Overcoming Hardships…Finding an Inner Light

Blog by Associate Mary Ellen George, OPA

Hearing anyone’s story of hardship and pain is never easy. Recently, someone shared with me her childhood and adulthood struggle with feeling rejected and abandoned by her parents, friends and God. As a child, after her parents were divorced, she lived with a foster mother who was abusive and treated her unkindly. Later, in her teens, she was reunited with her father when he remarried and a new family was formed. But, she still found it difficult to bond with both her father and stepmother. As a young adult, she moved away to another state to start a new life, living in hostels and in homeless camps and shelters for a while.

Lonely but Never Alone

Desperate to find food and housing, she was directed by a human services agency to a church that had a food bank and offered community meals. She went to the church, lonely and withdrawn, sitting in a corner by herself, when the pastor’s spouse (George) sat down beside her and expressed concern about her. He encouraged her to come back because he didn’t want her to feel lonely and wanted her to know that she was not alone in her journey. (She had been having nightmares that she was truly alone in the universe and abandoned by God and everyone.) Continue reading →

Posted in God Calling?, News

The Need for a Genuine Conversation about Race

Just Reflecting by Associate Colette Parker, OPA – Co-Director

It sounds so simple, but is it?

It sounds so simple: “We are all a part of one race – the human race.”

Yet the reality of that statement – declared more than a century ago by pioneering anthropologist Franz Boas and again in 1950 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) – is complicated in our nation, where the undercurrent of systematic racism pulls us down. Living daily in an environment where racism abounds makes it difficult to accept that “race” is not a biological reality but a myth.

When we consider racism (a form of oppression in which one racial group dominates others), which can lead to discrimination – the unfair and unequal treatment of a group based on prejudice – a natural progression is to apply the attitudes that lead to the mistreatment of Native-Americans and African-Americans to other “isms” (sex-ism, age-ism, class-ism, weight-ism, etc.) and phobias, like Islamophobia and homophobia.

It is difficult for me to believe that any of the phobias or “isms” can be resolved until we deal with the elephant in the room – racism. Continue reading →

Posted in Just Reflecting, News

Ashes, ashes, we all forgive.

Blog by Sr. Barbara Kane, OP

Ashes remind us…

A priest friend of mine once told me that more people go to church on Ash Wednesday than any other day except Christmas. Not just Catholics but people of all different faiths. They all come to get ashes on their foreheads. Why would they do this?

This visible symbol of our humanity reminds us that we are imperfect…that we make mistakes…that we need mercy and forgiveness. They also remind us that we must extend mercy and forgiveness to others for their imperfections also. Continue reading →

Posted in News, Weekly Word