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.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Feeding the Human Spirit

by Sister Jan Kilian

I enjoy food most when I am hungry. (That’s why I sometimes sneak my dessert before the rest of my meal – dessert just isn’t quite so marvelous on a full stomach - wouldn’t you agree?)

This past month has been full of lessons for me and my community here at Clare’s Well. For a few days it seemed if anything could go wrong, it would: the pipe between the septic tank and our house broke due to roots in it from the large shade tree over our deck , causing a flood in our laundry room; a deputy stopped Carol for driving our truck with outdated tags; the electric connection to the House of Clare gave up; a guest inadvertently flattened our flag pole with her vehicle just after we featured our Earth Flag on the front page of our current newsletter; and three days ago, our car died while I was driving it. I, for one, hunger most for help when the daily machinery of life goes kaput. This month, my soul’s appetite for human as well as Divine compassion was overwhelmingly stretched and satisfied.

The care with which our septic was repaired brought me to tears. Our friends Luke Mader, Joe Gosiak and crew removed our large, precious shade tree and did so as a gift to us. Then, I wish everyone could have seen how carefully Ron Mares excavated under the deck without damaging the deck or the small trees where he had to park his huge equipment. All of our little catastrophes were remedied with exquisite timing, quality service and utmost support for us. Pete Braun ran a new wire to the House of Clare in time for the incoming guest to enjoy light and heat in that space. Jeanne from our Motherhouse got the right color tags to us before we got fined. (I don’t know how we were so color blind for nearly a year with those blue tags when everyone else’s car has red tags!) The flag pole has to wait til spring. The car? Would you believe? It died one-half block from the repair shop, and the problem was under warranty.

A book I’m reading this month is Island of the World by Michael D. O’Brien, a story of a man whose world is destroyed in the war in Yugoslavia. This book is more than historical fiction. It is a vehicle for my soul’s appreciation of holiness, compassion and goodness born of adversity. I told Sisters Carol and Paula my blog this month will be on the value of suffering. Trite as that sounds, it is uppermost in my mind. Island of the World’s main character, Josip, grows in his humanity as he experiences God in the sacraments of unlikely human instruments. As fellow prisoners feed him portions of their meager bread to sustain Josip’s life, he begins to heal of terror and bitterness. I saw a purity of character forged only in agony borne with integrity. Mind you, our trials this month were infinitesimal bumps in the road compared to any brutality known to victims of war. Nevertheless, I believe I and my community of sisters here at Clare’s Well were fed some of the same food Josip tasted. Our troubles were such that we required God’s angels to come a.s.a.p. or we would be overwhelmed. Human instruments of God’s goodness came “right now.” Sure, such people come around here every day, but . . . . I never appreciated them so much as I did looking up from a little pit of troubles and woe. My gratitude grew by leaps and bounds. Light really shines brightest in the dark.

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