Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B
Reflecting on I Corinthians 7:32-35
St. Paul’s remarks today about the differences between those who are married and unmarried calls to mind the beautiful death last November of Sr. Antonia Anthony, OSF. She was killed by a young driver who ran a red light four blocks from her home.
In her last moments Sr. Antonia prayed Come, Lord Jesus. And he did.
Sister Patty Podhaisky gave this account: Within minutes Sr. Antonia relaxed, and her breathing slowed down until she peacefully breathed her last, surrounded by her Franciscan sisters and her family. We felt deep communion in the Heart of God with all of you, her/our sisters, families, friends, companions, as we journeyed with her into the heart of Great Love. It seemed as though Antonia was running home, and the breeze of her passing brushed each of us with tender grace.
I think St. Paul would especially take note of the “deep communion” that the Sisters, and her family, all felt with the Body of Christ throughout the world who had known and loved and been loved by Sr. Antonia, whose passion for justice had propelled her to the poorest places on the globe.
Sister Macrina Scott, Sr. Antonia’s great friend who was in the car with her and sustained serious injuries, appeared in court two months later to appeal for mercy for the young man. She and other members of her community gave him a picture of Sr. Antonia, and a prayer card from her funeral. Instead of prison he will perform five hundred hours of community service. Sr. Antonia’s spirit remains.
We, all of us, are one Body. And we do not live or die alone. Married and unmarried, ordained and vowed Religious, we journey together, praying Come, Lord Jesus. And there he is, in the midst of us.
Have you experienced the friendships of those in vowed religious communities?
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I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).
Sister Wilhelmine Brenner, FSPA, was one of the most beautiful souls I ever met. She was gentle without compromising her beliefs, and she truly cared about people. She never used people to get what she wanted. She exemplified a religious better than any I’ve ever known. God rest her soul!
Kathy, thank you for sharing this wonderful reflection. I told Msgr. Ken Leone to give your shop the tripple blessing. I wrote a reflection for this Sunday’s Gospel on my blog: http://priestinthemaking.com/2012/01/28/god-speaks-to-us-today-the-fourth-sunday-in-ordinary-time/.
God bless you!
Kathy thank you for remember Sister Antonia, it is so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes. You have a beautiful ministry with this web site. Good food for our souls.
Forgive me for not picking up on the theme of this faith sharing. I know how valuable the positive approach to scripture can be for many people but the “theological elephant” in the room is Paul’s absolutizing the value of ‘singlehood’ to ‘married life.’ – – that might sit well with the religious culture of 1st century Palestine but it needs a critique inspired by the Spirit for those of us dealing with contemporary pastoral issues of our times. I’d suggest coming up with dozens of married saints and married heroes/heroines, canonized, pre-canonized, un-canonized to depict the more mosaically composed Catholic Church.
-My 2 cents – – Cris
When I lived on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation, I was blest to know Father Harry Egelsaer, SJ, and Sr. Lucy Schneider, from an order in Salina, KS. Both were assigned to a humble parish, on the reservation. Father Harry had a zest for living, and met everyone with the same joy and love for Christ, no matter what problems or stories they brought to his door. Sr. Lucy also was very humble, and taught the children about the sacraments, and of respect for God and for others. They made the reservation their home for many years, outside of their respective communities. What strong faith they had, to minister in this way!
Thank you Kathy for sharing this story of the life, death, and life again, of Sr. Antonia. Her spirit does indeed live on…I think especially in the legacy of the yet-to-be-lived life of the young man who hit she and Sr. Macrina’s car. My life is incredibly blessed with the friendship and grace of many of the Sisters of St. Francis, not only here in the present, but in years past when I was a young student at St. Elizabeth’s downtown. Franciscans have been a part of me since early childhood and my life is forever changed by thier presence with me.
I am grateful for those individuals who have it in them to devote their lives to the loving work of God, without the distraction of a partner or children. I don’t think that negates the work done by individuals every day within marriages, including the important role of parenting, or the presence in the work place by those folks in the secular realm, or any person who chooses to not be a “vowed religious.” Earlier in chapter 7 of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians he reitierates that all have different gifts or charisms and we are to be who we are…married, unmarried, widowed. It seems to me that Paul is quite relevant for our time because what I read is that we are to be the best that we already are, in Jesus. That gives me hope and encouragement. I love to read Paul more and more, the older I get… I’m less black-and-white and he seems to be too.
Anyway, thanks again Kathy for this tribute to Sr. Antonia. As I write this I’m in a Starbuck’s…she loved coffee and had a very real understanding of the many human hands it takes to bring coffee to our tables. Every time I drink coffee I think of her, and I never throw away coffee because she taught me not to waste the labor of those who brought it to me. Salut!