By: Sr. Mallorie Gerwitz, SCL
In my ponderings, observations and experiences thus far in life and in community and in my ability to explain to each of you where I am along this journey; I began to think of the twisting and winding road that brought me here. I resourced a book, by Robert Fulghum, whom I am sure some have read, entitled, “Everything I need to know I learned in Kindergarten.”
One quote in particular speaks to me on this journey as to our uniqueness and to our spirit of charism as Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, “We could learn a lot from crayons; some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, while others bright, some have weird names, but they all have learned to live together in the same box.” Each of us brings a color of uniqueness, individuality, skills and gifts to the group, and without all the colors we wouldn’t be…well colorful, a complete box of crayons. I will expand on Fulghum’s quote to explain where I am on the journey and the crayon that I bring to the box.
When you open a box of crayons for the first time, maybe in the fall before students come back to class, on retreat, in your artwork or just at home relaxing in front of the tv… you see the colors all lined up with their similar partners all in a row, those with the most similar attributes, similar life experiences etc. Possibly similar to your best friend, someone you would choose to pal around with. Then after a few uses, kids rushing to pick up after art class, moms at home needing to clear the table… the colors get all jumbled up, broken… and the red starts to bump into the black; orange, with blue and green; pink with white and yellow… the crayons lose some of their sharpness, the tips become rounded, smoothed out. What is happening inside that box of crayons is that the crayons are beginning to experience the variety of the box around them. The unique characteristics of that crayon or this crayon, the way they can add color just in the right place, at the right time, to the canvas and without all the colors, the artwork would not be complete. As Edvard Munch once stated about life, “The colors live a remarkable life of their own after they have been applied to the canvas.”
Since I have entered community I have enjoyed experiencing the colors of each of my sisters, through shared meals, conversations and classes and experiencing each sisters individual efforts and unified efforts to create a just world led by the spirit. I have been humbled and moved. I have also found myself growing into a deeper understanding of my true color.
I have seen myself grow in intentionality, commitments and the recognition that prayer and reflection assist me in being my best self. I have had many opportunities to learn more about myself through prayer, classes, community, artwork, nature, and various ministries. I have felt my heartstrings tugged in many directions, with the needs of so many who lack health care, those with disabilities, those on our streets, those with mental illness, those seeking housing or food, our immigrant brothers and sisters and the abused and neglected, just to name a few.
Dorthy Day, I think, states this struggle with the human condition and the rights of all humans in the way that I would best describe my struggle: “What we would like to do is change the world--make it a little simpler for people to feed, clothe, and shelter themselves as God intended them to do. And, by fighting for better conditions, by crying out unceasingly for the rights of the workers, of the poor, the destitute--the rights of the worthy and the unworthy poor – we can to a certain extent change the world”.
As I grow into community, in this special year of novitiate I hope to take time to deepen my prayer life, try to live one day at a time with openness and love to all that I may encounter, and to focus my intentions on where God is most calling me to live out this life as a Sister of Charity of Leavenworth.
The SCL foundress, Mother Xavier Ross was the first one to add her color to the Canvas. How blessed are we for her dream… her commitment and for all those who have followed, allowing their color to be added. I thank each of my sisters for allowing the canvas to once again be changed and altered by my presence, as I add whatever craziness, love, life, ministry, dreams and hopes that God has in store for my life amongst each of you. Let this color, live a remarkable life, on this SCL canvas.
(Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth _ “Look forward to the Good that’s yet to Be”– S. Jennifer Gordon, Statue – Foundress – Mother Xavier Ross, S. Amy Willcott, S. Melissa Camardo and Canonical Novice S. Mallorie Gerwitz)