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Concordia Sisters of St. Joseph

Concordia Sisters of St. Joseph

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


Reflection on Mount Joseph Jubilee Day

By Sister Marcia Allen, president of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia

June 20, 2010

Reflection on Luke 12: 22 – 31

Consider the lilies: they neither spin nor weave, but I tell you, Solomon in all his splendor was not arrayed like any one of them. If God clothes in such splendor the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown on the fire tomorrow, how much more will God provide for you, O weak in faith! It is not for you to be in search of what you are to eat or drink. Stop worrying! The unbelievers of this world are always running after these things. Your Father knows that you need such things. Seek out instead God’s (desire for) kingship over you and the rest will follow in turn.

Today we celebrate abundance and gratitude…the abundance of God’s providence and our gratitude for the privilege of witnessing to it. We celebrate God’s Providence and finding God in the least likely places.

The humblest, most lowly, most fragile and vulnerable – this is where God’s profligacy and abundance may be best found. This is where the power of God is made manifest – in God’s humility. For, in humility is found the strength of goodness and kindness, beneficence and generous courage in which God can truly show God’s loving and faithful tenderness.

But before we go any further into that, let me share my father’s experience of the scripture for today – an encounter with wild flowers – the lilies of the field. His story is one of meeting the absolute heart-breaking beauty of such fragile, tender flowers – the profligacy of God, the absolute abandonment of the Creator to creation – to its beauty and its heartbreak. Here’s an excerpt of a letter he wrote to me after this experience.

Last night I drove out to the old Twin Mound cemetery; on an impulse I decided to run in and check Uncle Billy’s stone. I was completely dumfounded, astonished, and amazed – and even surprised to find some wild  daisies in full bloom – five blue ones and three white ones. I just knelt in the buffalo grass and brushed my fingers across the beautiful blossoms, the bluest I have ever seen and the whitest with no peer. In all the running around I have done the past 50 years, I never once saw a wild daisy and never talked to anyone who had. All seemed to think as I thought – the daisy was extinct.

Today we re-member and we celebrate the lives of Sisters Leo Frances and Viatora. These women have lived lives of sixty and seventy years as Sisters of St. Joseph. They have given themselves over and over to the works of God – pure service for the good of the people who were entrusted to them. (Leo Frances in Plainville and Chicgo; Viatora in Chicago and Junction City)  They did this through bountiful times, times of consolation and success. They did this through the lean times when they were accompanied by confusion and desolation. They have lived through health and through the suffering of loss of health. They have seen life in all its beauty and its heartbreak. Now, here at Mt. Joseph they experience the giving over completely of what God has always desired – their whole selves – into God’s bountiful Providence.

This is a hidden mercy. Here, in what looks like a harsh conclusion to beautiful lives to us, we behold the heart-breaking beauty of God’s utter humility and the mystery of God’s power. Here we behold the mystery of God’s mercy raising up these sisters into their full beauty and potential.

Consider the lilies…helplessly exposed to the elements and to whatever external stimulus or force could exercise on them. Added to that, they neither add to nor subtract from the daily work of making a living. They simply are. We see them as helpless, something to be gazed upon by the more perceptive; something to ignore by the busy, more important business around them.

And yet, here, in each of them, God is residing in splendor – God is abiding in tender and faithful love. God is manifesting the beauty of the God-self for anyone who has eyes to see, an open heart to accept, a giving receptive spirit, an imagination close to God’s heart – that is, a person who is ready to receive the mystery of God’s beauty hidden in the mystery of vulnerability.

God’s splendor and power in hiddenness – the presence of God who is mystery, who chooses to reveal the Godself in such unpretentious and impossible-to-comprehend ways! This is the Mystery which we commemorate today. God living out the lives of Leo Frances and Viatora – begging us and waiting for us to be drawn into the mystery with awe and reverence, openness and total givenness. . . even as these two wonderful women are experiencing It – the Godself in abundance and mercy. What better response can we make but to kneel in the grass of God’s bounty and brush the fingers of our hearts over these beautiful blossoms! We respond with our abundant gratitude – for this Mystery and the mystery of their lives! We are grateful, not just for their lives, but for the Mystery of which their lives continue to speak. Thank you, Sister Viatora! Thank you, Sister Leo Frances!

3 thoughts on “Reflection on Mount Joseph Jubilee Day

  • Anne M. Reinertcsj

    Marcia, you have truly captured the beauty of God’ flower garden in each person, especially S.Vi, and S.Leo Frances. Thank You. Anne

  • Helen Mick

    What a beautiful reflection! Thank you, Marcia. And thanks to Viatora and Leo Frances for giving themselves so selflessly over the years. What a blessing they are to our world.

  • Sylvia Winterscheidt

    Your reflection last Sunday for Sister Vi and Sister Leo Frances’ Jubilee was very touching, Marcia, a fitting tribute to two beautiful women. And the whole celebration captured the joy and gratitude of the day. Thanks again to the Jubilee Committee.

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