By Sister Nancy Linenkugel, OSF
A Xavier faculty colleague had business in Sylvania, Ohio, so when he told me about his trip, I asked him if he had ever visited our motherhouse. When he said no but expressed interest, I said that it would be very easy to arrange a brief visit for him so that he could at least see our chapel plus our All Good Things store.
His trip was a fulfilling one. Our Sisters couldn’t have been more welcoming, and he couldn’t wait to tell me about the visit.
“How could you leave that place?” he said expectantly. “What do you mean?” I replied. “In order for you to come to Xavier, you had to leave your motherhouse. How could you leave the beauty of that location and especially the gorgeousness of your chapel? That’s not a chapel you know—it’s a cathedral,” he responded.
My glib answer was, “Yes, Queen of Peace Chapel is a breathtaking place and it is home. But ministry goes on in many places and that will always be home.”
I thought about his comment over and over, trying to understand in my own mind what it means to “take leave” of something. To me, simply leaving is one thing, like exiting a store or driving away from a highway rest area. There’s no emotional attachment to those actions. But taking leave is something else. In this case, I’m aware of what I’m doing and it’s my active choice to go away from something. Perhaps I’m able to do this because of the phenomenon of memory. While I don’t care about the store as I exit from it, persons or places I do care about live in my memory. I can think about them whenever I choose.
So when it comes to OLQP Chapel, a place that I cherish and appreciate, all I have to do is think about it and the images flood my mind. And that makes it more special for the times I actually get to physically be there.
(You probably thought I’d say that Franciscans don’t cling to things and thus practice detachment by sharing beautiful things with others. Yes, that too.)