Something About Margaret Anna

This afternoon I have the distinct pleasure of introducing some folks to my spiritual friend, mentor and guide ... Margaret Anna Cusack, known in religion as Mother Mary Francis Clare, the founder of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace.  My novice classmate Chero and I will be presenting at the education session for lay women and men who are starting journey to become Associates of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace.  Our topic is our charism, founder and founding story.

Quite obviously, this is a topic close to my heart!  The main feature of our gathering this afternoon will be a viewing of this video our novice class made to tell the story of our founder and Congregation.  It was the first video I ever made, so now I see oodles of problems with the transitions and video quality.  But it gets the job done and introduces an incredible story of the movings of the Spirit.

I will never forget the moment I first discovered this amazing woman of God.  It was the first time I stayed at groovy sister hq here on the shores of Lake Washington.  I'd driven up from Portland the night before a vocation retreat.  Sr. Jo-Anne, our vocation director had given me a tour, introduced me to some of the Sisters, and settled me in my room.  I couldn't sleep so I went downstairs to the library where I discovered a little book by Sr. Dorothy Vidulich called Peace Pays a Price: A Study of Margaret Anna Cusack.  Wow ... I read the entire book in one sitting, staying up late into the night.  Let's just say Margaret Anna caught my attention.  I was intrigued to learn more about her daughters the next day at the vocation retreat.

Now of course, I am one of her daughters.  I'm very lucky in that she was a prolific writer and many of her books, now in the public domain, are available online.  Reading her works--from lives of the saints to history to social analysis and reform--has helped me to get to know Margaret Anna.  But over the past 7 years since I first discovered her, it's really by praying with her and seeking peace with her daughters and sons that has deepened my connection to her vision of peace.

As she wrote in the first Constitutions of St. Joseph's Sisters of Peace of the Immaculate Conception (as we were known then) in 1884:

"The very name Sisters of Peace will, it is hoped, inspire the desire of peace and a love for it."

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