Saturday, January 17, 2009


We have a room at the monastery where we enter and leave community life. It is the room where we have our entrance ceremony and welcome new members. It is also the room where we gather when a sister dies, and we welcome her into eternal life. We recently did this for Sister Mary Aquin, who suffered from Parkinson's, a terrible neurological disease.

My Aunt Mary Emma (affectionately known as Aunt M'Emma) suffered from a disease that has been likened to Parkinson's. Growing up, I knew somewhat of the effects it had on her and my family. Because of this, when I got older I wanted to help.

My freshman year of college I worked in the neurology department at a hospital. I did mostly filing. I got to know the secretaries, the nurses, and one of the doctors. It was my hope that indirectly my working there would help find a cure. I was doing what little I could to help the doctors who were treating the patients. It is still my hope that with time and medical advances, we will improve the lives of those with neurological diseases and eventually find a cure.

Those of us who knew Sister Mary Aquin saw her lose her capabilities and her ability to work. The disease progressively and brutally robbed many things from her. We believe that she is now at peace. I believe also that although she is at peace, she has more work to do now than ever before. She has to intercede for us, for those who are affected by neurological diseases, for their families and friends, for the doctors, nurses, researchers, secretaries, financial contributors, and even those who do filing or sweep the floors or empty the trash.

All of us together can work for a common cause - to improve the lives of others in the ways we are able to do so, however little that may be. We are all connected and what we do affects those around us. We can't underestimate our abilities or our contributions. All I did when I worked in the neurology department was file, but it was necessary. It freed up others to do the things they were capable of doing.

Many advances have already been made, but more remains to be done.
Sister Mary Aquin, intercede for us and may God grant you eternal peace and comfort.

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