Community in Action

Blog by Associate Mary Ellen George, OPA

“Please know we are here for you.”

These words were sent to me in an e-mail from a Sister here and filled my heart with gratitude and made me think of why I feel blessed to be a part of this community.

Familiar to many of us is the African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” This proverb conveys the importance of community in fostering the growth and well-being of a child.  Once we are adults, we still need the benefits of a community to grow and for our well-being. Few of us can grow without the help of others; our need for the presence of others in our lives is vital to living a fruitful, meaningful life. We are social beings who need to connect with others and we need the help of others to survive.

Faced with life’s challenges, we may try to do what we can alone without others, but more than likely, we will find we need community help to survive and thrive. We are healthier human beings when we have social support.  “Physiologically, not having a social support system is actually a source of chronic stress for our bodies,” according to research by Emiliana Simon-Thomas, PhD, Science Director of the Greater Good Science Center at The University of California, Berkeley.

Clearly, community is important to us and finding a community to help us along life’s path is not always easy.  What makes for a good community?  According to Coretta Scott King, “the greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” I find this quote significant at this moment in my life because I have been the beneficiary of such compassion from this religious community of the Dominican Sisters of Peace.

Recently, both my husband and I have been struggling with health challenges, requiring major surgery for both of us around the same time. The compassion and support we have received from the Sisters has been tremendous, filling our hearts with such gratitude during this difficult time for us. Experiencing this community in action in our personal situation has been heartwarming, brought home further by an email from one Sister who said to me, “please know we are here for you.”  These words sum up the beauty of this community and what this religious community is about in responding to the needs of those around them.

So, if you are a women discerning a vocation to religious life, I encourage you to explore this community of Sisters. In my own experience, the sisters practice what they preach and their example of being community to others is a beautiful testament to living out the Gospel message of serving and loving others.

Posted in God Calling?, News, Vocations Blog

One response to “Community in Action

  1. Henri Nouwen wrote, Community is first and foremost a gift of the Holy Spirit, not built upon mutual compatibility, shared affection, or common interests but upon having received the divine breath, having been given a heart set aflame by the same divine fire, and having been embraced by the same divine love.
    Thank you for reminding me of this, Mary Ellen – to always share that same divine love with others.

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