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, April 1, 2010

A Living/Dying Lesson in Holy Week

Some of the strongest words are from Jesus, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit." During this Holy Week I watch for images of Jesus bearing pain and suffering with dignity and faith.

One power image of Jesus for me is my classmate, our Sister Deborah, who is dying with cancer and who awhile ago shared that her dying is truly an agonizing process. Her statement of pain was accompanied by another statement of her desire to go through this process with as much grace and peace as humanly possible. This is my first experience of hearing a dying person speak so articulately about what is going on for her. Deb and I have previously spoken of our impatience with process. We'd rather have projects of whatever stripe designed and expedited quickly and efficiently. "Process" takes time we could use for getting something "done." So it is with some humor that she tells me dying is a process.

Who of us doesn't want to be in control and to be able to make her or his own choices? Deb says when one has always been able to make sure her own soup was served hot, it is a stretch to have to eat lukewarm soup. In the simplest things, there is little that is more difficult than to trust one's physical care to others. Nobody can ever plump my pillow just right either. How will it be when I can't do it for myself? When one's hearing is so sharp she "can hear grass grow," how is it to be stuck in a room with noisy people-traffic just outside your door? What do you do while you are waiting in pain for the next dose of relief? What is the inner fruit when you patience grows with practice week after week, week after week? Mother/Father God, into your hands I commend my spirit.

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