By Sister Nancy Linenkugel
The Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan started on Friday, July 23, 2021 and will end on Sunday, August 8, 2021, so right now many of us are captivated by the televised events. Speaking of the Olympics, something important happened on June 20, 2021 – just a few weeks ago, that I think is very Franciscan. Do you know what it is?
On June 20 the IOC (International Olympic Committee) changed the motto of the Olympics. Since 1894 the motto had been three Latin words: CITIUS, ALTIUS, FORTIUS (faster, higher stronger). Now that motto has an additional Latin word: CITIUS, ALTIUS, FORTIUS – COMMUNITER (faster, higher, stronger – together).
The Olympics brings the world together. While countries do compete against each other, athletics, sportsmanship, and high morals come together. In the words of IOC President Thomas Bach: “We can only go faster, we can only aim higher, we can only become stronger by standing together.” Because the Tokyo Olympics should have occurred in summer 2020 but were postponed due to the COVID pandemic, the concept of “together” is even more meaningful.
This year, 5 Afghan athletes are representing their war-torn country. Also this year 29 athletes across 12 sports are competing as the IOC Refugee Olympic Team under the Olympic flag – representing millions of displaced people worldwide.
Isn’t that Franciscan? Doesn’t that sound like engendering peace?
Perhaps we can we can borrow the Olympic motto applied to ourselves: faster – there’s so much going on; higher – we turn to God always; stronger – as Sr. Mary Jon and the prior Leadership Team has said, “We are all we have”; and TOGETHER: we are one. We Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, our Associates, our partners in ministry, our relatives, and our many friends agree that together is the only way to live out our Mission.