Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Thank God for the elderly!

Mass was an especially reflective time this morning, here at the Motherhouse of my Congregation. Godalming is a beautiful village in Surrey and Ladywell is just as beautiful as the village itself, which dates back to pre-Roman times.

Mass was reflective, as I said earlier, because I was at the baclk of the chapel and had a good view of our older Sisters, who sit close to the altar so that they can see and hear more easily all that is taking place. They are remarkable women and covered five Continents in the collective hundreds of years of missionary activity spanned by their lifetimes. More than one was responsible for setting up clincs, dispensaries and schools in some of the most remote areas of Nigeria, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Certainly, my great friend Sr. Ignatius, who is, I think, 89, can tell wonderful stories about travelling by canoe across the crocodile-infested waters of Lake Bangweulu in Zambia, where she worked as a nurse and midwife for many years. She is equally able to relate the events of daily life in the Palestinian refugee camps of Jordan where she also spent a lengthy and eventful period of her life.

Yes, people age, but the only difference between an older and a younger person is life experience and the number of stories that they can tell to those who have the time to listen. Youngsters are still in the process of building up their repertoire. Thank God for the riches that the older generation give to the rest of us who are still following, sometimes haltingly, the paths that they had the courage to blaze for us!

God bless,
Sr. Janet