by Sister Laureen Marie Painter, OSF
After almost thirty years in healthcare administration and living away from the Sylvania area, the beauty of this sacred place once again takes me aback. I speak not only of the absolute beauty of the forestry and architecture but, more so, of the beauty and blessing of the Sisters especially those in Rosary Care Center and Grace Hall wherein the powerhouse of prayer awakens each morning and retires each evening.
I now live in one of the Maria Hall apartments and it just so happens that the kitchen and living room windows face Rosary and Grace and, oftentimes, I stand in prayerful awe as I reflect on just who lives there. From where I stand, I look at the many windows and picture Sisters that were administrators, educators, healthcare and culinary arts personnel, social workers, pastoral ministers, and the list goes on. From where I stand, I see some whose minds are no longer clear being led by therapists or others through the memory garden and recall the Scripture passage about one growing old and then being led by another.
These women provided futures full of hope for hundreds of thousands of people through their selfless giving of time and talent, of teaching the importance of faith and hope, and encouraging people in their pursuit of genuine happiness and fulfillment. No greater love is there than to offer one’s entire life for others and so go these Sisters. Their now-gray hair is their crown of glory (Proverbs 16:31) and their wisdom and understanding are found in the length of their days (Job 12:12). From where I stand, I see lights click on in the early morning and dim at night and all the while Sisters whisper prayers throughout this powerhouse.
Today, retired priests, brothers, Sisters from other religious congregations and lay men and women choose to retire with the Sisters in Rosary. Together they have enriched the powerhouse of prayer with various expressions of faith and prayer styles. Where two or more gather in the name of God, God is present and the whispers of prayer are now sometimes shouts of glory or pleas for comfort, consolation, and consideration. From where I stand, our city, state, country, world need this joint powerhouse of prayer as we experience an once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. Behind each window, within each room lives a woman or man whose wisdom and faith have gathered us like chicks under the wings of their protective mother (Ref writings of Saint Francis of Assisi) and provide us with certitude that God’s hands are in all of this, somehow, some way.
From where I stand we are so blessed and gratitude must be our response.