groovy family history

Today and tomorrow, our Novitiate Community is blessed with the presence of two of our Sisters who normally reside in Florida - Janet & Rosalie. They are co-directors of Women at the Table, a project that among other things is committed to rediscovering the legacy of our founder Margaret Anna Cusack and restoring her "just dignity as a woman ahead of her time."

Rosalie and Janet are sharing with us on the topic of our community's history and charism, or as one of them said today, our "family story." Our time together today was full and quite wonderful. I'm sure tomorrow will be as well. The morning was more contemplative, while in the afternoon we got to poke around in the Archives on a scavenger hunt of sorts. Each of us looked for information about one of our early Mother Generals in first and secondary sources. Seeing as in 6th grade I went to a historical research summer camp - yes, I am a nerd - I had a grand time playing in the archives.

During our morning session, Rosalie shared with us a wonderful collection of quotations from Margaret Anna which are suggestive of one or more of her spiritual gifts, or charisms. Some were familiar, many were new to me, but all moved me deeply. Here are just a few to give you an idea:
  • "So long as your Christianity is merely theoretical, they are very well pleased with you; but once they find you are practical in carrying it out, they part company with you, angrily or scornfully ..."

  • "Which are we to have, the real Christianity taught by Christ himself, with all its sacrifices, or modern Christianity, which makes the way of life easy for the rich and cruelly hard for the poor?"

  • "Would it not be more just if less blame was cast on the people and more on the system?"

  • "The trouble is that poverty in the aggregate touches no one's heart."

  • "The knowledge of the fact of poverty is general. What is needed is to make that knowledge personal and practical."

  • "Blessed be the man who removes one thorn from the path of suffering humanity, whether that thorn has hurt physical or intellectual being."

  • "But it did matter to me a great deal in view of our common humanity and in view of my love for the poor, that I should do all I could for those whom he had loved so well."
Denfinitely, a woman ahead of her time. The last quote Rosalie gave us from Margaret Anna was this: "We may never meet in this world, but I trust we shall spend a long and glorious eternity together." I feel as if I have met Margaret Anna through her Sisters and her writings. Her life spirit was/is so strong: contemplative in action, truth teller, champion of the poor. She worked for systemic change while at the same time working to ameliorate the conditions of the poor in her day. I feel honored to follow in her footsteps and those that followed.


Anonymous said...

I hope you feel like you met Margaret Anna through her brothers too! I bet you can guess who this is from!

Susan Rose, CSJP said...

I stand corrected, especially since much of my access to MAC's writings has come to me through said brother!

Thanks for keeping me on my toes.