By Sister Ann Carmen Barone, OSF
The power of our presence continues to fascinate me. The diversity of our Franciscan presence enriches us. It helps us to be grateful for the many people who share their presence with us.
This month I keep hoping to make a “H I T.” Not on the baseball field, but in life. Hang In There. Be persistent in being the presence of God’s Word whether it’s convenient or inconvenient. And it’s been a little of both.
I received a picture of my youngest great-nephew and smiled. Then my brother sent me a video clip that brought the presence of sheer joy and delight. I couldn’t stop smiling and laughing and sharing it with others.
When have I experienced that Joyful Presence? How can I share that presence of Franciscan Joy?
I thought back to the Blessing of the Lourdes Rec Center.
I remembered my brothers laughing while posing for a picture with our cardboard Presence of Pope Francis. Joe’s gotten miles of positive “press” for me. Who else but his sister was so important that the Pope came for my jubilee? More telling was his comment that, even in cardboard, the Pope’s Humanness and Love is palpable.
What about our Celebration of Transitus and Liturgy on the Feast of St. Francis?
And the events surrounding the inauguration of our 10th Lourdes University President – Mary Ann Gawelek? We’re still receiving rave reviews from agencies and the LU Community about that Presence during Lourdes Serves, our morning of service.
What about the many new babies who have added the Presence of Wonder to our broader community? Each a miracle, each loved, each turning lives up-side-down. Each reminding us that we are all children of God and we were all that young and small and vulnerable.
My calendar also reflected the power of challenge and loss.
The challenge present during preparation of the documentation for LU accreditation. What a joy to be in the room as the Compliance Documentation was sent. The team presence that worked with diligence, accuracy and respect for shared wisdom. And moved with that care to meet the deadline … word count and time.
The power of one is real. We experienced the powerful presence of a single person who shared the presence of God’s inclusive love, mercy and humor with us. The death of Todd Walker – The man at the grill – caught us all by surprise. The Circle of Support Gathering witnessed that we all were grieving. Some of the 150 plus students needed to give and receive support, imitating how this single person made each one of them feel special, noticed, included and recognized for their gifts and talents.
This experience of the Franciscan Presence being accompanied by death, sickness, changing ministries, and a call to recommit ourselves to the mission, to shaping and sharing a new presence, to own and give thanks for what has been and be open to the God’s fidelity to help us do what is ours to do.
So … we will “hang in there.” We can do it one day at a time. But most often we create a “H I T” when we depend on our relationship with one another and with all of God’s creatures.