A Call for Help

by Sister Mary Beth on October 12, 2007

          I love being down here in Greenwood, Mississippi and a part of the deep South. 

The history of the people here is so vastly different than from what my life was like growing up in Wisconsin.  Living here for the past three years has given me an opportunity to just begin to realize the struggles and pains that are part of the history here of the people and how their lives have been affected by the past.

          A few days ago as I was walking from the car to the grocery store, I vaguely heard someone call out “Sister”.  As I scanned the parking lot, wondering if I did hear someone call or not, someone else pointed to a man and woman a few rows over.  As I turned and went in their direction, I wondered what this was about.  It turned out they had a young teenage daughter who wouldn’t get out of the car.  She was upset because they wouldn’t get her a cell phone right then and there.  Even though they told her that it was just not possible to get her one right away, they would be able to do so in a week.  Still she refused to get out of the car.  I couldn’t help but feel the pain that all three of them were experiencing; the parents who were not able to get her to understand, and for Ruby, the young lady, who was caught up in the culture our country has created of needing to get what we want right a way.  Even though I did spend some time talking with her, knowing that no matter what I said would probably make no difference at all, all I could do was trust and pray that God would touch her heart in some way that only he could. 

          While proceeding on to do the grocery shopping, my thoughts were on St. Francis and how he and his followers preached and witnessed Christ to the people of Assisi and the Umbrian Valley.  Their presence spoke of Christ to others.  In walking through that parking lot, the mystery of being called to help, just because of being recognized as someone who is trying to live the Gospel life, is also a humbling experience.  After leaving them, the call to offer my prayers and the aches and pains of my day for them came very willingly from deep within the heart. 

          Our call to live a Franciscan life in Christ comes in so many forms each day.  Are we ready to respond to each little way that it does come?  Are we listening and willing to let go of our plans in order to respond to that call?  How awesome it is to answer that call, trusting that God will provide what is needed, so that others may experience the life he gives. 

5 thoughts on “A Call for Help”

  1. Dear Sister Mary Beth, What an inspirational story you wrote! As I chanced reading the Blogs after a ong period away, I was pleased to have contact again with your inventive and adaptive spirit — and your always being open to when and where the Spirit is hovering. Of course, it reminded me of our many long hours (days, weeks, years) of working together in student financial aid and experiencing together many of those surprises of the Holy Spirit that helped our students or our Department! In gratitude we remember many Blessings of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit! And thank you for sharing your new endeavors!! Love, Sister Kay

  2. It is wonderful to hear from you, Sr. Kay. There are many times I reflect on how all of our experiences that we have had in the past, are also a preparation for the things we are called to do where we are now. So many of the things I learned from you help me now. One of the most significant things is the compassion and love you had for the students. You believed in them, helping the traditional student find ways to grow in maturity, to become more responsible as they grew into adulthood while attending college; helping returning students who were out of school for many years, helping them to believe in their dreams, encouraging them and finding ways to help them when they ran into so many obstacles. Your example taught me what compassion for the down trodden is, what forgiveness involves and the effort, work and dedication it takes to hang in there with someone, believing the best in them will come out, calling it forth from them in your loving and kind way. Compassion and love is needed no matter where we end up working and living. We need to believe in the people we are with, calling forth the best in them, loving them and being there for them, letting God work in them. Hopefully our presence with them is one way that they can come to believe that God never gives up on them. With all the sad stories, the difficult struggles and hardships so many face here in Greenwood, the incredible efforts many make, all these show us how God loves the people here. Sometimes the best thing we can do for them is help them to see that love.

  3. Leslie says:

    Wow you are very patient and open minded. I would have been really iritated with that girl for being selfish. I just want to let you know that it is inspirational that you did not judge her. It can be so hard not to judge another persons actions. Hats off

  4. Hi There, Sister Mary Beth. Sister Ludmilla told me about this “Blog” and I just think this is super! I don’t know if you remember when I came to you for financial assistance for someone to attend Silver Lake College and you filled me in on the how of that too. It’s really neat having that spirit of St. Francis, isn’t it!!!!! I can just picture you in that parking lot. I know it made a difference to the parents. Have you heard how the situation was solved? When we run into challenges like that I coined a phrase that I feel says it all. “Ministry of the Moment, Living the Gospel” !! Keep up the super work.

  5. On this feast of All Saints, I’d like to affirm Leslie and Sister Sara’s comments with a quote from Robert Ellsberg’s All Saints…Witnesses For Our Time:

    “The saints were not “super” human beings but those who realized the vocation for which all human beings were created and to which we are ultimately called. No one is called to be another *St. Francis or *St. Teresa. But there is a path that lies within our individual circumstances, that engages our own talents and temperaments, that contends with our own strengths and weaknesses, that responds to the needs of our own neighbors and our particular moment of history. The feast of All Saints strengthens and encourages us to create that path by walking it.”

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