by Martha Reilander.
Every morning when I wake up and pull back the curtains by my bed, I look out the window and I’m cheered on by ‘the communion of saints’.
That is, I look across the yard to the old building where we offer secondhand clothing, and into the upstairs window, where Alma sorts donated religious items.
These chipped but bright and cheery statues call me forth in the morning sun to take up my cross here at St. Joseph’s house and live my part in the Mystical Body of Christ.
Almost four months have passed now since I’ve come to this house under the patronage of good St. Joseph. I was honored to arrive on April 15th, the anniversary of death of Mary Ann Gilmore, second local director of St. Joe’s, who died at 32 in an accident while on an errand of mercy near here. I asked for her intercession to be a light to the community as she had been.
I have been touched by the welcome I have received in the parish and into many homes. I grew up in this area, knowing many of the local people, and it is a gift to be able to be a part of their lives again now, but in a deeper way.
I see that we are not only friends, but spiritual family. We are often at a First Communion, Confirmation, graduation, funeral, recital, or parish supper. And there is always someone stopping by our house.
Another joy is to watch the chit-chat apostolate come alive. I see how my MH sisters are able to connect personally with people coming into our secondhand shops, so that they have a smile on their face when they leave, and the knowledge that they have friends at St. Joe’s.
I have the opportunity to be part of the "ingenuity of love"—every thought is given to help the local people in any way possible.
The front porch of the clothing building is one small example. There you will find boxes of empty jars, wax pieces, and patterns for sewing clothing, all of which we give away. These are very little things that might just as easily go to the dump, but someone uses the wax to make more candles, and the jars for storing food, and the patterns to make clothes.
My sisters are always seeking ways that each type of donated item might possibly benefit others. This ingenuity has touched my heart and made me quite excited to see what we can do next.
We also ask ourselves how we can best be present and spiritually support our friends in the area.
I have come to realize how much people truly depend upon and believe in the power of our prayers. In the morning we will have one friend stopping by to ask for prayers, and that evening there will be someone else at the door thanking us for our prayers. This real faith of local people asking for prayers has touched me.
Praying a Hail Mary on the spot seems so little against such problems, but I have a greater conviction now that our little offering is real, and their faith is real, and God really does answer our prayers. This word of life has been a consolation in my own life.
That’s how I see this house living its part, for the glory of God, in the Mystical Body of Christ.
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