Magic in the Tuna Can

Sister Ann Joachim Wolcenski, OSF
July 11, 2022
Celebrating Feasts of Mary
August 1, 2022

By Sister Nancy Linenkugel

Have you ever noticed the fine print information on a tuna can?  No, I didn’t either until recently when I was tossing an empty can into the recycling bin.

From the picture (above) there are these facts:

  1. The tuna contents came from either the Indian Ocean or the Pacific Ocean
  2. The tuna was caught by the Purse Seine method
  3. (almost out of view)  The tuna contents are “best if consumed by January 2024” but if you open the can you should eat the tuna within two days.

A purse seine method sounds efficient and humane.  A large circular net with weights around the bottom is placed amid a school of fish (mainly tuna, sardines or mackerel) and the drawstring at the bottom of the net is pulled to tighten it like a purse.  The whole net is hauled aboard; any smaller species are returned to the ocean in order to keep growing and to replenish the supply.

I’m reminded of the lyrics to “Frosty the Snowman” – “there must have been some magic in that old silk hat they found.”  There also must be some magic that happens within the tuna can.  If the contents overall are good for two years but only good for two days once the can is opened, can we infer anything from that?  Obviously, the tuna is safe and nutritious in the closed, protected,  and surrounded environment of the tin can.  Only when the can is open – subjecting it to air and many other forces – does the tuna have limited life and could spoil.

Is there a similar lesson in life?  If I keep myself safe, uninvolved, and isolated I might last longer.  But what kind of a life am I living?  Where’s the mission in that?  As Aristotle said, “There is only one way to avoid criticism:  do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.”

Sister Nancy Linenkugel

Franciscan in the Marketplace

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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Mary Thill
20 days ago

More than I can handle about the label on the tuna can!
I’m always impressed when I see folks catch tuna on TV…they are HUGE.
Can get a lot of cans of tuna from just one tuna fish!!!
Thanks for your observations and insight…gives me something to think about!

Sister Kateri Theriault
21 days ago

A very interesting parallel — the life of the tuna after it’s caught and dead, I might add, and mine while still alive and can make choices. The tuna did what it was created to do, be of service to others as food. How I serve others makes all the difference in my life. Thanks, Nancy!

Shannon Schrein
21 days ago

Great life lesson, Sister Nancy and more information than I have ever known about tuna. Thanks for sharing your insights.

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