All We Like Sheep

Loving a Mentor
February 4, 2022
Spiritual Housekeeping
March 24, 2022
Loving a Mentor
February 4, 2022
Spiritual Housekeeping
March 24, 2022

By Sister Nancy Linenkugel

Ash Wednesday’s arrival on March 2, 2022 signals the start of the preparatory season of Lent.  I’m reminded of the magnificent chorus piece from Handel’s MESSIAH, “All We Like Sheep” based on that text from Isaiah 53: 6.

This chorus piece is found early in Part II, The Passion Section, of THE MESSIAH oratorio.  Part I precedes and focuses on the Prophecy and Birth of Christ, and Part III celebrates the resurrection.

We know that sheep DO go astray as evidenced by the inspiring story of the Good Shepherd found in the Gospels of both John and Matthew.

John 10: 11-16 outlines that Jesus, as the Good Shepherd, will do everything to save and protect the sheep, unlike a hired hand who runs away at danger.

Matthew 18: 10 exhorts that Jesus is the shepherd who will leave a flock of 99 sheep to go find one that is lost.

Sheep are easily distracted.  Being social animals, they generally stay together and follow each other for protection. Although sheep have amazing peripheral vision – their eyes are more on the sides of their heads so they can see in all directions, as opposed to humans  whose eyes are in the front and work together – when grazing and having heads down, sheep can get lost in the moment of nibbling away at the grass underfoot, never look around, and start wandering to follow where the tasty morsels grow.

Perhaps we can take a lesson from sheep.  We, too, can focus so much on what is immediately before us that we also get distracted from the bigger picture of what’s really important.  May Lent 2022 provide the opportunity to benefit from the good traits of sheep:  being social and caring for each other, showing peacefulness, protecting each other, and using our vision to pay attention to the bigger picture.


Sister Nancy Linenkugel

Franciscan in Administration

Sister Nancy Linenkugel is the current Congregational Minister for the Sylvania Franciscans.  She has served in healthcare administration, education and leadership for the congregation.  From 2011-2020 Sister Nancy served as the Chair of the Department of Health Services Administration and Director of the Graduate Program in Health Services Administration at Xavier University in Cincinnati, and was the first program alumna to serve in that position.  She was President of Chatfield College in Cincinnati, President and CEO of the Providence Health System and Providence Hospital in Sandusky, Ohio, and Vice President of St. John Medical Center in Steubenville, Ohio.  She is a life fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives and has served on its national board.  Sister Nancy was inducted into the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame in 1999.  She is an accomplished cello player and a member of the Washington D.C.-based Medical Musical Group, made up of doctors, nurses and medical professionals from around the country, and also recently completed service as president of the Cincinnati Metropolitan Orchestra.  She is a Toledo, Ohio native and a liturgical musician.

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