First of all, I want to thank you so much for all of the prayer support both before and during my retreat with the Missionaries of Charity of St. Teresa of Calcutta! As you know, we’re constantly living in a spiritual battle, and the devil would be ecstatic to ruin a once-in-a-year opportunity for a spiritual boost for these sisters who live such an exemplary life of detachment and poverty for the sake of serving Jesus among the poor. It would be foolish for me to think I can pull off such a retreat without her power, in light of such warfare. Furthermore, I simply would not have the spiritual inspiration for them, were it not for all the prayers begging the Lord to open the floodgates of heaven. The Missionaries’ charism is to “quench the thirst of Jesus for love in the distressing disguise of the poorest of the poor”. Twenty-one sisters came in from the region, i.e., states and cities surrounding Memphis Tennessee. Then, for daily Mass, there were the additional sisters who actually live right there in Memphis. They were not on the retreat, but they handled all of the practical items, and kept the apostolate running there in Memphis. At the end of the retreat, all of the sisters packed into the sacristy to say goodbye to me, before my ride to the airport arrived. Because we focused on the Song of Songs throughout the retreat, the sisters had prepared a couple songs from their hymnal with words taken from poetry from the Song of Songs. Their songs were lovely.
Then I told the mother superior of the region, in front of them all, that our Bishop in Toledo really would love to have them come and open a house in our diocese. I even said I’d be willing to purchase four tickets right there and then for four sisters who would be willing to return with me. Eight of them, smiling and laughing, raise their hands. I explained to them that at my last assignment on Lagrange Street in downtown Toledo, there was an extra, and huge, rectory that would be perfect for them. (All we would have to do is take out all the carpeting, and turn off the hot water!… As a side note, if there are any young women reading this, and you’re seeking a very difficult and noble, yet beautiful, vocation, the Missionaries of Charity might be calling your name!) When I told them that around my rectory on Lagrange Street there was prostitution, human trafficking, drugs, constant petty theft and vandalism, and even violent crime, including murder, they looked at each other with agreeing nods and said that’s exactly where they would fit! Of course, opening a new house in another diocese requires a lot more bureaucracy than that! I know our Bishop has invited them properly; and we can all pray that someday – even soon – we actually get them in our diocese.
While I was gone on retreat, our Divine Mercy school held its basketball awards ceremony for the girls’ and boys’ teams. I am proud of their efforts and their growth this year on these teams. I want especially to acknowledge the girls’ growth. This was the first year we had a girls basketball team at Divine Mercy, which meant there was a ton of initial building to do. Emily Foor (Linder) coached the team for us. I was able only to make two games, but it happened to be on the occasion of their very first game, and then their very last game. I was absolutely astounded at their improvement over the entire season! Again, congratulations to both the girls and the boys basketball players! There are so many basic life-lessons to be learned through sports, providing the sports are kept in balanced perspective. It is especially the role of the coaches to bring these lessons to the fore; so I am very grateful to all of our Divine Mercy sports coaches who put in so much dedicated and careful time for the good of our children! Thank you so much!
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,