Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Loving God and neighbor without distinction: A pontifical institute of women religious of the Roman Catholic Church

Year of PeaceYOP columns

Jan. 15, 2016: Generosity, service abound in ‘village in the state of Kansas,’ by Sister Anna Marie Broxterman

Sister Anna Marie Broxterman
Sister Anna Marie Broxterman

What does the word “Concordia” mean? A quick internet search turned up this: “Concordia — a Latin word for harmony, literally ‘one heart;’ in mythology, the Roman goddess of harmony.” Then I was taken aback as I scrolled through the search results to find an Urban Dictionary listing from an anonymous contributor who defined Concordia as “a village in the state of Kansas that has probably the most conservative, shallow-minded…” and it gets worse!

As the Year of Peace Committee begins its seventh year of writing these columns, we have the opportunity to speak words of kindness, encouragement and hope. We can send forth positive energy as we join with all the people in this “village in the state of Kansas” to witness to the value of peace in building community.

I look forward to changing that writer’s perception of us.

In fact as I read poem “Sixteen,” by Benedictine Sister Mary Lou Kownacki, I became mindful of how I have known those qualities in this our village. She wrote:

He came into my life as unexpected as
Isaac to Sarah or John to Elizabeth
Except there was no angel only a police siren
Announcing the coming of abused and damaged
Seven-year-old Scooter.
After four years of raging temper tantrums,
Of trips to psychologists, allergists, social workers,
After four years of crawling after him
Behind sofas and under tables
To talk and talk and talk,
To repeat over and over,
“I’ll love you, Scooter.
I’ll love you forever.”
After four years of hug upon rejected hug,
He came softly into my study one afternoon
And handed me a homemade valentine
on which he scrawled,
“I like your help
And love for me.”
Is this not a miracle?


The circumstances may be different, but I’ve known this kind of change to happen at Neighbor to Neighbor, at Pawnee Mental Health, at Cloud County Health Center, at our social service agencies, at OCCK, in AA groups and even in book study groups.

I witnessed it through the generous services of those who clear our streets, who pick up our trash, who work diligently to save our planet through recycling.

I heard similar stories of our teachers in our schools, and of students themselves reaching out to those who needed a friend when befriending them was not a popular thing to do. Then there are the EMTs, the fire and the police departments who serve us without regard to affluence or poverty.

The community concerts and the school plays and concerts speak of people who lovingly take the time to make a difference — and it does!

The commissioners of both Cloud County and the City of Concordia along with the Chamber of Commerce and CloudCorp work tirelessly to make our village a wholesome place to live and work.

This list is not intended to be exclusive; these are just the first who came to mind. Do add your own as you join me in giving thanks that Concordia is a “village in the state of Kansas,” where people work together for the good of all.

Is this not a miracle?


— Sister Anna Marie Broxterman lives in Concordia and is a member of the Year of Peace Committee.


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