Think of M.A.D.D. – Mothers Against Drunk Driving. It began with one woman, Candy Lightner, whose 13 year-old daughter was killed by a drunken driver who had already been arrested for another DUI hit-and-run. A TV movie drew attention to her story and M.A.D.D. found other supporters. Think of the raised awareness, the change attitudes towards drinking and the legislation that has sprung up since 1980. That’s the Power of One for good.
I think of the hostility between Protestants and Catholics in Ireland that seemed to smother any hope of peace. The powder keg was ignited when a British patrol fired on a car carrying members of the IRA transporting an Armelite rifle pointed at the patrol. The car careened out of control and collided with Anne Maguire who was shopping with her children. All three children – 8, 2 and 6-weeks—were killed. Betty Williams witnessed it all and said, “Enough.” She began gathering signatures from Catholics and Protestants for a peace petition and assembled 200 women to march for peace in Ireland. That was the birth of the Peace People. The next march that passed the children’s burial site numbered 10,000 women. Anne Maguire believed that the only way to end the violence was to re-educate and so they did.
That’s the Power of One and another One.
And just recently we saw the Power of One hungry to learn and to speak out for the right of girls to be educated. Malala Yousafzai was 15 when she was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman for her crime. She survived after many weeks in intensive care. The world embraced Malala and recognized her as an “icon of courage and hope.” At 16 she addressed the UN and received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.
Again we see the Power of One supported by One’s loving parents willing to change their lives so that she could be free to thrive and not merely survive.
The Power of One belongs to many cultures, reflects many faith traditions, and reflects diverse concerns and historical ties. Can you identify the woman behind these words?
- Despite everything, I believe people are really good at heart.
- Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.
- I think one’s feeling waste themselves in words; they ought all to be distilled into actions which bring results.
- Please know that I am aware of the hazards. I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be a challenge to others.
- Nobody in Europe will be abandoned. Nobody in Europe will be excluded. Europe only succeeds if we work together.
- I knew someone had to take the first step and I made up my mind not to move.
- Forgiveness is a virtue of the brave.
- Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.
Did you guess the Power of each One of these women?
Indira Gandhi-7 Mother Teresa-2 Marie Curie-8 Amelia Earhart-4
Anne Frank-1 Angela Merkel-5 Rosa Parks-6 Florence Nightingale-3
Now take time to look at the women around you and give thanks for those who have used their Power of One to help you grow.
Think of the Sisters before us who have invested their Power of One to shape our lives, set the stage, embraced God’s mission for us and ventured for the Lord in a new awareness of Franciscan Life. For them and the fruits of their labor of love, we give thanks and praise.