By: Sr. Carlette Gentle, SCN
I visited my other elders but I could not stop thinking about Rose. I went home that night and she was my prayer. I thought to myself, I have everything I need: a shelter over my head, a warm bed, and food in the pantry, refrigerator and freezer. I have running water, electricity, and a sense of security that I don’t have to worry about where my next meal will come from, or if the landlord will put me out for not having money to pay the rent. I sat and thought what deep faith this woman has. I have had studies and workshops and lectures and this simple, wise woman is teaching me how to pray. Rose has no food, her house needs repair, and her stove doesn’t work so she cooks on a fire outside, her children don’t come around and still she thanks God for waking her up to another beautiful day. With her stomach growling she never complains, with no money for the bus she never complains. She thanks God that she can walk to the hospital to visit the patients. So now, taking her example of how to pray, I try not to complain and focus on the good. When it is hard for me to find thirty minutes to pray, I think of Rose who has devoted every second of every day to thanking her God and I strive to do the same. She has taught me how important it is to focus on the blessings all around me and thank God for them. So, it is experiences like these that give me life.
I go home and share these stories with my community and they in turn share their ministry stories with me. The people we minister with teach us and it is up to us to be open to learning. My community life is nurtured by the people I live with, the support and care they give, the stories they share to keep us all grounded in the awareness of the realities of life.
Why am I not crazy for joining religious life and what keeps me going? Well, it is because I am grounded by the wonderful power of God who works through my community and my ministry with the poor.