets us free.
Sr. Mary Elizabeth Looby, GNSH is a trained Spiritual Director. She spent many years in formation ministry and in Leadership within the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart. Sr. Mary Elizabeth enjoys drawing and painting.