by Sister Cordy Korkowski
In late summer, a staff person came to my office and said, “Sister Cordy, do you have time to go into church. There is a young woman there, weeping!” I went immediately to the area where she was kneeling and inquired about what was happening. She explained that, “Everything is going wrong. I saw this church and decided that I would go inside and ask God to help me!” After a prolonged silence, she started to tell me her story. It was heartbreaking. There was not one ray of hope in her story. I felt helpless, not knowing how to make any comforting response.
Then, I remembered. All I need to do is simply be present! This is what I teach in BeFriender training. Care about the person by uninterrupted listening. Also, refrain from judgment. Offer empathy, understanding and acceptance through body language, eye contact and open ended questions.
After a long while of listening, her tears stopped flowing. She appeared calmer. In addition to the listening, I thought of the importance of on occasion balancing the 95 percent listening with 5 percent direction when needed. I ended the time together with some advice and referrals for ongoing care. She thanked me graciously and repeatedly. As she left the church and walked through the Gathering Place, I watched her disappear back into her world.
When I retired that evening, I reviewed my day. I thanked God for allowing me to hear her story, to receive her trust and to experience her faith in God. I was visited by an angel on that late summer day. I felt God’s presence in this ‘sister of mine’. I will always remember her.
Did you have an unexpected visitor this summer?
Written by Sister Jan Kilian, this blog will give an understanding of what it’s like to be Franciscan. Living out the spirit of Saint Francis, we see all God’s creation as brother and sister. We, Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, are committed to building relationships and community, ministering wherever there is greatest need, promoting justice and healing Mother Earth’s wounds. My writings will give a glimpse of the compassion, spirituality, interconnectedness and goodness of living Franciscan.