Recently I had the opportunity to attend a church service and BBQ at the Plymouth Church. I was inspired by the minister’s reflection entitled, “God’s Love Letters,” which was intended to recognize the special people in our lives who influence us along our life’s journey. To paraphrase the Rev. Younger, we need to acknowledge and honor relationships that help make us whole, loving people, that help us form intentional communities with one another, that help us make the world around us better.
In his reflection he posed a simple question, “Can you name the last 3 Nobel Prize Winners, or the 3 Academy Award winning actresses? Probably not, but if I asked you to name 3 people in your life who inspired or influenced you, could you?”
As I looked around the church I could see heads nodding YES. When I thought about it, I knew who inspired me, challenged me, and helped form me. It was the 85-year-old Catholic Nun who willingly took on a challenge to mentor me; it was that board member who saw the potential in me to be a successful fundraiser and helped me excel; and, of course, my parents, who gave me the strength, courage, and love I needed to be free to carve out a life of service to others.
Rev. Younger went on to say ,”I bet none of the people you named were famous or social media stars, were they? But I bet the ones YOU named are stars in your eyes. They are the gifts we receive from God — they call us by name, challenge us, push us and above all love us. It’s their influence that rubs off on us.”
In unison, the membership nodded and applauded. This reflection was a reminder to me to never forget to thank those who touched our lives. In this time of pandemic it is so fitting to remember those who stand with us, challenge us and who ultimately shape us. So, in honor of Rev. Younger, I ask you, who influences you?
Catherine McAuley, the foundress of the Sisters of Mercy said, “We can never say it is enough.” We must continually work together to ensure that those among us who struggle have others around them who can extend a hand ensuring that the more than 1.6 million people in our midst don’t go hungry. As we conclude Hunger Action month, I am acutely aware of how vital our work is and how proud I am of the work we have accomplished so far.
During the first quarter of the new fiscal year we have distributed more than 775,000 hot meals, 360,000 pounds of fresh produce, and more than 1.3 million pounds of food — we are on target to exceed what we accomplished last year. None of this would be possible without our dedicated staff and volunteers, the foundations and corporations, and our donors who join with us in our mission. Thank you to all of you who have touched our lives, challenged us and called us to rise to the occasion and serve with compassion and mercy. For each of you we are grateful.
In gratitude always,
Sister Caroline Tweedy, RSM